“In just three months, I have earned about 12 lakh rupees from my muskmelon farming, whereas the cost came to about five lakh rupees. Earlier, we could not earn so much by cultivating our entire land. But now we are making good profits from organic farming of seasonal vegetables and fruits, ”says Praveen Patel, a farmer in Surat district of Gujarat. Having been farming for the last nearly 18 years, Praveen started organic farming of vegetables and fruits from 2018. Praveen, 41, who once aspired to become an engineer, is making good profits in farming today.
When Praveen Patel was doing engineering from a college in Pune, Maharashtra, he got the news of his father being very ill. When he returned home, he saw that his father could no longer handle farming and his elder brother had also started a business of his own. In such a situation, the family was worrying about the loss of farming. Praveen said, “At the family level, we have a lot of land. But, if no one does farming, then what is the benefit of the land? Therefore, I had to leave my studies and join farming. ”
For about 15–16 years, Praveen, like his father and other farmers, continued farming in traditional ways. Sugarcane and bananas were grown in large quantities in them. He says that he had more land. Therefore, the income from farming was sufficient for the household. But, if these earnings are seen per acre, then he was in loss. He said, “A few years ago I started being very active on YouTube and used to watch the stories of successful farmers from different places. At the same time, he tried to understand their farming models. I also joined many farmer groups on social media. In 2018, I came to know that a group of farmers are going to Israel, so I also went with them. ”
Israel Of Travel has Given Organic farming Of Inspiration:
In 2018 with a group of farmers, Praveen was surprised to see the organic farming of the farmers there when he went to Israel. He saw how Israeli farmers make good profits by farming with different techniques. Also, seeing his chemical-free yield, Praveen understood the importance of organic produce. After returning from Israel, he decided that he would change his farming methods. First of all, he decided to do chemical-free farming.
Praveen explains, “Earlier we were growing sugarcane and banana on a large scale. But after coming from Israel, I started growing crops like cucumber, watermelon, melon, broccoli, lattus, capsicum. All these crops are called ‘cash crops’. Because, farmers can earn good profits from these crops in a short time. ”
Praveen first prepared his fields in organic ways and, at the same time, learned to make organic manure himself. He makes nutritious manure like Jeevamrita, cow dung, vermicompost and vermivosh and uses in his fields. According to him, vermiwash increases the immunity of crops and reduces the risk of pests.
He explains, “Vermiwash is a liquid manure made with the help of earthworms. To make it, according to your requirement, take a barrel / drum of 100 or 200 liters. Put a tap in it at the bottom. Now first of all put a layer of small and big stones / scree in the drum. Then, lay a layer of sand on top of it and put a layer of vermicompost on top of it. Now put some earthworms in this vermicompost. Now place this drum under a tap or hang a matka over it. Because, you have to put water in the drum everyday. After about one to two weeks, with the tap in the drum, you can start taking the vermiwash, a liquid fertilizer made in the drum. ”
There are many different ways to make vermivosh, which farmers can adopt according to their convenience. Apart from composting, he also works hard on preparing the fields for sowing. He said that firstly deep plowing is done and then ‘rotavator’ is run in the fields two or three times. After this, organic manure is applied to the fields and the soil is re-poured over the compost. In this process one month goes away and then sowing is done in the field.
He said, “This year I started preparing the field from the month of December and sowing melon plants in January (muskmelon farming). If a farmer wants to sow seeds, then do it according to the weather of his area. It is very cold in January, therefore, it takes time for the seeds to germinate. In this case, you can plant. But, if you want to sow from seed then the month of February is fine. When winter starts to subside. ” Harvesting of the crop that he planted in the month of January began in March, about two and a half months later.
According to Praveen, he has earned about 12 lakh rupees from muskmelon farming in seven acres. Similarly, they have also benefited from the crop of cucumber and watermelon. He explains, “I am using all the techniques I learned in Israel in my fields. For example, for a few days after planting, they are covered with a polypropylene sheet. Due to which weather crops and animals are protected from crops. Because of this, soil moisture also remains and the risk of weeds is also reduced. ”
) Has earned him about 12 lakh rupees. Similarly, he has also benefited from the crop of cucumber and melon. He explains, “I am using all the techniques I learned in Israel in my fields. For example, for a few days after planting, they are covered with a polypropylene sheet. Due to which weather crops and animals are protected from crops. Because of this, soil moisture also remains and the risk of weeds is also reduced. ”
For irrigation, he has installed equipment like automatic drip irrigation machines and sprinklers in his fields. He says, “There are several subsidy schemes for farmers being run by the Department of Agriculture. Whether it is for the pond or for drip irrigation. Right awareness is needed. Therefore, the farmers should not be limited to themselves, they should also seek the help of ‘Krishi Vigyan Kendras’ and agricultural authorities of their area. As long as we farmers do not work day and night for our fields, we will not be able to grow any further. ”
Says Horticulture Officer of Surat, Nainesh Chaudhary, “Farmers like Praveen ji are not only growing themselves but are also an inspiration to other farmers. Our department has for a long time been making farmers aware of abandoning plastic and using technologies such as polypropylene sheets and drip irrigation for irrigation. But it is difficult to prepare the farmers for change. In such a situation, progressive farmers like Praveenji prove to be helpful because now we have an example of their success. ”
Praveen has received a subsidy to install polypropylene sheets and drip irrigation in his fields. Also, the department is also helping in their marketing. Nainesh Chaudhary says that he also advises other farmers to visit Praveen’s fields so that they can learn new ways.
Straight The customers Of House Access doing is Yield:
Along with changing the methods of farming, Praveen also changed the methods of making his produce accessible to the customers. Earlier he depended on mandis and middlemen, while now he is directly connecting with customers. He is directly connected with around 300 customers in Surat city and adjoining areas. These people order them through Facebook or WhatsApp. Praveen also has a car to deliver to people’s homes.
He explained, “Social media helped a lot to connect directly with customers. It started in lockdown last year, when we had to sell our produce but, everything was closed. I posted on social media, told people in different groups and when we started getting orders, I started the delivery with permission from the administration. Last year, we only earned Rs 16 lakh from watermelon cultivation. ”
Praveen says that people are very fond of his fruits and vegetables and now on the demand of customers, this year he is also going to plant fruits like Dragon Fruit, Guava, Pomegranate. Praveen says that in the coming few years, he will start ‘agro-tourism’ in his fields.
Today, where people want to leave their fields and connect their children with jobs, Praveen wants his children to study in agriculture so that they can handle their fields in better ways than that. In addition, he is also helping other farmers in Surat and surrounding areas.
He finally says, “If a farmer contacts me and explains his problem, I try to help him.” If they have a farm around Surat, then I also go away. My endeavor is to get more and more farmers to join organic farming and earn well. ”
If you want to contact Praveen, you can message him on Facebook.