In spite of all its importance, agriculture still lacks the glamour of a full-time job for young people to take the plunge. The main reason many traditional farmers and several youngsters attribute to this is that it is not remunerative or reliable.
“If traditional farmers themselves say this then how does a youngster get attracted into this line which is mainly seen as an image of an old man looking at the sky for rains? It is only possible if we are able to assure a monthly income of at least Rs. 50,000 from a hectare. Only if we can assure this income can there be any meaning for all these talks on attracting and encouraging youngsters to get into this line,” says Mr. S.S. Rajsekar, Managing Trustee, National Agro Foundation (NAF), Chennai.Not lose touch
Remuneration or return on investment is very important, but at the same time young people must not lose touch with tradition. In the rush of learning they should not forget the importance of ploughing — which provides food.
Mr. Bhaskar Reddy, a progressive farmer from Kizhmaruvathur village in Kancheepuram district, is a standing example as to how farming can be financially rewarding and at the same time he has taken care to see his two educated daughters have not lost touch with their family activity.
Besides studying, his daughters help him with the everyday activities on his five-acre farm.
As the region is predominantly a paddy and sugarcane growing belt like several others, Mr. Reddy was also growing the same. But the crops proved not so remunerative and he decided to sell his lands and move to Chennai.
“Many of our relatives and friends had sold their lands and moved to cities. But something within me held me back. A decision I am very glad of today, as my land is worth much more than what it was some years back,” says a smiling Mr. Reddy.Better times
His fortunes turned for the better after he approached the National Agro Foundation for help and guidance.
He sought their expert advice on how to switch over to short term cash crops and was advised to take up vegetable farming of such crops as brinjal, watermelon and muskmelon.
NAF also provided him technical assistance on cultivation practices from seed to harvest.
When majority of farmers who are engaged in farming are finding it difficult to engage agricultural labour, Mr. Reddy and his family started working on their farm. By involving his family members, he saves about Rs. 1 lakh annually.Modern technologies
Modern technologies like drip irrigation, soil plastic mulching, fertigation, annual soil fertility test are all being implemented. Judicious blending of organic and biological ways of pest control is being carried out in his farm.
Today Mr. Reddy is able to earn Rs. 1 lakh in 3-4 months from his brinjal crops.
Once the brinjals were harvested he cultivated watermelon in the fields and in three months time was able to earn nearly Rs. 3.5 lakhs as net profit for the a year by growing watermelons.
He also started a nursery to supply vegetable seedlings to other farmers for different crops from which he earns Rs.1.5 lakh additionally
“After completing my studies I prefer helping my father in his field and do not intend seeking a job in some company. Today, an engineering graduate earns between Rs.15,000 to Rs.20,000 a month whereas I am able to earn much more working in my own field,” says one of his daughters.
“From a failure farmer I have been able to come out as a successful person only because I learned and implemented new technologies in my fields. Farmers should always concentrate on growing vegetables apart from regular paddy crops since it fetches better returns in a short time,” he says.Felicitated
The farmer was recently felicitated by the Chairman of the NABARD for his contribution towards sustainable agriculture
For more information contact Mr. M. R.Ramasubramaniyan, Executive Director on mobile: 9444864884, website: www.nationalagro.org.in, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Bhaskar Reddy, Reddiar street, Keelmaruvathur, Melvaruvathur post, Cheyur taluk, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, mobile: 8940039953 and 9944577533.