Soans Farm is located about 40 KM from Mangalore on National Highway 13. It has developed over years as a centre for innovative agriculture. Traditional agriculture in this area was restricted to the valleys with perennial water supply for crops like Areca nut, Coconut, Banana and Rice. An attempt was made in 1926 to bring into useful cultivation hilly areas and non forested grasslands dependent only on the seasonal monsoon rains for water supply.
Basel Mission, a Swiss-German missionary organisation which had pioneered printing in local languages and setting up of industries based on local raw materials, ventured into this pilot agricultural project under the leadership of Rev. Fischer, a missionary based in Karkala. Alfred Soans, a young agricultural graduate was employed in 1928 to vigorously pursue the project. Because of the shallow soil over the laterite beds and the lack of irrigation, the initial coconut plantation did not prosper.
Soans brought in many innovations like intercropping with several new crops like Pineapple which saved the situation. The low price of agricultural produce and the start of the Second World War were a great set back. The Germans who became enemies of the then British rulers had to leave. The local church, which became the custodian of the farm could not support it and planned to sell the land. Soans who had put in a lot of effort, prevailed on the church to save the farm. Eventually he was given charge of the farm on a lease.
After 1947 and the country’s independence, the agricultural situation improved. Further innovations like farm mechanization and improved irrigation practices made possible the expansion of the farm from 46 acres to nearly a hundred acres. Agriculture was further diversified and more new crops suited to the land, climate and the market were introduced. While Pineapple continued to be a major crop, crops like Mango, Sapota, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cocoa, Cashew nut, Coconut and Vanilla made possible year round utilization of the land, and further employment opportunities for the local population.
At present the farm is managed by the two sons of Alfred Soans, Dr. L.C. Soans, a Botanist who studied in the U.S.A. under a Fulbright grant and Mr. I.V. Soans, a fruit technologist by training. Horticultural development is further strengthened by a Nursery section and a Fruit processing plant. The cropping pattern has evolved into a multistoried mixed cropping, ecologically sustainable model, for visiting farmers from around the country. It has also become a popular destination for foreign tourists, to see the variety of spices and medicinal plants.
Cruise ships dock at the Mangalore port and groups of tourists take a day trip to Karkala to visit the 42 foot high monolithic statue of Bahubali, a Jain saint and the 15th century thousand pillared temple at Moodbidri
They stop at Soans Farm, where rest room facilities are provided. They have their picnic lunch under the mango trees and get a chance to take a tour of the farm and see different tropical fruits and spices which they use in their diet but don't get the chance to see the actual plants.
Soans Farm has also diversified into Eco-tourism with guest houses in the farm for those interested in nature, bird watching and study of the tropical rainforest nearby.
The commercially available product in the farm are Pineapple, Coconut, Pepper, Mango, Guava, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Mace, Vanilla, Banana, Rambutan, Mangosteen, Durian, Barbados cherry, Surinam cherry, Passion fruit, Cocoa, Bamboo, Jack fruit, Rangoon Cherry, Star apple, Star fruit, Rose apple, Custard apple, Egg fruit, Mulberry, Allspice, Clove, Cashew nut, Breadfruit, Butter fruit, Gooseberry, Yam, Arecanut, Coffee and different varieties of ornamental and fruit Plants. Processed pure juice of fruits are also available.
For the Reservation in the guest house of the resort,