By Sageer Ahmed and Kailash Gupta
Kamal is a progressive farmer living in Nasirbass village of Ferozepur Jhirka Block, district Nuh, Haryana, where he has been engaged in agriculture for the past twenty-five years. He supports seven family members who are either directly or indirectly dependent on his farming profession. Like many other farmers, Kamal initially relied on traditional cropping practices in his five acres of land, cultivating crops such as mustard, wheat, millet, and tomatoes. However, due to climate change, pest resistance, and changing soil nutrient conditions, his tomato crop suffered significant losses, resulting in minimal net income. Despite these challenges, Kamal’s limited resources prevented him from leaving the agriculture sector. When staff from S M Sehgal Foundation engaged and elaborated on the scientific ways of agriculture practices inducing modem technologies, Kamal decided to give it one more try.
Kamal’s fortunes changed when he participated in a training program for progressive farmers organized by the S M Sehgal Foundation team in collaboration with HDFC Bank under the Holistic Rural Development Project Parivartan. The training focused on new agricultural techniques and the benefits of using a drip system, mulching, hybrid seeds, and staking for tomato cultivation. The program also provided information about government subsidies that are available to farmers. With the introduction of drip and mulching, irrigation can be applied according to the need of every plant without flooding the entire field, resulting in reduced weeds and high productivity. Hybrid seeds and staking are part of input materials that help gain higher productivity.
After the training, Kamal visited the Horticulture Department office at Ferozepur Jhirka to learn more about the benefits of tomato staking practice and requested support from the staff. He met with the Horticulture Development Officer (HDO), who assured him that he would visit Kamal’s farm to assess the situation. Once the HDO visited the farm and assessed the feasibility of adopting the new technique, Kamal applied for the available government subsidy. With the help of the department’s officials and the foundation team, he received a grant of INR 51,000 within a month of submitting the application.
Kamal shares that these techniques have helped him overcome the losses. Even though the input cost has increased, the resulting revenue is much more. His farm is a leading example for crop diversification in Nuh district, which has also received appreciation from several departments and villagers.
Kamal’s success in adopting modern agricultural practices, including new techniques and government subsidies, set an example for other farmers in the region. Water requirements have been reduced and the dependency to purchase seedlings is no more.
Many other farmers like Kamal have been recipients of benefits after linkages were formed with government departments under the project. Clearly, the impact of a project can be seen and replicated in other areas, ultimately leading to greater adoption of modern agricultural practices and techniques.
(Sageer is field assistant and Kailash is project coordinator with S M Sehgal Foundation in Nuh, Haryana)