Camson bails out farmer from vicious debt trap.
Puneet Kumar is the youngest of a farming family from Chandoli Atroli which is near Aligarh, in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Following his father and elder siblings he used to grow wheat, rice, potato and other traditional crops on his fields. He was forced to be contended with the meager income and the vagaries of nature that plagued the income from these crops. He continued to do so because the elders from his family were risk averse and wanted to pursue crops which they had a firm understanding of.
However, the summer of 2011 was a different story altogether. The family land was divided and Puneet received control of nearly 4 acres. Unwilling to experiment too much he decided to continue with growing potato. However, he was financially stretched and needed a lac of rupees for agri-inputs and other crop related expenses. The bank granted him only Rs.50,000 at 12%. He was forced to borrow the balance Rs.50,000 from a local lender at an criminally high rate of 24%. That too was advanced after obtaining collateral on his land.
Luck was not in his favour and potato prices in that region crashed when Puneet tried to sell his potatoes. He was able to recover just the cost of transport to the mandi. The local money lender began his hawkish rounds to Puneet's house to pressurize him to revise the rate of interest to 48% and extend the duration. Puneet had only 4 months to pay.
He was at the verge of falling into a classic debt trap which would eventually consume his land and probably his life too!!!! .
At this time, he visited a demonstration plot of Camson's tomato – Akashganaga and was mighty impressed with the results. He was sure that if he did not do something drastic he would be a dead man. And here was an opportunity to save himself.
He convinced Camson's dealer Prabhuji Bheej Bhandar to sell seeds and inputs on credit with a firm promise to pay him or handover his wife's jewelry. The dealer agreed and Puneet plunged.
Camson's Akashganga is an early fruiting variety which ensures that tomatoes reach the market much before other varieties and hence fetches a much higher price. Also, the tomatoes harvested by Puneet were more heavier (in upwards of 125 grams) compared to the competition (which was ~ 80 grams). This ensured a better keeping quality and fetched higher prices. He sold nearly half his produce at Rs.500 a crate (of ~25kilos) in November 2011. Prices of tomatoes have cooled since but are still profitable at nearly Rs.100 a crate. Puneet will make over Rs.85,000 per acre on an investment of just Rs.20,000 per acre. He is expected to profit by over Rs.2.5 Lacs from his 4 acres of tomatoes.
Puneet has now prepaid the loan and has a sound sleep.
He strongly advocates Camson's products and has plans to take land on lease to plant more tomatoes in the coming season. His brothers and father are now looking to plant tomatoes on their plot. He says that Camson helped him tide over the worst days of his life. In his words "Jab kismet ne saath nahin diya, tab Camson ne haath diya". Life has never been better for him.