Labour of love

Typically, when people pursue their dream careers, they often drop because of parental pressure, but Nethra’s ability to challenge these conventional expectations is what sets her apart.
Vaaradhi Farm.
Vaaradhi Farm.

HYDERABAD: In a world where women are increasingly drawn to trending technological careers, Nethra Reddy stands as a beacon of inspiration, pursuing a path less travelled: the timeless art of organic farming. In a journey of experimentation and passion, her story reveals a profound connection to the earth and a true commitment to sustainability.

Nethra’s venture into the world of organic farming emerged from an unexpected source: her acting career. As she began her journey in acting, she unknowingly spent a significant amount of her earnings on organic food. As a solution, she started with a  home garden of leafy vegetables; later, she and her husband embarked on a quest to create something unique, giving birth to their organic farming.

With no family background in farming, Nethra relied on her mother’s modest vegetable garden for inspiration. Her knowledge of organic farming was limited initially, but she was determined to learn. Mostly, she gained wisdom from farmers across various regions, immersing herself in the intricate processes. To support the livelihoods of the farmers, she collaborates with local farmers, procures their harvests, and sells them through her website,Vaaradhi Farms, establishing a symbiotic relationship.

“Starting my journey in organic farming posed numerous challenges. Initially, securing suitable land for farming was quite a task, requiring extensive searching. In addition, finding labour to work on the farm and maintain it was another hurdle,” she says. Nevertheless, Nethra’s dedication led her to overcome these obstacles, shaping her into a resilient young farmer.

Typically, when people pursue their dream careers, they often drop out because of parental pressure, but Nethra’s ability to challenge these conventional expectations is what sets her apart. Initially hesitant about starting a poultry farm business, Nethra defied conventional wisdom with the help of YouTube and Instagram reels, carving her niche in the market.

Nethra’s primary interest lies in working with cows and chickens, as she is currently in the early stages of learning how to cultivate leafy vegetables. Additionally, she has gained knowledge in beekeeping way back and even created a video about it on Instagram. After the video, she received numerous orders. So she sourced honey from a friend with a honey farm, expanding her offerings under the banner of Vaaradhi Farms to include ghee, eggs and a variety of vegetables.

Her sources of knowledge don’t end with engaging with farmers, she follows farming videos from across the nation and even abroad on platforms like YouTube. Engaging with the local community, Nethra has built strong bonds of trust, with customers considering her more like family than a mere business owner.

The flourishing business demands led Nethra to call upon her brother to manage its operations, which allowed her to focus more on farming, where every process remains true to nature. One of the most amusing anecdotes from her journey involves the transportation of small-breed chickens from her hometown for her poultry business in a car, as soon as she learned to drive it.

Born and raised in Nirmal district, Nethra’s educational journey led her to aviation and hotel management, but her lack of self-confidence led her to pivot into acting, where she played roles in films like Maharshi and Chitralahari.

Nethra recognises the struggles faced by farmers today to sell their harvest. “My next plan is to visit these farmers personally, shoot their videos and promote them; this enables consumers to access fresh food directly from the source, empowering them to be more independent,” says Nethra Reddy.
At present, Vaaradhi Farms has an array of offerings, from honey, eggs, ghee and vegetables to a diverse selection of desi rice varieties. Nethra attributes her success to her husband’s unwavering support, even crediting him with the idea of starting a diary.

Her advice to women is to “follow your dreams despite criticism, for there are numerous platforms to showcase your talents.” For those venturing into organic farming, she advises starting small and diversifying, as farming is an unpredictable field.

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The New Indian Express