From a Correspondent
Tezpur, March 9: Educated unemployed local youths of Da-parbatia, Moichuburi and Rongagora area, around 3 km from Tezpur town, have shown great determition and courage. Diganta Das has been able to set an example in material prosperity and income generation by cultivating broccoli, capsicum, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, strawberry along with some other commercially profitable seasol crops.
Continuing his innovative spirit, Diganta Das, a farmer who last summer pioneered with seasol vegetable cultivation in his farm, has now experimented to cultivate broccoli and in this endeavour, he has the support of his family members - wife Rita Das, mother Ri Das, brother Jayanta Das and his wife Mausumi Das. Even in this new venture, 85-year old father Deben Das has extended tremendous support and in the course of interaction, Deben Das seemed overwhelmed with the positive outcome and said, “It was my dream to do something exceptiol in the field of cultivation and today I am really satisfied to see that the endeavour of cultivating broccoli has somehow come true with the collective efforts of a group of families. They not only appreciated his work but also lend a helping hand at every stage. Diganta Das, my son, has left no stone unturned to bring out a positive result.”
Apart from dealing in broccoli, Das cultivates both Rabi and Sali crops in nearly 25 bighas of land finding adequate ways of income generation. During interaction with this correspondent, Das said, “I have taken loan from Assam Gramin Vikas Bank of Rs 3 lakh for a project where I am planning to do multi-purpose assignments, including farming of livestock apart from cultivating vegetables.
There is a growing trend among farmers to support welfare-friendly and sustaible production in livestock farming, with milk produced by cows that graze in fields, free-range meat and eggs, and organic produce. Animals are provided with more space, outdoor runs with shelter and daylight in their housing. Present-day livestock farming is very well planned - animals are provided with food and shelter and bred selectively. As regards shelter, animals are usually kept in enclosures. Pigs and poultry are reared intensively in indoor environments.
However, indoor animal farming has often been criticized for multiple reasons - on grounds of pollution and for animal welfare reasons. Outdoor farming of livestock stands for rearing animals in bigger enclosures like ranches and fenced pastures. Since the crop was completely grown using organic cultivation practices, other investments were very meager. Like other cultivated products, for broccoli too we did not need marketing at all. About 50 customers approached us on their own just by word of mouth publicity and we sold broccoli over verbal communication as some have been ordering on phone for certain occasions and functions,” Das said.
“I feel that if the government agencies concerned, including the agriculture department, come forward, sustaibility of this venture will be maintained and I have been selling broccoli at Rs. 30 to Rs 40 this time as it has good demand in the market,” said Das. He further stated that in a year he spends about Rs. 64,000 in tilling his land by tractor, purchasing diesel for water pumps, as the cost of production for cultivating different kinds of Rabi crops together with broccoli and earns nearly Rs 2 lakh a year.
The Agriculture Department can do a lot here to encourage the poor farmers who lack even the minimum needs by various farmer-related schemes as the land they occupy for cultivation is fertile. “But these hard-working farmers have never been able to draw the attention of the department concerned till date, because corruption at every level gets more priority than the interest of the farmers. Shortage of seeds and high rates are really a grave concern and in the present market, the rate of seeds of broccoli is upward of Rs. 3,700 per hundred grams. In this regard if the Agricultural Department takes up the initiative for controlling the seed market, the farmers will be benefited a lot,” Das added.