Every year many people from rural and hilly areas of the country leave their roots and migrate to big cities. Whether the reason for migrating is education or job, but the purpose remains only that they can give a better life to their family. But at the same time there are many people who are leaving their jobs in metros and joining their roots. Taking care of their traditional farming, they are living a good life. There is a similar story of a farmer from Uttarakhand, who did many different things but finally got success in farming.
Sundar Lal Chamoli and his wife Bigula Chamoli, living in Maid Talla village of Tehri Garhwal, have been doing organic farming in the mountains for more than 20 years. The couple continues to be an inspiration from children to adults in their locality today. Because Sundar Lal and Bigula have given a better life to their family by living in the village and doing their farming. He has given good education to his children.
The Better India Talking to Sunder Lal, 55, said, “We do our farming with organic methods in collaboration with the Agriculture Department. We have learned new ways from the old ways and are earning well by growing different crops. The most satisfying thing is that we are feeding pure and organic products not only to our family but also to all our customers. From fruits and vegetables to paddy, kidney beans and pulses, everything is grown without the use of any chemicals.”
Village returned from Delhi job
Sunder Lal has studied up to 12th standard. Farming was done in the family. But he planned to start business after 12th. He ran his own small hotel for about seven years. But there was not much saving in this and by then the responsibility of children had come on him. So, he had to decide what to do? He told, “Many people from our village had left agriculture and started working in Delhi. I thought that if there is no savings in the hotel, then it is better that I also get a job in Delhi.
He reached Delhi with one of his acquaintances and started a job there in the hotel line itself. For some years he worked in Delhi, but still he was not satisfied. He says, “I used to think that I can earn as much money from farming in the village as I am earning in Delhi. Just a little hard work in farming, but it will be the satisfaction that I am with my family. So in 1998, I made up my mind to leave the job and do farming in the village itself.
Adopting modern methods of farming
Farming in the village was not so easy. The main reason for this was that his family’s land was in different places. Some of his fields were near his house and some were several kilometers away. In such a situation, it was very difficult to manage the farms all over the place. But Sunder Lal did not give up. He talked to the villagers and collected the fields with the help of the people. This benefited not only him, but also other farmers. He told that at present his family has about 50 drain land, out of which some land is around his house. All other land is presently in different places in the village.
Sunder Lal introduced farming through traditional methods. But keep moving forward with the times. Instead of growing just one type of crop, they started growing different types of crops. In addition, he himself prepares organic fertilizers and organic insect repellents for his fields. He started growing such crops in organic farming, from which he can earn good money in less time, such as seasonal vegetables.
Do Organized Farming
Bigula and Sundar Lal tell that throughout the year, different types of vegetables, such as capsicum, beans, onion, garlic, peas, ginger, mustard, potato, tomato, broccoli, radish, cabbage, beetroot, are grown in their fields throughout the year. Seasonal vegetables like bitter gourd and Luffa are planted. Apart from vegetables, he also grows Madua, Paddy, Wheat, and Rajma etc.
Says Bigula, “We grow mostly vegetables on the land near our house. Because they also have to be protected from animals and they need care every day. At the same time, we plant wheat and paddy in the fields we have at other places in the village. Because these are such crops, which neither animals harm nor any villager harvests before we can. But there is a possibility of theft in vegetables.
Apart from cultivating vegetables, he has also planted around 200 trees of fruits like apple, grapes, guava, pomegranate, peach, apricot, lemon, kagji, grapefruit and tangerine in his fields. They are also getting good production from these fruit trees.
Along with farming do many other works
Today Sundar Lal and Bigula, who cultivate more than 20 types of crops, are also doing animal husbandry. He has reared two cows, two buffaloes and one bull in his house. Even today, they use oxen and plough for plowing and sowing the field. Because in the mountains it is not possible to work with big machines of agriculture. That’s why they work in the traditional way only. They feed good fodder to their cattle. This gives them good milk. In addition, from the dung of cows and buffaloes, they also prepare good quality manure for the fields at home.
Sunder Lal says that he also keeps taking help from the Agriculture Department in farming. For example, to protect their crops from diseases, they use only neem oil or other organic insect repellents recommended by agricultural scientists. He said, “Biological insect repellants do not kill pests in one go like chemicals. But organic products are much better for us and for nature than chemicals. That’s why we don’t worry too much even if there is little damage. Because it is part of the environment.”
“Farmer should keep on exploring different markets around”
However, production from his farms has increased over the years. Now he is also using polyhouse. Due to which they are getting good benefit. Talking about marketing, he said, “We sell our products in the local market. We are not just dependent on the market, but we have direct contact with some of the customers. Like many people order us at the very beginning of the harvest that they want 10 to 20 kg of ginger or want some other crop.”
Sunder Lal says that the farmer should always keep searching for different markets around him. As much as possible, try to connect directly with the customers or retailer yourself. Also, he does most of the work himself. He says, “Everyone in the village works together. Like today we helped in harvesting vegetables from our neighbor’s field, tomorrow they will help us. In this way we save a lot of money on daily wages.
Whatever work you do, do not break ties with agriculture
At present, his annual income from farming goes up to about seven lakh rupees. He says that sometimes he earns only five to seven lakh rupees. But more or less goes on in agriculture. So he doesn’t worry much. He is happy that he is providing pure food to his family.
Sunder Lal continues to be an inspiration to all the youth in his area who often come to him for guidance in farming. The only message he gives to all the youth and farmers is, “You do any work but do not break ties with agriculture. Even if you have two to four bighas of land, keep growing something in it. Farming may not make you a millionaire in terms of money, but in today’s time you can definitely feed your family with pure and nutritious food. About 90% of the things in our own house are grown in our own fields. We don’t need to depend on any market. So try to feed your family good things and keep them healthy.
You can contact him through Sunder Lal’s Facebook page.
Editing – G N Jha
Also read: Farming started with Work From Home, now earns four to five lakh rupees annually
If you’ve been inspired by this story, or want to share any of your experiences with us, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter Contact on