Gorur Gopinath developed eco-friendly methods of silkworm rearing in India, working with the environment rather than destroying it, and improving local living standards in the process.
After retiring from the Indian army, Gorur Gopinath turned to farming – and almost went broke. Recognizing the harm inflicted by modern chemical agriculture, he developed a low-cost, natural system for cultivating mulberry trees for silkworm production, to restore the damaged rural landscape. His farm at Karnataka has become a beacon for sustainable silk production and his “farming with nature” message has inspired and enhanced the livelihoods and health of thousands of Indian farming families.
I am convinced that in farming, management methods which are not environmentally benign and integrated will not be economical and sustainable.
“Few of us realize the havoc that modern agricultural practices are wreaking on our countryside,” he says.
Since winning his Rolex Award, Gopinath has developed several businesses, founding a charter helicopter service and, in 2003, launching India’s first budget airline. The French government made him a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. His passion for farming is undiminished and he still visits his farm regularly. He is particularly proud that Raju, an uneducated boy whom he initially employed, at age 15, to help on the farm, is now its supervisor.
Age when Gopinath retired from the army to take up farming
Size in hectares of his farm in Karnataka
Years of lower yields under eco-farming until the land recovers