Shankar Kotian worked as an engineer in India as well as foreign locations for over a decade and a half. However, he soon realised that his heart lies at home, and in a dramatic turn of events quit his job to become a farmer in Moodu-Konaje village, Moodbidri town, Karnataka.
Though his expertise lies in technology, 43-year-old Shankar decided to venture into entrepreneurship in rural India back in 2013. He did not have a farming family background, and also did not inherit any farmland. So, his endeavour to explore dairy farming and rubber cultivation was a completely new territory for him.
Shankar completed his engineering in Computer Science from the esteemed National Institute of Technology (NIT), Surathkal, in 1996. He then went on to work as an engineer in Infosys for over 16 years before quitting his job in 2011 to venture into farming.
Shankar took inspiration from Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, Narayan Reddy, a progressive farmer from Karnataka and Maharashtrian farmer Subhash Panekar. He travelled to several farms to gain knowledge for months together, after which he finally decided to take a plunge in 2013.
While speaking with Times of India, Shankar said,
Visiting farms is the best way to learn. When I was working overseas, I used to visit farms during long weekends. These trips gave me an idea on various farming techniques and use of machines. Reading, too, helped me.
While speaking with The Hindu Business Line about leaving his well-paying job to venture into an unknown field, Shankar said,
After preparing the business plan, I knew that dairying is going to be profitable. I also knew that it will take time to break-even.
Initially, Shankar purchased eight acres of farmland, and also bought five cows. He has nine acres of rubber and two acres of arecanut cultivation and owns 40 cattle. Every day, Shankar sells nearly 130 to 140 litres of milk to the Dakshina Kannada Cooperative Milk Union Ltd (DKMUL).
While looking back on his journey, Shankar recollects how it was not smooth especially since reaping profits in agriculture takes a minimum of three to five years. However, with his market-driven approach and a good understanding of business, Shankar seems to be moving in the right direction.