Today, many farmers of the country, understanding the ill effects of chemical farming, are returning to organic and natural farming. Especially, young farmers are very positive about organic farming. Along with this, there has been a lot of awareness among people about healthy eating. Now, people not only want to have nutritious food but for clothing, the demand for organic cotton clothes is also increasing. In the market you will find many such brands, which sell organic cotton clothes. But, today we are introducing you to a farmer who not only does organic farming, but is also making clothes through organic methods.
A 60-year-old farmer from village Dhingwali in Fazilka, Punjab, Surendra Pal Singh has studied up to class X and has inherited farming. He says, “People here either cultivate us or serve in the Indian Army. I tried to join the army but could not for some reason. Therefore, I focused on farming. Even today, we live in a joint family and we are all doing farming together in an organic way. ”
He explains, “Our family has a lot of land, therefore, we consider it our responsibility to do farming in organic and natural ways. When the earth gives us so much, then we also have some duty towards it. I learned from my father and grandfather that if we play with land and nature, we will endanger our existence. ”
Therefore, he never insisted on chemical farming. If ever used chemicals, then in very small amounts. Since 1992, he has been doing fully organic and natural farming. He has plantations of fruits like guava, tangerine and besides, he also cultivates wheat, millet, jowar, maize, sesame, pulses, and cotton. He also plant vegetables and vegetables for his home through organic methods. He says, “I am dependent on agriculture for almost all my family’s needs. Our food and drink was already dependent on our agriculture and now we make clothes mostly from our organic cotton. ”
Organic farming of cotton
Surendra cultivates organic cotton on his four acres of land. He says, “In the past, indigenous cotton was cultivated in North India and spinning, weaving, and textile was made on charkhas and handlooms. But in the spin of modernity, now you will not get even by searching for charkha. Now farmers who grow indigenous cotton are also rarely seen. Most farmers plant its hybrid variety ‘BT Cotton’. I have never planted hybrid cotton in my fields. ”
The main reason for this is their livestock. Cows and buffaloes are reared in their home and for this, in addition to green fodder, porridge, mustard cake and cottonseed are needed. After cotton harvesting, when it is harvested, it produces cotton and cotton. Farmers give cotton to the cloth merchants and cottonseed is used as fodder for cattle. But Surendra says that cottonseed made from hybrid variety of cotton is not right for the health of the animals. Therefore, they always cultivated indigenous cotton in organic ways.
Surendra explains, “Cotton is sown in the month of May. A month before this, we prepare the field for sowing. The ground on which cotton is to be planted is well plowed. After this, the field is left vacant for a week or two. Although the soil of our fields has become very fertile due to the organic farming that has been going on for so many years, but, before spraying, we sprinkle germs in the field. If we are never able to give germs initially, then after germination and before sowing, germs are given along with irrigation of the field. ”
In the land on which he plants cotton, he cultivates mixed crops with cotton, which act as ‘nitrogen fixation’ in the soil. Like they apply moong and moth lentils with cotton. For good production it is necessary to have good polymerization. He added, “Pollination happens with the help of birds. Therefore, we place a two line of millet or jowar, in between cotton and pulses. Because, birds are attracted by their flowers. Also, tur and marigold flowers are planted on the border of the fields. In this way, we carry out nutrition, pollination and pest management in natural ways. By farming in these ways, you don’t need any chemicals. ”
Surendra has been doing organic farming for a long time. He says, “The environment of our farm is now such that even if a crop gets pests, we don’t worry too much. Because, we know that nature will manage it on its own. ” Cotton crop is selected in the month of October. Surendra says that he gets about three to seven quintals of cotton produced from one acre of land.
Making organic cotton clothes yourself
Surendra says that he is associated with ‘Kheti Virasat Mission’, an organization working for organic farming in Punjab. Together with these, he is spreading awareness among the people about organic farming. Along with organic farming, Farming Heritage Mission is also trying to save the traditional handicrafts arts of Punjab like Charkha, Phulkari etc. By participating in the events organized by the mission, Surendra learned that cotton fabrics are being made in the cotton industry using chemicals. Even though they are reaching the organic cotton market, but if chemicals are still being used to make clothes, then what is the use?
