PB Murali and Hari Sethuraman
An ancient technique has been revived in the name of sustainable development. PB Murali, who is at the forefront of the organic movement in Tamil Nadu, has developed biopesticides and fungicides. “Food must not be poisoned in the name of technology. There should be better yield, but it should be healthy,” opines Murali, whose partner-in-bio-development is Hari Sethuraman, a civil engineering graduate from IIT-Madras.
The duo were one of early farmers to incorporate modern techniques like drip irrigation, fertigation, pruning and bio-dynamic agricultural practices to control the growth of fungus.“This application controls the purity levels and is non-toxic” says Murali, who has over 20 years of experience in agriculture.
At Punnammai Organic Orchards, a 60-acre farm in Thatchur district of Tamil Nadu, Murali cultivates Banganapalli, Imam Pasand, Alphonso and Rumani mangoes. The products are available across south India and in a few states in the North. The mangoes are supplied to organic stores, hotels and corporates. “The cost varies from season to season and we register a turnover of `40 lakh every year,” says this statistics graduate, who shifted to agriculture after spending 18 years in the corporate world. “Organic farming is a very small community, and people get to know each other through referrals. There is no need for brand building,” reveals Murali, who is a part of the Chennai wing of the Organic Farming Association of India.