Karnataka farmers make a mint out of a crop

Karnataka farmers make a mint out of a crop

Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-08-06 10:11 Bengaluru: Mandya’s HK Srinivas is a happy man these days. Srinivas, who earlier was involved in multi-crop farming, opted to grow organic field mint and found that it increased his income. "A year ago, I was told about the field mint crop by Phaladayi Foundation. So I had taken it as a pilot project and gave it a try. Now, I am earning about Rs 20,000 for every acre and have one tonne of yield," says Srinivas.Just as Srinivas did, several others, too, opted for Mentha arvensis, also known as field mint, which has been newly introduced in the state.Mentha arvensisField visit by Phaladayi FoundationTill now, farmers in the state usually produced a single species of peppermint crop - pudina (Mentha pepperita). But over 50 farmers in Mandya, Chamarajnagar, Bhadravathi, and North Karnataka reported increased revenue after they tried field mint with the support of an NGO Phaladayi Foundation. And all of them are elated at making the switch.Field mint is commonly used in mouthwash, toothpaste, chewing gum, hair oils, and talcum powders.Sannamallegowda, 68, from Ugani Kollegala, says he has been enjoying a tension-free life after he switched over to field mint on his 5-acre farm. "Earlier, I used to have wild animal problem on my paddy field and wild boar used to destroy the crop. But now, after I took up growing field mint in an organic way, I am able to sleep peacefully. Regular income is also assured," he says.According to Umesh Adiga, Director (Technical), Phaladayi Foundation, the NGO chanced upon the idea when CMN Shastry, CMD, Phalada Agro Research Foundations Private Limited noticed field mint being grown in Rae Bareli during his visit to Uttar Pradesh. “We saw field mint being grown in Rae Bareli and thought, why can’t it be experimented in Karnataka? So as an experiment, we started it on trial basis in Bengaluru and found it as a suitable crop. As a result, today we have field mint in Bengaluru, Shivamogga, Mandya, Chamarajnagar and Mysuru," he says. Dr Veerendra Kumar Singh Thomar, chief scientist Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), says he is delighted at the success of field mint in Karnataka. "It is good that farmers in South India are opting for Mentha Arvensis (field mint). Field mint requires lot of water and a cool climate. Since South India does not have such climate we did not recommend this crop. But we are happy for the farmers in Karnataka,” says Dr Veerendra.India currently produces about 800 tonnes of field mint oil while the demand is for 1200 tonnes. The price for a kilo of field mint oil can go up to Rs1600.