Indian farmers are known to be inventive and an example of this is Sumer Singh of Dhani Mahu village in Haryana, who gave up using chemical based fertilisers and switched to organic farming.
Singh took up the risky proposition of organic farming which though is paying and popular on realising the ill-effects of the fertilisers. Today he not only cultivates 14 acres of farm but also motivates other farmers to take up this method.
In 1999 Singh started farming and used fertilisers for his cotton crop but it caused deterioration of his land as well as his family.
Realising this he switched over to organic methods and at present he grows millets, pulses, vegetables and chickpeas.
Talking to Better India, he said: “I’ve been practising this model of cultivation for the past six years. Neither my family nor myself have felt the need to spend a single pie on hospital bills. I consider that as my greatest profit.” On a philosophical note, he asks: “What is the use of earning more profit by using chemicals and spending the same in hospitals?”
Commenting on Singh’s produce, one of his buyers Sukh Darshan commented: “We have been buying vegetables from Sumer ji for quite some time now. There are notable differences between organic onions and those bought from the market. Apart from adding flavour to the food, we are also able to preserve it for a long time.”
Apart from this, Singh has been inventive and tries to experiment with farming techniques. He used stubble instead of plastic for mulching to grow onions on one acre of land. This benefits the soil by keeping it moist and helps during water scarcity. Today he is able to get 80 quintals of onion.
Further he has found an ingenious way of storing onions. Instead of using sacks, which results in spoiling them due to pressure and heat he hangs them in bundles. Talking about this, Singh said: “You have to hang them just like shopkeepers hang bananas. This will keep them in the air and they will be safe for many months.” He is trying to preserve them now for a longer period.
He has been working on similar other methods. “There is risk in all agriculture related work, be it organic or chemical. But this does not mean that farmers should hesitate to try new experiments and move forward. I appeal to all the farmers to cultivate crops through organic farming techniques,” observed Singh.