GUWAHATI, Oct 23 � For Abdul Halim of Abrabhita village in Goalpara district who bagged the State-level best farmer award-2013-14, agriculture was a means to realize his dreams of an affluent life. The hard work and perseverance of the young farmer who also used to work as a daily-wage labourer finally paid off, as he scripted a success story against heavy odds.
Halim first freed a mortgaged two-bigha plot with his savings as a daily wage-earner and then devoted himself wholeheartedly to agriculture. Starting with cabbage cultivation in 1998, he went on to extend his cropland to 20 bighas by forming a farmers� group and planted diverse crops including high-yielding and hybrid varieties of paddy, pulse, mustard, vegetables and other horticulture crops.
�I got a shallow tube well from the Agriculture Department and adopted modern agricultural technology. Institutional finance from banks also helped me a lot. Now I am into organic farming as well as using my own vermi-compost unit,� Halim who was also honoured recently as one of the country�s 101 �national heroes� in farming by the Union Agriculture Ministry, said. Halim has set up an Emu farm and a fishery besides cultivating onion on a plot of ten hectares under the Chief Minister�s Onion Mission.
Like Halim, it has been a similar story of hard-earned success for Punya Prasad Khound of Rongamati in Sonitpur district and Banamali Choudhury of Kollapara (Mirza) in Kamrup who were recently honoured with the second best and third best State-level farmers awards respectively. A science graduate, Punya started a nursery on a 2.5-bigha plot with orange, litchi, lemon and varieties of flower.
�I started with Rs 60,000, and later expanded the farm to cultivate areca nut, coconut, papaya, guava, etc., besides paddy, mustard and pulse. I am also into fishery and organic farming. Supporting my livelihood apart, I am providing employment to others,� he says.
Banamali was initiated into farming and livestock rearing by his father Prafulla Choudhury. He started cultivation using scientific methods with the help from the Agriculture Department and bank finance. �I have been using high-yielding varieties and also undergone training on multi-purpose farming in 1983. I have a 14-bigha farm with two fisheries and a fruit orchard on one bigha. I also own hybrid cattle, goats, ducks, etc.,� he says.
The three farmers were awarded the prizes comprising a power tiller and a reaper (first prize), power tiller (second prize) and reaper (third prize) respectively at a function in the city on Wednesday. The award takes into account various factors such as broad-based agriculture, integrated farming, double cropping, institutional finance, etc.