Integrated Farming insures Livelihood Security; Romesh Chander (67) proves through his successful farming model

 

REASI: Kotli Bajalian with a community of 422 families is a large village of Reasi District situated in close vicinity of holy Township Katra.

Earlier most of the people of the village were engaged in farming to earn their livelihood. But the social profile of the village has now changed with people, especially the younger generation, turning to other trades as they consider farming a non-profitable occupation. Majority of them are inclined towards growing the tourism industry in Katra Township and others are entering government services. The main reason for lack of profitability among farmers is the small size of land holdings and lack of irrigation facilities. However, Romesh Chander Chowdhary, 67 of the same village has a different view towards farming. Despite his age, Romesh Chander’s passion for farming & eagerness to adopt latest farm techniques encouraged him to establish a profitable farming model by adopting integrated farming at his farm unit.

His farming model has all the potential to be replicated by other farmers of the district to achieve livelihood security amid prospects of poor yield and income. The success story of Romesh Chander serves as an inspiration for many. He is earning profit of around Rs 5.51 Lakh by carrying out diverse activities over his 2.0 Hec( 40 Kanal) land holding- thanks to the integrated farming techniques with optimum resource utilization being its success mantra.

Before coming in contact with field staff of the Agriculture department, he used to follow traditional agriculture practices growing mainly Maize and Wheat crops with some fodder over his 40-Kanal land. At the end of the year he was finding it difficult to make the two ends meet.

To make his farm unit financially viable, Chander acted upon the advice of extension staff of the agriculture department to adopt an integrated farming system involving compatible components of Horticulture and Animal Husbandry with field crops and Vegetables.

Firstly, he started growing the location specified high yielding varieties of Maize/ Pulses and Wheat during Kharif and Rabi respectively over 25 Kanal Land. On 8 Kanal Land, he started growing Cash Crop in the shape of Sugarcane. Further, he started cultivating seasonal vegetables over 4 Kanal Land and Fodder over the rest 3 Kanal land to meet the Nutritional requirement of Milch Cattle.

Relying on his experience and knowledge gained from departmental experts on maintaining sustainability of the System, 5 Years back he planted over 100 fruit plants including Mango, Citrus, Amla, Guava, Papaya, Litchi, Apple etc. The fruit plants have started bearing fruits and whatever marketable surplus remains after meeting the requirements of his family is being sold in the market.

To further mitigate risk of loss in farming , he started domestic growth of Milch breeds of Cows and buffaloes and now his small dairy unit provides him assured surplus of 30 Ltr of Milk on daily basis.

Sharing his know-how, Romesh Chander said the main components of integrated Farming are Vegetable Cultivation, Fruit Cultivation, Sugarcane Cultivation and Bio Gas Unit.

Chander said that the biggest challenge for farmers is to overcome the problems associated with traditional Farming practices. “Adoption of an integrated Farming System under the technical guidance and support of the Department of Agriculture is the best solution to make farming a profitable venture” he said with confidence. He said field Crops, Vegetables, Fruits, Biogas and Dairy are the working components of the Integrated Farming System. To achieve success special thrust should be on Water use efficiency, waste recycling and following the perfect crop pattern, he opined.

Department of agriculture Reasi and KVK Reasi and staff from ATMA admire his efforts in adopting an integrated farming system and presenting a working model for other farmers of the area.

 

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