Sunil Gurusiddappa Jaganur, 25, project assistant, who was earning Rs. 4,500 a month, decided to chuck his job and plunge into a “tomato adventure”. First, he bought one acre of land to augment his family’s 0.75 acres (30 guntas) in Sanganakeri village of Gokak taluk in Belagavi district, and then chose an elite variety of tomato, the Arka Rakshak, to cultivate.
The young man, who was ridiculed by seasoned farmers for chasing his dream, is now a household name. He made nearly Rs. 10 lakh in four months. “I have harvested a bumper yield of 43 tonnes and am expecting another 8 to 10 tonnes from the remaining crop, which is a record in this region,” says Mr. Sunil, whose mantra in farming is determination and application of scientific practices.
In honour of his success the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) organised a field demonstration day at his farm to popularise scientific methods of cultivation of this high-yielding variety.
IIHR’s Vegetable Division Head A.T. Sadashiva, who headed the team of scientists that developed the Arka Rakshak, says this variety has resistance to three major diseases besides having a long shelf-life. He also believes this variety, which yields 18 kg a plant, can bring financial stability to small and marginal farmers. Mr. Sunil is now doling out advice to farmers from different parts of the State who call him up to learn about his experiences. “I feel extremely happy that some of the farmers who used to think that small farms are not profitable are having a rethink after my experience,” he says.
B.S. Satish Kumar