Farmer Who Quit Law Studies, Patents Banana Chips, Earns 25 Lakhs Annually
Ashok Gade's journey from practicing law to innovating in agriculture, creating a patented banana biscuit, and boosting the economy for 50+ farmers in Maharashtra.
Ashok Gade, a 65-year-old farmer from Jalgaon, Maharashtra, has made significant strides in transforming banana farming in his region. Facing challenges with traditional banana farming due to its low profitability and perishable nature, Ashok and his wife Kusum devised innovative solutions. They shifted from selling raw bananas in the unstable market to processing them into value-added products like banana chips, jam, candies, papad, chivda, laddu, and notably, banana biscuits.
Ashok, who originally studied law and practiced for five years, had to take over the family's banana cultivation after his father's death. Continuing the family legacy, he owns 12.5 acres of agricultural land dedicated to banana farming. His transition from a lawyer to a farmer marked the beginning of a journey towards innovation in agriculture.
The turning point came with the creation of banana biscuits, a unique product that earned a patent from the Central Government. This patent not only recognised their creativity but also protected their intellectual property, leading to increased demand and recognition for their product. These biscuits, priced between Rs 400–500 per kg, are now sold in various Indian states and have become a significant source of income for the couple, with weekly sales of 60 to 100 kg, amounting to an annual revenue of Rs 25 lakh.
Ashok's impact extends beyond his own success. He has collaborated with 50 other banana farmers in his village, significantly benefiting the local agricultural community. Together, they have set up 'Sankalp Enterprises,' a manufacturing unit for their products, fully transitioning from raw banana sales to processed products. This entrepreneurial venture has provided a sustainable and profitable model for banana farming, demonstrating how innovation and value addition can transform traditional agriculture into a thriving business.