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Being from a farmer family, I always get fascinated by success stories of small scale farmers. After doing a bit of research to find a profitably successful farmer, I came across details of Sh. Ramesh Chander Dagar of Akabarpur Barota village in Sonepat district of agrarian state Haryana which is in close vicinity of national capital. Sonepat has always been blessed with good irrigation water and easy accessibility to markets of NCR.
On an extremely hot morning of 3rd July 2015, I decided to visit this village and get familiar with Sh. Dagar’s initiative of Integrated Organic Farm. An enjoyable ride of 54 kms from my hometown Rohtak by Royal Enfield through various villages and canals brought me to semi-industrialized Akbarpur Barota. It didn’t take long to find Sh. Dagar’s farm as he is popular among villagers but sadly I got to know that he left this world 4 months back and his son Sh. Mukesh Dagar and family is taking care of his farms these days. I was welcomed by Sh. Dagar’s 16 years old grandson Ujjawal who was initially a bit hesitant to open up on seeing me at their farm. However, all thanks to our common grounds of belonging to same community (Jats) that it didn’t take long for us to get friendly. I shared with him my motive of knowing more about integrated organic farming and writing a blog to which Ujjawal offered me a site tour of his farm and next moment we were at the cow sheds with more than 20 cows. It was clean and well maintained with good provision of light, air and water.
They have adopted latest technology to milk cows which ensures hygiene standards and more yield. Roof of cow sheds is cleverly utilized to install solar power panels to generate electricity for their all power needs.
Farm is self sufficient to meet energy demand and does not depend on electricity board as solar energy produced on farm is stored in large batteries and used for water boilers, lighting and other household needs. Government subsidy for installation of solar plant was a big help.
There is a huge concrete tank underneath cow sheds to generate bio gas using cow dung. All the wash from floor is flown to a small water tank in the corner of the farm which in turn is used for irrigation of the crop fields. Cow dung is also used for producing vermicompost using earthworms. Ultimately nothing can be termed as a waste at this integrated organic farm. There are poultry who feed upon parasites from cow’s body. Family also have a dozen of Emu birds. Emu eggs fetch a good price in market.
There are couple of high quality bred dogs as well. On my way back out of cow sheds and poultry farm, Ujjawal proudly showed me an 18 months old white mare. People in Haryana in olden times used to breed horses and mares and it was a matter of pride to have one but how many such families we have in our villages these days? Not many. Obvious reason is high cost of owning this domesticated and highly social animal.
Walking to the crop fields in the backyard of the farm, I got to know that family is also into bee keeping which fetches good bucks for honey and also increases the crop production in farms by contributing to natural pollination. They don’t need to find market for honey as the local customers approach them directly to buy pure honey.
During my visit, Ujjawal repeatedly emphasized on importance of technology and modernisation clubbed with ancient form of organic farming and it shows in huge investment done by them on farming equipments which make lives of workers easier. Starting with 3 acres, family owns now 124 acres and it takes them only 5 workers to carry out all operations.
Family is also planning to start Educational Agri Tourism (E.A.T.) for students to make them familiar with organic farming and our ancient tradition for which a big hall of approximately 4000 sqft is built and various traditional items like Charkha (oldest known form of spinning wheel) and Atta chakki (hand flour mill) etc. are preserved here.
Family lives in a big house within the farm and a big glass of butter milk welcomed me after the tour and we had a nice short chat on RSS which is part of family’s life since generations and future aspirations of current generation.
Ujjawal belongs to Generation Y and studies in 11th standard at North-Ex Public School in Rohini, Delhi. Inspired by the success of his grandfather who proved in 2004 that you can earn up to 10 lacs from one acre of land, Ujjawal has already decided to continue the family’s profession and remain a farmer for his life which is very inspiring and uncommon these days. Sh. Ramesh Chander Dagar was President of Kisan Welfare Club which helps more than 10000 member farmers in spreading awareness of integrated organic farming and now his son Mukesh is performing this responsibility. Mukesh also has aspirations in social welfare and he is contesting for the post of Chairman of Zila Parishad of Sonepat.
A very common complaint of our famers has always been apathy of government towards agriculture and villages. Certification of organic farm costs Ujjawal’s family 7 lacs per year and it could be a big hindrance for small scale farmers in adopting this technique. However, family have never let such obstacles demotivate them and life goes on. I bid adieu to Ujjawal and started for my ride back home.
On the outskirts of Akbarpur Barota, a quaint liquor shop tempted me. A small room in the middle of farmland is converted in to liquor shop where I met Mishra Ji who hails from Itawah. He offered me a chilled beer to beat the heat.
Small sips of cold beer and political gossips about his state Uttar Pradesh went on for an hour and I was again on the road. After covering half of my journey, a grove of poplar trees caught my attention and I could not resist stopping and knowing about this growing form of agro-sylviculture.
Upon walking for 100 meters from road, I felt a cool breeze inside the poplar grove which was at least 5 degree Celsius colder than outer world. Three workers were having a sound sleep after lunch. Disappointed not finding anyone to talk to, I started to go back and a there comes a young boy who introduced himself as the owner of the grove. He told me about growing demand of poplar and scope of profits on harvesting after 5-6 years. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much knowledge about poplar farming and his crop is not flourishing on desired levels yet. Do we need to blame the government again? Probably Yes.
Have any story of your visit to farms? Leave a comment please.
1. I can travel with friends in a car from Bangalore.
2. I can see a clear sunrise.
3. I can be at peace with myself.
4. I can visit some nice French bakery for breakfast.
5. I can visit museum and get familiar with our rich heritage of Arikamedu.
6. I can turn my hectic life upside down and be myself.
7. When I get tired, I can drink plenty at a very reasonable rate.
8. I find time to visit religious places.
9. I can get lost on empty roads.
10. I can get inspiration for color schemes of my home.
11. I can shoot my friend on cycle.
12. I get to stay in a beach side heritage hotel and feel special.
13. I can relish on chilled beer with friends on Auroville road.
14. I can enjoy wood fired pizza and fresh juices at Tanto.
15. I can steal bicycle of sleeping Baba and run away to return after a while.
Got a fun thing to share with me? Please leave a comment below.