Innovative farmers transforming the meaning of being agriculturist in Punjab

Punjab MapLudhiana, Dec. 8 : A group of innovative farmers in Punjab is now looking for ways to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability by adopting diversification.

Growing vegetables is now a viable alternative for Punjab farmers. Davinder Singh of Mushkabad village is today an example in Ludhiana district who grows quality vegetable in his 10-acre farmland and today supplies the produce to retail giants like Reliance and Field Fresh.

Seven years ago, Davinder and his friends set up Innovative Farmers'' Group and started marketing agro-produce on their own.

Davinder Singh, the innovative farmer, said: "We got our group registered, which helps in solving our marketing problems. Earlier, we used to market our produce through agents. Now multinational companies come in to buy our produce - Airtel (Field Fresh) and Reliance, More. and Walmart - to whom we sell directly. They grade our produce at the farm itself and we have been growing products as per their requirements."

Earlier, growing Bananas in Punjab was considered an impossible dream. But, following innovative measures and hard work, another member of the Innovative Farmers'' Group, Mewa Singh started growing Bananas.

Today, his two-acre farm earns him a income of 4,000 dollars a year that is double than what he would get from crops like wheat and maize.

Mewa Singh, said: "Basically, traditional farming is not viable. It gives no economical returns, which can uplift the farmers. Over 70 per cent Punjab farmers depend on agriculture income. But the return is so low that they cannot make both ends meet. That''s why innovation is necessary in Punjab. Punjab farmers can only survive with innovative ideas and get more returns from their agriculture produce."

The Innovative Farmers'' Group has grown from seven members to 135 members today , who meet every year along with the government representatives. They discuss issues related to crops and marketing and policies that favor farmers.

Ramesh Inder Singh, the Chief Secretary for Punjab government, said: " Government is taking all appropriate steps to encourage diversification, in which farming and its allied industries will be given preference. In farming, promotion of floriculture and horticulture is a successful endeavor."

Currently farming is passing through a transitional phase and innovative farmers are playing a critical role during this period. They have been inspirational and today many small and marginal farmers are willing to join the bandwagon. (ANI)