Things you need to know before buying ‘farm land’

paddy fields

It isn’t common for someone to buy farm land. So I have tried to simplify a complex process into few basic steps so that you are aware of what you will need to keep track of.

Before we go any further, I would like you to know that India now has a new policy on Agriculture and it is definitely the time for you to consider living on a farm in a village.

Now that most of us work from home, the time is ripe to make a new home anywhere and all it needs is good internet connectivity.

I come from an agricultural family which has vast knowledge of farming. Hence I was involved in selling some of our hereditary agricultural lands while aggregating them as well, I gained knowledge of all the requirements one needs to have for this transaction. Living in the city, the lands which we aggregated are close at hand and I have been able to monitor them well.

Agriculture and farming are NOT REMOTE BUSINESSES.

The land should not be treated as an investment to multiply money alone but bring a change to your lifestyle through the joy of growing the food you eat, the crops you plant and the trees that keep bringing you back to them and offering fresh air, peace and joy. 

What you need to consider before buying agriculture/farm land :

Step 1 – Define the purpose for the farm land. 

Do you want to grow staples and vegetables or do you want a fruit orchard?  

Understand that soil type, water table and weather conditions play an important role in what you can grow with ease as opposed to ‘managing to grow’.

Step 2 – Soil & Water 

Soil is a critical part of agriculture along with water. Analysing the soil for NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) will give you an idea about the deficiencies and the corrective natural measures. Today, there are good bio-fertilisers available to enrich soil.

A water source and the quantity available will determine what you can grow and the quality needs to be checked as well.

Soil and Water test labs are available in most areas. Get them done. It is critical for you to not waste time with trial-and-error methodologies. You will find an abundance of knowledge in the area as the local farmers carry all the know-how and so do the panchayat offices. Today there are agricultural specialists in each area who can guide you as to what grows best there and the water tables available as well.

Step 3 – Labour & Accessibility

The reason I have clubbed labour with accessibility is quite simple. If you are the labourer at your farm, then you don’t need anyone more than a dedicated administrator at the farm who is there to assist you for the many jobs at the farm. Local talent on a need basis can also be roped in. They would be more than willing to help. In case you are only a visitor to your farm over the weekends, then take into account availability of labour and pricing during harvest season. Ensure that the farm is close enough for you to drive fortnightly at least. Ideally spend the weekends at the farm. 

Step 4 – Legality 

Ownership rights, patta and parent documents need to be verified. In most cases, the land is passed on to the legal heirs so Death & Legal Heirship certificates need to be checked thoroughly. I strongly recommend that you go to a lawyer well versed with the local language and law, with regard to the certifications.

Revenue records for the crops grown on that land earlier are mostly available with the Tahsildar 

Step 5 – Visit & spend a night

There is nothing better than finally getting a feel for the land once you visit and spend some time there. Do try and stay at least for a night before you buy the land. You could even camp out if there is no hut but trust me, it’s the best!

Should this process feel too complex for you, you could look into the new concept of collaborative farming, where interested people come together as a community and farm together.

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