Special Column
P.S. Sadasivan - The Ethical Farmer

By Rajesh Govindarajulu

Oct 14, 2018

P.S.Sadasivan is a well known Auditor cum Company Secretary cum Cost Accountant in Coimbatore. He is also an ethical paddy farmer who splits time between Coimbatore in Tamilnadu and Kollengode in Kerala. Let us learn more about the ancestry of P.S.Sadasivan before going into his work connected with ethical farming. Long ago the Zamorin of Kozhikode brought in a number of Brahmin families from Thanjavur for the purpose of maintaining a demographic diversity. 



These people settled down in the Malayalam speaking parts of India and came to be known for their knowledge and intellect. A number of them became advisors to the aristocratic families of the region. P.S.Sadasivan is a descendant of one Sami Pattar and he happened to be the Chief Advisor to the Zamorin those days. 



His son Sundara Iyer was an advisor and farmer all his life and the people of the region would take his advice on important matters. 



Life went on as usual and Sadasivan, the son of Sundara Iyer became a school headmaster and also a foot baller of repute during his times. Sundaresan , the son of Sadasivam was a Chartered Accountant and his wife Sita Bai - a Chartered Accountant herself worked with him. The couple worked this way for a few decades ( 1961 - 1991 ) from their home at Dr.Radhakrishnan Road in Tatabad ( Coimbatore ). 



 

P.S.Sundaresan and Sita Bai began their ' Vanaprastha ' in the year 1991 by beginning to look after the family lands in Kollengode. What began as ' trial and error ' farming got perfected over the decades. Eventually the farmers of the region began to seek the guidance of P.S.Sundaresan on matters connected with their work. The couple had mastered the art of cultivating paddy in the virgin wetlands belonging to the family. The good couple decided to call it a day in the year 2012 and thereafter the mantle fell on P.S.Sadasivan. Radha, the wife of Sadasivan is a Chartered Accountant and her father Ramachandran had been the promoter and Managing Director of Kalaivani Press which was known to have introduced MICR printing on cheque leaves and tickets of airline companies. Ramachandran too quit his profession and became a farmer like his sambandhi. "My parents lived in the farm house for a few decades. 



They cultivated paddy, coconuts, veggies, mangoes, gooseberries among other items. It was a multi crop farm and practical permaculture was being practiced for generations. Appa came back in 2012 and stated that he would not look after the lands anymore. I told my father that I would look after the lands without stress and therefore he retained them for us. I used to report to him for the first 6 months and he would do the book keeping. Later on he stopped the book keeping part and asked me to do it myself. He used to share his ideas and after another 6 months, my father did not want to know anything about the farm lands. My father passed away thereafter and my father in law followed him shortly. Therefore we had to look after the lands that were being managed by the two of them. 



Since my brother in law Shyam Sunder was living in Canada and also that my co brothers were busy with their work, there was no one to look after the lands. Fortunately I had begun having some cows and a bull in my backyard from the year 2008. I used to look after them, take them out for a walk and this experience was to help me later. I had even learnt to milk them and I took them to our farm by the year 2015. This is how I began organic farming in the 60 acres of land that had left by the elders. 

The faculty members of the Tamilnadu Agricultural University ( TNAU ) are very helpful. Coimbatore is blessed with one of the best paddy research stations in the world. A lot of path breaking research is going on in TNAU. Many people are making use of it and I wish that this increases in the interest of the ethical farming community. They are ready to give their best in spite of their busy schedule, " stated P.S.Sadasivan who has been a rank holder ( A.C.S ). His firm has been handling a few 100 % subsidiaries of a couple of multi national companies. 



 

Sadasivan and his wife Radha love to be both - chartered accountants and farmers. He is of the opinion that his auditing work keeps his mind sharp. He had been a home colleger after his schooling at Kikani. He has really been busy with his work and never found the time to get the required organic certification for his farm. Finally it was left to his buyers who helped him go through the process to get the farms certified. Thanal, one of the biggest NGOs in Kerala and Bio Basics one of the major players in the Organic trade of this region are his main clients. Otherwise his friends from the Cosmopolitan Club at Race Course pick up organic rice from him. The farmer is an avid tennis player too and the couple are blessed with three daughters - Subashree , Vijayshree and Nithyashree.

 

Sadasivan is an organic farmer and he has connected his cowshed drain to the infrastructure which carries water to the paddy fields. It costs him a lot of money to maintain the cows but he wants to be an ethical farmer in a place which is famous for the usage of dangerous fertilizers and pesticides. The paddy is sown, transplanted later and then processed. 



