When farmer Surinder Singh Randhawa thought of growing ‘rajmah’ (kidney beans), everyone thought that he was insane and experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) dissuaded him from doing so as the climatic and soil conditions of Punjab were not conducive for the crop.
However, he ignored their advice and in February last, he went ahead and sowed kidney beans in seven acres at Manawala and in another eight acre at Sheikh Bhatti village. He purchased kidney beans from a local store in Amritsar and went home and sowed it.
When the crop was harvested in May last he got a yield of around eight quintals from an acre and sold it in the local market at a cost of Rs 70-Rs 90 per kg. “The crop gave me more money than wheat,” he told HT.
Randhawa is a vegetable grower and he often sows wheat in January after harvesting potato crop. He kept the rajmah experiment a closely guarded secret last year. This time, he approached PAU experts, who did not encourage him. An encouraging voice came from chief agriculture officer (CAO) Balwinder Singh Chhina and from Gurdip Singh, the CAO’s junior officer.
This year, in the last week of January, Randhawa again sowed rajmah and he increased the acreage. The crop is ready for harvesting next month and this time he is expecting a yield of 10 quintals per acre. “Though the crop suffered some damage due to untimely rain,” he added.
“I hope to save around Rs 40,000-Rs 50,000 from an acre from this crop, which I would not have in the case of wheat. I will get a rate of Rs 80-Rs 90 per kg in the market.”
When Punjab agriculture director MS Sandhu was informed that the state had a rajmah grower, he visited Manawala on Sunday to see the crop and so did a PAU team. Sandhu confirmed that Randhawa was the first successful farmer in Punjab who grew rajmah at this level.