In  the sleepy villages of Sirsi in Karnataka an economic revolution is taking place. In just four years, farmers have tripled their income by growing pepper, the king of spices. Word of pepper’s potential has spread to five districts of Karnataka — Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Chikmagalore, Hassan and Kodagu — and here too farmers are making money by growing the black spice. 
The man behind this silent transformation is 68-year-old Dr Madhugiri Narayana Rao Venugopal, a retired ICAR scientist, affectionately called ‘Pepper Doctor’.  By assiduously sharing his knowledge with farmers he has increased their yield of pepper by three to four times.
Dr Venugopal was born in Madhugiri in Tumkur district, the eighth child of Narayana Rao and his wife, Seethamma. In 1977 he joined the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute at Kasargod. He retired in 2009 after 32 years of service from the Regional Research Station of the Indian Institute of …