He cultivates a number of varieties - Jothi , Uma , Ponmani ( red varieties ) and CO - 52 known as Ponni ( white rice ). The people of Tamilnadu like to have softer varieties and therefore its par boiled only once but the people of Kerala like it to be par boiled twice. Its done for retaining the nutrients. The entire process is done manually. Thereafter the produce is sent to the mill for processing. It passes through the huller once and brought back to the farm. The leftover paddy is removed manually. The mill uses a metal huller and Sadasivan has proposed to put up a rubberized huller in the farm once he gets the three phase connection ( power ). The yield is about 2200 kilograms per acre but flooding brought down the yield by half this year. About 12 people work in the farms but they employ more during the season. 

 

"Wetlands need to be preserved. It just takes 6 months for them to become drylands. The run off from the hills nearby is absorbed because the land acts as the sponge and this attribute enriches the ground water. We have been practicing water shed management practices for the past several generations. Its important to have farm ponds and we have one lotus pond in the centre and the lands are also supported by two borewells. The ' Varappu ' or the crop bund has to be preserved. NABARD recognizes this and pays subsidy. However it is an on going process. 



During the dry season, we slice the crop bund and fill the rodent holes and when it is wet , the slush is used for reinforcement. We want to preserve these wetlands for eternity and the lands which went through change had in fact made us face the fury of the floods recently. Our workers are quite passionate and they treat the farm as a temple. Therefore I do not want to disturb the atmosphere by giving out our house in the farm for movie shoots. In fact a number of award winning directors are after me. The Nelliampadhy foothills are our source for water. Since fertigation is automatic our paddy saplings are stronger. This was recently affirmed by the Bengali workers who transplanted them. 

Weeding is a big challenge and involves lot of money. Now, we have got hold of people bringing up ducks. They will pen the ducks in the farm and it will control the weeds besides putting an end to insect menace. Water shed is critical for paddy. Yields are better when we farm organically. However we are mislead by the people who sell chemical inputs. One has to invest a lot of time and money in order to be a farmer. We spend two days in a week at the farm. I have never had issues connected with integrity in Kerala and in Coimbatore ever. All my people are honest. So many people have helped us over the years and we are grateful to them, " stated the frank and outspoken chartered accountant farmer - P.S.Sadasivan. 

 

P.S.Sundaresan & Company is the mainstay and Sadasivan attributes the blessings of God, hard work and wishes of elders as the reasons for his success. His great grand father ' Parry ' Narayanan ( mother's side ) used to carry a ' erukkam ver ' Vinayakar with him at all the times. He had got made a gold kavacham ( cover ) for this deity and placed it in a small mobile shrine. The devout gentleman used to do a Ganapathy Homam ( Nithya ) everyday and this was done even during the course of travel. He used to do a 1008 kozhukattai homam on every Ganesha Chathurti. His son Venkateswaran used to follow his father by doing the pooja part regularly and now the ' errukkam ver ' Vinayakar is a member of Sadasivan's family. The family strongly believes in the ' Kuladeivam ' ( family deity ), Oottukulangara Bhagavathi who is ensconced at the native village - Peruvamba. The deity is under an Ashoka tree and faces the sky. The ' Chaandhu ' or extract from the tree is used for abhishekham everyday. Its a ' vendudhal ' or offering in the temple. Sadasivan feels that it is grace of Bhagavathi which has made many of the denizens of Peruvamba fly really high. 

 

Sadasivan believes in Karma Yoga and this kind of outlines his philosophy, " We should do our work with complete involvement. Instead of waiting for a job of our liking, we should do the job on hand as service to the Lord. If we do so with joy and dedication , we will harvest happiness. " He feels that he is at an advantage compared to the other farmers and therefore has to be more responsible. "I am fortunate to have an additional profession and this can help me subsidize my farm. How many farmers can sell directly to club friends like me. Therefore I have to put in my best. My activity is not financially viable unless I sell it directly to the user. Nothing else can be grown in the paddy fields except ginger and therefore its quite a challenging task to maintain the fields. " His relative Amey has called the work at the farm a case study. Sandya and Vikram Jagannathan of Yellow Train School purchase their requirements for the institution from P.S.Sadasivan.

 

The farm thrives on natural inputs and the enterprising farmer was glad to share some more inputs, "Please buy organic rice as per your needs and do not store them for more than two months. You should let sellers like me know about your requirement and it can be processed and delivered within two weeks. Paddy can be stored for years and aging makes it better. In fact I hull paddy which is two years old and give it to my customers. Its our job to produce paddy and we are continuing this activity for its our obligation to the society. "

 

The ethical farmer P.S.Sadasivan and his wife Radha have dedicated themselves towards preserving the soil by producing healthy paddy in the interest of our environment. The experiences of Sadasivan could possibly become a management thesis for it will act as a beacon light for the ones who wish to emulate him. 

 

Its time that many others follow suit. The good work of ethical farmers like Sadasivan are the need of the hour. 

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