22Feb2017

A trendsetting farmer attributes his knowledge to radio

Noor Mohammad, a farmer from village Mubarikpur, block Punhana, Nuh district, Haryana, has used his newfound knowledge through radio. This smallholder farmer, like most others, believed that in order to get more produce, he must use Urea and Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) in large quantities. He did not realize the negative effects of this overuse on the crop and soil until he learned from a community radio broadcast on Alfaz-e-Mewat. Alfaz-e-Mewat operates in village Ghaghas and serves as an information lifeline to rural communities across 225 villages in the district.

Noor Mohammad, who has had a continued association with radio, listens avidly to a program titled Tohfa-e-Kudrat: Jal, Jangal, Zameen (gift of nature: water, forests, and soil), which informed him about the ill effects of excessive doses of fertilizers. He wondered about the authenticity of the information and called up the station during a live program to clarify and seek expert advice. Noor Mohammad said he didn’t know about the value of using green manure before listening to the radio program. He said, “Radio has taught me to prepare green manure. For manure, I used to earlier rely on cow dung that was not prepared in a proper manner. It was left in the open, in a heap and was not properly decomposed. But after listening to one of the episodes, I resorted to layering the cow dung and crop leftovers in a pit to make the manure.”

He decided to follow the advice on his five acres of land. “I wanted to tell others about the two things that I learned but refrained, thinking I should first try them out in my field and see the results. I am convinced now and can’t wait to share my knowledge with others.”

Since he started using green manure and properly prepared compost on his field, he only needs to put one round of urea as compared to earlier dosage. Earlier, it not only incurred more expenditure but also affected the soil health adversely.

A grandfather now, Noor Mohammad spends time with kids in the house after taking care of the fields. Both his married sons work as machine operators used for earth moving, and his only daughter is also married. He spreads his knowledge to fellow farmers in many ways, including word of mouth, experience sharing on radio shows, and participating in community meetings organized in his village. He proudly shares, “More savings and increased income—what better can a farmer expect?”

(This article was first compiled in Hindi by Sohrab Khan, technical coordinator, community radio Alfaz-e-Mewat, and translated for use in the publication.)