Lack of market, low yield dissuades Sangrur farmers from going organic
Amid serious threats to human health and environment due to the use of pesticides and fertilisers, some progressive farmers of Sangrur have chosen to produce organic wheat on one or two acres for their own family. However, they cultivate the rest of their land using popular methods to get more yields for trade with the help of chemicals.
As per district agriculture department, around 15 farmers of Sangrur have adopted organic farming over 50 acres land in the district with different crops such as wheat, paddy, sugarcane and vegetables. The sowing season of wheat has begun in the state.
A commission agent by profession, Sukhwinder Pappi of Duggan village had started organic farming in 2014. He owns 14 acres land where he cultivates wheat, paddy, sugarcane and vegetables.
“We opened a shop to sell organic products last year but there is no proper marketing system for organic crops in Punjab. However, I decided to continue cultivation of wheat without using chemicals on 2 acres of land for my family,” Pappi said.
Similarly, Karamjit Singh, 45, of Bhalwan village has been cultivating organic crops on two and a half acres of his total 5 acres land since 2004.
“Some villagers were suffering from cancer in early 2000s. I wanted to highlight the issue through media but later, I decided to choose a new way to save people from such diseases and started organic farming. I followed directions of the Punjab Agricultural University,” Karamjit said.
“Other farmers earn 20 to 22 quintals wheat yield from one acre land with the use of chemicals but organic farms produce only 15 to 16 quintals per acre. As it is difficult to sell organic products on high prices, I have limited it to my family,” Singh added.
Karamjit Singh along with other farmers has formed a group of 70 people across the state who have started organic farming on their land.
The crops can be certified as organic only after three years as pesticide residues continue to be reported in lab tests. Karmajit and Sukhwinder have also got certificates from the Punjab Agro Industrial Corporation, a nodal agency of the Punjab Government, for promoting organic farming.
“We use Neem, Lassi and turmeric instead of chemical spray,” Karamjit said.
District chief agriculture officer Jaswinderpal Singh Grewal said these progressive farmers have been cultivating organic crops for years and have got certification from concerned authorities.