New Delhi: Contrary to popular opinion, agriculture can be a hugely profitable venture provided one has the right knowledge, says an agriculturist from Kerala.

"Agriculture can be transformed into a new generation agri-business by making available in the market, uncontaminated fruits and vegetables free of hazardous chemical insecticides and pesticides," says C. Hariharan in "Make Millions from Agriculture" (Konark Publishers).

This would also need to be accompanied by enhancing the quality of output through the implementation of grading and labelling, says the 158-page book packed with tips on how to succeed in farming.

"If making profits is the main objective of practicing agriculture, then knowledge updation is most important," says the author, a resident of Alappuzha who devised practical methods of farming by himself and developed it into a profitable enterprise.

"Care must begin right from the time of germination of quality seeds in soil that is alive. Training for the utilisation of wind, sunlight, heat, humidity, water, fertilisers, etc, in the right measure is also important.

"We must realise that agriculture will become highly profitable only if the production and marketing are mutually complementary," Hariharan says.

Son of an employee of a government printing press, Hariharan started his own business with three offset printing presses after graduation.

It was after once listening to Malayalam writer Sukumar Azhikode promoting agriculture on a commercial basis, including through kitchen gardens, that Hariharan switched over to farming.

Harharan's initial experiment of cultivating vegetables on just one acre of land by combing traditional and modern methods brought him huge financial success.

"After that I took some more land on lease with some like-minded friends and cultivated plantains and vegetables. 

"I could soon become a model for others in making agriculture a profitable enterprise rather than just a delightful pastime."

In his book, Hariharan delves into great detail to explain how lakhs of rupees can be earned by cultivating bitter gourd, long beans, ivy gourd, papaya, passion fruit and more.

In his Foreword, noted agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan says that Hariharan's book should become a part of school curriculum.

"This book would stand distinct with its detailed descriptions of the experiences of farmers and true accounts of income and expenditure of cultivation of each vegetable showing excellent return on investment.

"It also gives a befitting reply to those who spread messages that agriculture in general is not economically viable," Swaminathan says. IANS