Farmer Entrepreneurs

Farmer Entrepreneurs

In the past year, there have been significant interactions between the farmers and women’s self help groups, and the Agriculture Department, Farmers’ Outreach Program and Palampur Agricultural University. These include the distribution of off-season vegetable seeds, polyhouse and medicinal plants, composting and irrigation and exposure visits.

Since 2003 their graph of growth has risen continuously. A small replicable model of a vibrant farmers’ community is evolving around a cluster of several villages near Gajnoi. Farmer’s actions include:
  • Irrigation tanks and channels to support multi-crop farming.
  • Polyhouses to grow seedlings and off seasonal crops.
  • Vermi-compost pits with government subsidies to undertake organic farming.
  • Increased land devoted to vegetables, gradually opting for off season vegetables.
  • Marketing their vegetables in Chamba town, Dalhousie, Noorpur and even Pathankot.
  • Serious planning on a vegetable wholesale roadside market which will escalate their earnings to new levels.

Farmers from Arpana’s groups have had a lot of exposure to new ideas and have open minds to try new practices. They have actively supported the Extension Scientists in charge of the government watershed project which aims to create infrastructure for farmers and promote organic farming, horticulture, vermi-composting and irrigation tanks. They have also been nominated to the working committees. They have stepped forward for vermi-composting, irrigation tanks and new varieties of seeds. Seeing their example, other farmers are also coming forward. 

Present Status of Farmers’ Groups

Particulars Total
Farmers’ groups 24
Farmers’ groups saving regularly 20
Members in farmers’ groups 310
Total savings Rs 559,706
Particulars Total
Cultivated land (bighas) 6,722
Kilos of vegetables grown 734,542
Total income Rs 9,526,895
Total expenditure Rs 356,763
Total net profit  Rs 9,170,132

The new farmers’ groups, formed in the freshly adopted target area, have excellent role models in their peers in the mature farmers’ groups. Arpana facilitators will continue to provide inputs for group meetings and will promote their engagement with the government horticulture and agriculture departments. They will then avail of benefits such as subsidies for irrigation tanks, good quality seeds and exposure visits. 

                                                            Shri Nidia Ram, a member of the farmers’ self help group, Gajnoi, is one of the most progressive farmers of Chamba District. Owing to his competence in growing vegetables, he has recently had a polytunnel sanctioned from the Agricultural Department for off-season vegetables. In addition, he has recently obtained a vermi-compost pit sanctioned and constructed from the Watershed Committee sponsored by the Agricultural Department.

Shri Amar Singh, a member of the farmers’ group in Kakeyada, after saving money obtained from the sale of vegetables, is now running a Kiriyana (Grocery) and Confectionery shop and earning Rs.3000-4000 a month. 

He has realized the benefit of growing vegetables and is now very happy to have a supplementary source of income.

Shri Jai Krishan, a member of the farmers’ group in Kakeyada Village, after saving money he obtained from the sale of vegetables, has brought a hand thresher with which he is earning Rs.10,000 per season.