Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 5 (ANI): A retired government officer from Chamyari village in Amritsar is leading the way to organic farming in the state and proving the benefits of crop diversification and direct marketing to customers.
Through his startup, Dr Sukhdev Singh sells directly to farmers from his house and says that he has never had a problem in marketing. He has gone beyond the traditional crops and grows turmeric, garlic, sugarcane, and also makes jaggery.
Singh believes that diversification and organic farming are key to saving the soil and groundwater that have been affected over the years.
"With the use of urea and other chemical fertilizers the soil and underground water have been contaminated. The subsoil will become poisonous with nitrate contents and result in the extinction of living organisms," he said.
"We should adopt natural farming and not burn stubble or farm residue, or else air will be polluted and it will be difficult even to breathe," he added.
"Many used to poke fun at me saying - 'he doesn't plough the field and sow directly', but my yield was more than theirs with less overhead expenses," he added.
Singh also said that while he does supply jaggery to a few shops, most of his customers buy the produce directly from him.
He also believes that in the next 10 to 20 years, farmers will have to begin diversification, and they might as well do it now so that they can help preserve the environment.
Diversification of crops is critical for small and marginalised farmers, the retired government officer said, adding that they can get better returns if they produce and sell directly to the consumers.
"Small and marginal farmers can diversify in a much better way. If one has one or two acres, they should produce and sell directly instead of going to vegetable markets. They can make groups, jointly take a small place in the city and market directly. They can make home deliveries and sell directly as well," he said.
"If they don't diversify now, they will have to sell their land," Singh warned. (ANI)