His magic fields yield almost everything
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service


For the last few decades Mahinder Singh Dosanjh and his family have not bought any edible product from the market. He and his family have been cultivating almost every cereal, vegetable, fruit, pulses, medicinal herbs, condiments and oilseed crops in their six-acre farm, which does not only suffice their own needs but also yields enough of produce to be sold in the market.

The list of crops and trees grown at his farm at Jagatpur village, near Mukandpur, here is endless. In a very compact manner, he has been growing all pulses, beans, wheat, maize, rice, sugarcane, sunflower, fruits, including grapes, grapefruit, litchi, chicku, apricot, papaya, pomegranate, pear, strawberry, jamun and lemon, vegetables like chilly, brinjal, tomato, potato, cucumber, gourds, garlic and onion, medicinal herbs like asparagus, ashwagandha, tulsi, safed musli, amla, baher and harar, condiments like turmeric, cardamom and lemon grass, and ornamental plants like gladiolus, lily, gerbera, ferns, cactus, Indian roses and paper rose.

Not just that, Dosanjh has also been cultivating plants that are giving rich dividends, including stevia, a sweet-leaf plant recommended for diabetic patients, and jatropha that produces bio-diesel. Of late, he has also acquired a contract to cultivate baby corn, which will be bought by some private companies.

Setting a perfect example of diversification, the progressive farmer has been following the farm practices in a scientific manner.

He has been travelling across India and even abroad to buy the best quality seeds and learn technical knowhow to earn more profit. For the same reason, scientists from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have been often bringing their foreign dignitaries to his fields to demonstrate them an ideal crop pattern.

Though he has not even done his schooling, he has been a recipient of over 500 prizes in the field of agriculture, including a Chief Minister’s prize he received last year at PAU. Dosanjh has even helped the university authorities in spreading a word against early sowing of paddy and burning of wheat stubble.

“Instead, we can use the same straw for covering the soil in which we grow sugarcane, turmeric and gladiolus. We will be saving on weedicides and water while ensuring that the organic content of the soil improves and farmer-friendly organisms are not harmed,” he says.

Educating other farmers to follow the same pattern, he has convinced them to join hands with him for adopting various packaging and self-marketing schemes.

The farmers in the area have clubbed together for selling seeds and promoting “apni mandi.” Even the women folk in the village and around have been roped in to make pickles, jams and other processed items to be sold in the market.

Dosanjh gives a key to his success, “We do not even let a single piece of fruit that falls down go waste, for the women collect these to make various recipes of chuttnies and other products. Whenever we have an excess of produce, we even hire daily wagers and ask them to sell vegetables around the village.”