Guddi Singh is a farmer in Madhya Pradesh who graduated from the school of hard knocks with top grades.
Two years ago she began finding it tough to earn a living out of farming. Crops in her farm at Mohtara village in Sahdol district failed.
Adversity sowed the seeds of ingenuity. She stumbled upon the idea of using azolla, a fern that acts as bio-fertiliser, to increase productivity of land and also use as cattle feed.
Sceptical villagers said no as it went against the grain of traditional farming rules. Undeterred, Guddi convinced other women in the village to help spread azolla at night.
Villagers came around after they found the fern had increased their paddy crop yield and reduced the cost of feeding their livestock. Besides, azolla lowered expenditure on pesticides and fertilisers.
Guddi is among the nine enterprising farmers selected by the an NGO, Search and Research Development Society, for working to make farming financially viable.
Guddi, who is now a role model of sorts in her village, said, “I didn’t discover any new idea. In MP, most of the farmers face difficulty as they don’t have much knowledge. Just using azolla has changed the life of many in my village.”
The farmers, who are being felicitated on Friday, were zeroed in for also developing new varieties of crops, fruits and vegetables to improve their yield.
Rajkumar Rathore of Jamunia village in Sehore district, turned his farm into an agriculture lab – conducting experiments to develop new varieties of pulses.
He discovered four new varieties of arhar pulses that helped him double the yield from his farm. He has even acquired a patent for the variety he developed.
Rathore said, “In the era of skyrocketing prices of lentils, this species of arhar will provide relief to farmers. Now farmers from across the country are adopting my species”.