To check the depleting water table and to earn more money, a city-based farmer successfully adopted agricultural diversification route to ultimately win the national honour for conservation of a variety of pear. Bhogpur's Subash Chander Misra was selected for Plant Genome Savior Farmer Recognition 2012.
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority in collaboration with the union agriculture ministry felicitated the farmer, in New Delhi recently.
"He is doing a commendable work of conservation of pear and spreading awareness among farmers about agro-biodiversity and conservation of landraces and farmers' varieties," the citation reads.
Misra was amongst 15 farmers from across the country, who were presented the awards, rewards and recognition certificates for their efforts in the conservation, management and improvement of plant genetic resources, particularly in areas identified as agro-biodiversity hotspots.
Excited at his achievement, he said that he was the first farmer to introduce farming in Max Red Barlett variety of pears, which was a very popular crop in the US.
"The cultivation of this variety is very possible here in local environmental conditions. I have been taking care of this variety of crop, since 30 years after I got the first saplings from Punjab Agriculture University during a fair," he said.
Misra, who has farming operations in over 20 acres, said that one pear tree resulted in production of about two quintals of the fruit.
He added, "My farms produce 300 quintal of mango and pears. I sell pears worth Rs 8 lakh every year. Those growing this variety of pears earns Rs 1 lakh per acre per year," he said.
He has planned his farming operations with consideration to saving of water and promotion of soil health, he said.
"I was also concerned over ground water exploitation. This variety has helped me better production and that too with minimum use ground water," he said.
Mishra added that it was his hard work over 30 years that had made him stand out and make a name for himself throughout the country.
Lajwinder Singh Brar, director, horticulture department, said that Mishra entered into the field of diversification and earned rich dividends.
He used the same piece of land, where his mango plants were grown, to experiment on the new variety of pears.
He learnt the techniques of inter-plantation to sow the pears in between the mango plants and the results were encouraging.
"Mango plants too improved on production count after introduction of pears in the same land," he said.
"Misra is an ideal for the farming community to follow in the current scenario, where wheat-paddy cycle has been playing havoc with income of the peasantry. The water level will also rise, if farmers start using such varieties," he said.