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This farmer bats for innovation, diversity to keep whitefly at bay in Jalandhar

punjab Updated: Oct 07, 2016 13:39 IST
Pawan Preet
Pawan Preet
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Progressive farmer Avtar Singh showing blooming buds of cotton in his farm at Virk village near Phagwara on Thursday. (HT Photo)

Education helps even if you end up doing farming. Avtar Singh, 57, a postgraduate in chemistry, has emerged out to be a ‘trendsetter’ in pursuing organic farming and adopting innovative measures to make agriculture profitable.

“Solution to the farming crisis lies in the concept of ‘forest biodiversity’ that can also be coined as diversification. We must adopt such a mechanism for farming that suited regional flora and fauna,” he says.

Standing tall in his blooming cotton field embedded with sugarcane at Virk village on Delhi-Amritsar highway, this progressive farmer was praised by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Dr Gurdev Singh Khush (world food prize winner) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon, among others, for all what he does. “Our concept of farming is based on judicious management of natural elements (air, water, earth and sky) available to us for free,” said Singh.

Read | Cotton bounty: White gold shines in Punjab’s Malwa region, farmers happy

Singh’s cotton fields are the cynosure of all eyes as the crop was almost abolished from the map of Doaba region. He has been growing it from last two years in five hectares and there is no sign of ‘whitefly’ anywhere around it. He had claimed to take more than 15 quintals per acre last year successfully, much more than the official estimate.

He also sows much fewer seeds per hectare as compared to conventional practices. Avtar is planning to enhance the cotton experiment to 20 hectares in the next season. He used to sow 1,250 cane buds in one hectare and taking upto 700 quintals yield from it. It only needs one hour irrigation daily by this technique he adopted thus saves water and power.

Labourers picking organically-produced bringals at Virk village near Phagwara on Thursday. (HT Photo)

Pursuing the multi-crop pattern in a single hectare, he has been growing maize, sugarcane, pulses, eggplant and vegetables in 70 acres untidily and mulling profits.

In this technique, he has generalised the rules for all crops. Avtar has prepared 50 soil beds in one acre with sufficient distance maintained to provide plants enough exposure to sunlight.

“Once tilled, it will only need the same after one-and-half year,” said Avtar Singh.

Moreover, Avtar has successfully adopted a water-saving approach for irrigation as he argues that plants only need moisture, not excess liquid as moisture serves as an elixir. He has taken proved results through it.

Agriculture officer Naresh Gulati said that Avtar’s approach can help revive rural economies as it would save seeds, labour, water and time.

“Farmers across north India often visited us and many successfully adopted the technique,” Singh said. He also invited state farmers to take a demo of the technique. He has also prepared a video presentation of this technique and distributes it to the farmers for free.