Therefore, from the year 2009, he decided that he would make clothes by processing his own cotton. He says, “It became very difficult to get charkha and handloom for processing cotton. Because as the cotton cultivation in Punjab decreased, so did the spinning of cotton by spinning around the houses. Earlier there were weavers in every village, who used to weave clothes. But, now you will find this community somewhere too. I did not sell my cotton in the market for almost three years. But, when no handloom was found, I spoke in a ‘power loom’ and in 2013, started making organic cotton clothes made from cotton itself. ”
However, there were many difficulties in making these clothes but, they did not give up. He adds, “More than 100 meters of cloth is made in a quintal of cotton, and the amount of fabric also depends on whether you are making the fabric thick or thin. An ordinary farmer gets five to six thousand rupees from selling a quintal in a cotton market. At the same time, we earn up to 19 thousand rupees from the sale of one quintal cotton cloth. ”
He is still making clothes from the power loom itself. But in the last few years, the team of Kheti Virasat Mission has also done the task of saving the charkhas and handlooms in the villages of Punjab.
Rupasi Garg, a member of the mission, states, “Our aim is to bring back the lost heritage of Punjab. For the last 15-16 years, this is our only objective that every farmer here should do organic farming and thus save the local arts and crafts. With women, we are running a program called ‘Trinjan’. Through which, we are connecting women with works like charkha, handlooms, and carpets. Cooperation of farmers like Surendra ji has proved to be very helpful in this work. Surendra ji’s experience helps us a lot. In the place where cotton cultivation was almost over, he is setting an example by growing indigenous cotton. ”
In time to come, Surendra is working on a plan to give his cotton to the women’s groups being prepared by the mission to make clothes. He says that the cotton crop is a crop in which people can be given employment at every stage, from picking to weaving. When cotton is picked in his field, he employs about 45 workers at a time.
Clothes are delivered directly to customers
Whatever organic cotton clothes Surendra makes, he is delivering them directly to the customers. He says, “Over the years, I have had hundreds of customers. Grains, pulses and fruits etc. go from our fields here. So, when we started making clothes, we started with these customers. We do not deliver all our clothes to one place, but customers keep buying clothes from us all year round. ”
In addition, they also receive orders to make quilt-mattresses. He makes quilt-mattress shells with these clothes, in which only organic cotton is filled. He says that people are getting skin related diseases by wearing clothes made using chemicals or using them in other ways. Therefore, many customers buy clothes and quilt-mattresses made of organic cotton from them. One of his clients from Ludhiana, Supriya Sadan, has sent him a quilt-mattress to England, not only for himself but also for his daughter living in England.
Supriya had skin problems due to quilts and mattresses made of synthetic fabrics. But, ever since they have used a quilt-mattress made of organic cotton, their troubles are over. His daughter also had the same problem. So, they made things by ordering for him as well. Another customer, Sunaina Walia, bought about 70 meters of cloth in three-four months. Sunaina, who owns a natural cosmetics business in Jalandhar, came to know about Surendra through the ‘Kheti Virasat Mission’.
She says, “I also provide ‘Makeup Remover’ to my customers. We use cotton to remove makeup and discard it, which is not good for the environment. So, when I came to know about Surendra Ji’s organic clothes, I bought a few meters of cloth from him and made useable, remover pads from it. They are suitable for all skin types. For these, I have received very good feedback from my customers as well. So, now I am considering making more different things from their organic clothes. ”
Surendra says that a French textile entrepreneur who sells cotton clothes for children, his cotton clothes started causing skin problems to children. In such a situation, he wanted to know the reason for this, it was found that this is happening due to the use of hybrid cotton and chemicals. Therefore, he visited India to see the fields of farmers growing organic cotton and to understand the nuances of farming. Along with native cotton, Surendra Narma is also growing cotton. It is naturally colored khaki.
He told, “Earlier Narma cotton was cultivated here, but now it is found with great difficulty. I also faced a lot of difficulty in searching for its seeds. When the search for seeds was over, I started cultivating them at a very small level. However, we are still in a position to produce seeds. However, he was shocked when an entrepreneur from France saw this soft cotton. Then, he said that if the native cotton is mixed in such colors, there will be no need to do chemical dye. We also liked his talk and, therefore, we are now trying to grow crops that can also produce natural dye. ”
Due to all its crops and processing, today Surendra has an annual revenue of millions. But, he says that now his priority is not just to earn money but he wants to improve the standard of living of the people. He wants to provide good food and clothes to the people, working in the interest of environment. He says, “Agriculture is not a business for us but it is our lifestyle. Almost all our needs are being met by agriculture, so we do not matter what our annual income is? We ourselves are living well and employing a few hands, there is no earning higher than this. ”
If you want to contact Surendra Pal Singh, you can contact him on 9417763067.