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Dubai: Meet the banker who abandoned his successful career to dedicate himself to sustainable agriculture and help farmers sell products – News

It is launching a line of organic products that will allow customers in the United Arab Emirates to purchase items from small farms in India.



Published: Monday, October 2, 2023, 6:00 am

When Satyajit Hange was sent to a boarding school as a child, his parents only advised him one thing: never become a farmer. But as a successful banker earning a seven-figure salary, he was still unhappy.

It was then that he decided to quit his job and return to the farmland where he grew up with his brother, Ajinkya. Today, the brothers guide more than 2,000 farmers in India to practice responsible and sustainable agriculture, and are endorsed by some of the country’s top celebrities.

Brothers

Brothers

Now, the banker-turned-farmer is in Dubai to bring produce from India’s small farms to this country. “Our products are made by over 2,000 farmers across 16 states in India and range from organic ghee to flour and natural sweeteners,” Satyajit said, speaking to Khaleej Times. “We have a huge customer base in the UAE and the United States. One of our clients in Dubai, who has been using our products for years and felt the difference in her health, approached us to bring the brand here.”

hard trip

Despite all the progress he has made, Satyajit admits that his journey was far from easy. “Our parents were farmers, but all they wanted for us was to never follow in their footsteps,” he said. “They felt that farmers were not respected in society and could not be financially successful. “That’s why we were actively encouraged to take administrative jobs.”

However, the brothers felt something was wrong in their corporate jobs and decided to quit within a few years. “First Ajinkya left his job and then I did the same a year later,” Satyajit said. “Our wives struggled to understand why we would quit our well-paying jobs and return to the farms, but they supported us anyway. “Our parents were very against it because they hadn’t had such a good life in the agricultural landscape, but we kept going.”

He said that when making the decision, passion was the only thing on their mind. “We got into farming because that’s what we liked and the last thing on our mind was creating a brand,” she said. “It was something that gave us joy and continues to make us happy.”

Satyajit said he felt like a new person after the career change. “Physically, I’m better than ever,” he said. “Mentally I am happy. Intellectually, I’m learning a lot of new things. Spiritually, I feel like I get emotional better. “It looks and feels like you are living a second life.”

Make a difference

Once they switched, it was a steep learning curve for the brothers. “At first there were ups and downs,” she said. “We had difficulties making it an economic success and gaining social recognition.”

For the brothers, teaching other farmers was never part of the plan. “When, after a drought and a flood, our agricultural and organic methods continued to give good yields, farmers began to approach us for advice.”

Satyajit with a farmer

Satyajit with a farmer

In a very organic way, helped by word of mouth, the brothers began to work with more than 2,000 farmers. Satyajit gave the example of a farmer who had planted date palms in his 6-acre field. “I was struggling to sell the drink I made with it,” he said. “So, I was planning to delete everything. That’s when a customer of mine asked me for Nolen Gura jaggery made from date palm sap.”

Satyajit was not familiar with jaggery made from date palms, but suggested it to the farmer as an alternative. Furthermore, he supported the farmer by recruiting laborers from Bengal. “This year he produced 9,000 kilos of date palm jaggery,” he said. “Today, the farmer, who earned only Rs 250,000 (approximately Dh12,500) from that field, earns more than Rs 4.5 million (approximately Dh225,000) from the same field.”



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