It takes courage to choose a different path in life. Young Prasenjit, a student of Jharkhand Rai University (JRU) trained in B.Sc Agriculture has chosen a different entrepreneurship journey.
No. He is not doing something with the digital or technology, like other entrepreneurs today. He is applying his agriculture knowledge to cultivate noni fruit, an indigenous plant found in coastal regions.
Besides, when Prasenjit started his journey, he knew that the road he has chosen will be difficult, because in India the noni plant grows wild in the coastal areas of Orissa, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands has the highest naturally grown populations of noni plants. But, Prasenjit is farming noni in Kasmaar district, Bokaro, which is in central India.
Moreover, given the climatic conditions of Bokaro region, it is difficult to grow noni in Kasmaar district.
WHY DID HE CHOOSE TO CULTIVATE NONI?
Here’s why Prasenjit chose to cultivate Noni.
Noni, also known as Indian mulberry, awl tree, cheese fruit, nino, nona has immense medicinal potential. The tree is known as ‘Ach’ in Hindi. Moreover, the plant has been known as a medicinal and wellness plant for more than 2000 years.
However, currently noni is an endangered plant and is listed in the Red Data Book.
Noni fruit juice is a health and wellness drink. Fruits and leaves are used for preparation of different nutraceuticals. Though the fruit is not edible as such. You have to process to consume noni fruit.
Approximately three kilos of noni fruits when processed will yield 1.0 kg noni juice.
It is considered to be an immuno-modulator plant in its activity on man. Noni is effective against a wide array of diseases such as type-2 diabetes, arthritis, filariasis, skin infections. In fact, noni has a positive influence on AIDS treatment. Research shows that noni is non-toxic to blood, blood elements and also to vital organs such as lever and kidney and has a broad range of therapeutic effects such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, immune-enhancing, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-tuberculous, anti-protozoal, anti-oxidant anti-stress and sedative effects. These effects of noni has made it a popular health enhancer and food supplement world wide.
CULTIVATING NONI IN BOKARO
In February this year, he procured 50 noni plants from Odisha and planted in one acre field. Out of these, only 17 trees survived to bear fruit. From these trees, he now plans to expand his cultivation.
Prasenjit says, ‘Noni seeds are sold in the market for Rs800 per kilo.’
He is the first person in Bihar, Jharkhand and North India to be cultivating this plant in his village. His efforts has surprised the locals.
Enterprising efforts run in his family. His father Vivekananda, back in 2005 had cultivated spirulina in this region, surprising everyone with his produce. His mother is a famous medicinal practitioner. Their family nursery grows several unconventional plants and fruits that include – red-lady papaya, aloe vera, night-flowering jasmine (harshingaar in Hindi), dragon fruit and others Being different and unconventional is what makes an entrepreneur after all. And Prasenjit is proving it to be true.