Manmohan Singh, a retired army officer-turned-farmer popularly know as 'Major Sahib', has once again done the city and the district proud as President Pranab Mukherjee presented to him with Prof NG Ranga Farmer Award for his success in diversification in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The award instituted by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) was presented on the 85th anniversary of ICAR.The award included a citation and a cheque of Rs. one lakh.
The citation mentioned that Maj Singh pioneered the cultivation of kinnows by adopting his own cultivation pattern, involving planting of kinnow trees 20 feet by 10 feet apart instead of the traditional 20 ft by 20 ft.
The citation also mentioned his inter-cropping technique of cultivating sugarcane and turmeric in poplar forestry. It stated that the single bud technique he adopted in sugarcane sowing gave a healthy yield and involved sowing just 5-7 kg sugarcane seed as against 35 quintal per acre through the traditional method.
In February, Maj Singh had received the 'Krishak Samrat Samman' from union minister of state for agriculture and cooperation, Tanvir Ahmed. He was chosen for the award from north zone.
Maj Singh has a 17-acre orchard of kinnows at Phriwara village near Ajnala where he has jettisoned established stereotyped norms and adopted sustainable and innovative farming technologies.His innovative approach has made a positive impact on the agricultural community.
The net result of this approach was that he harvested a yield of 2,400 kg kinnows from an acre this season.The sunlight made available to the inner side of the plant resulted in healthier and bigger fruit while ensuring longer life of the orchards.
"I am happy that my services towards the farming community has been noticed. Farming is a hobby for me and I like to take risks in experimenting with the new methods of cultivation," Maj Singh told HT here on Wednesday as he proudly showed the citation given by the President.
Generally, it was thought that the kinnow is a crop of Hoshiarpur and Ferozepur districts or could be grown in other parts of the Malwa belt.But the ex-serviceman has proved that the fruit can also be grown in the Majha area. Besides kinnow, the Major is into litchi, pear and plum cultivation and has taken land on contract to pursue his agricultural dreams.
His earlier awards include Award of Honour in 2009 by Bharat Krishak Samaj, the Chief Minister's award for horticulture by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the Punjab state award for horticulture.
He also won the Innovative Farmers Award in 2012 from the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan, in Himachal Pradesh and the Global Agricultural Connect--2012 award.
Now after the latest award from the President, one can't help but ask, "What next, Major Sahib?"