Farmers always trying to increase their yield and income from crops they raise. Whatever crop they might cultivate, the bottom line is to invariably get a good price from their produce. Farmers can increase their income either by intensifying the existing enterprises or can move towards diversification (by growing new crops), value addition or successful market linkages to improve their economic level. A good example is provided by S. Gurwinder Singh Sohi, a 39 years old farmer of Village Nanowal District Fatehgarh Sahib, who was previously cultivating wheat and paddy on his nine acres of land. Now he has diversified from the traditional crops to floriculture and doing farming for economic stability.Gurwinder has cultivated on 22 acres- nine of his own and thirteen on lease. Out of 22 acres he grows gladiolus on over 12 acres, both for flowers and bulbs and 05 acres area under marigold cultivation. Since it is grown in September-October and harvested in January- March for flowers and till April for the bulbs, unlike the two-crop cycle of wheat and paddy, the same land gives him income round the year as two more crops can be grown in the remaining time. The sticks sell for up to Rs 7 each in the wedding season, though the average is Rs. 3.
After gladiolas, be grows pulses and then paddy, mainly basmati varieties. Marigold can be grown on 3 acres both in summer and winter. On the remaining land on lease, he grow wheat, maize, basmati, moong, maah, sugarcane, rajmaah and cattle fodder. This way he earns round the year. He adopted the latest technologies like showing wheat with happy seeder and sowing of direct seeded basmati. He spares one acre of his land for organic farming too, rewarding than wheat and paddy that bring just Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 40,000 an acre, respectively: after deducting land lease and labour and other input cost, we are left with just half of this amount as profit,’’ he adds. While pulses grow fast and fetch Rs 22,000 per acre.Success has not come easy to Gurwinder who tried his hands at many trades. After completing school, he could not clear the Joint entrance test (JET) for engineering but refused to join the family business of wheat-paddy cultivation. In 2008, he learnt that Punjab Horticulture Department was giving subsidy on Holland gladiolas seeds. He started with growing it on two kanals and found it profitable. He kept adding acres under the Holland gladiolus that gives better quality flowers and bulbs and sells at a higher price than the local variety, Sylvia.
His start-up is now flourishing firm, RTS Flowers, that transports flowers to dealers in nearby Chandigarh, Sanghol, Ludhiana and Patiala. Although Gurwinder did not pursue his graduation, he has proven himself at marketing his gladiolas. He reaps a future from every acre of gladiolus he grows. The seeds of gladiolus variety are a one-time investment of Rs 1.6 lakh a year an acre and the glad sticks feteh him another rs 2 lakh an acre. The marigold too brings Rs. 1.25 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh per acre in each season. Gurwinder Singh said ‘’ The returns are far more bulbs across the country through his fir’s Facebook page and trade websites such as Indiamart and Justdial. He actively participated in the various flower shows and training programmes organized by PAU and various State Departments. He received first prize in Flower Show organized by PAU during 2013. He also got various awards at state level and district level. He actively participated in conducting various training camps of Krishi Vigyan Kendra and State Horticulture Department at his farm to motivate other farmers. Recently he received Sardarni Parkash Kaur Saran award at Kisan Mela (March 23-24, 2018) from honourable Governor Punjab V.P. Singh Badnaur at PAU Ludhiana and national level ‘ Innovative Farmer Award’ from Central Minister Purshotam Rupala at IARI, Pusa, New Delhi. S. Sohi is very innovative and he set up a Friend’s Farmers’ welfare Club along with his 12 friends of the same village. They purchase common machinery with the collection of money from the members of club.
Now, they have rotavator, power sprayer, seed drill, ridger etc. and these machineries can only used by the members of club. Besides gladiolus, to cash in on the organic food boom, the club members are growing organic turmeric, pulses, maize and basmati.but since the profits in the organic food industry are pocketed by big food stores, the club has started marketing the produce directly to customers by creating WhatsApp groups!
They started directly selling organic pulses and vegetables to over 30 homes in Mohali via Whatsapp. To take farm-fresh food to many more homes, they would soon start their own web portal. A kilogram of organic dal they sell at Rs. 100 is sold at selling their produce by setting up their stalls in Kisan Mandis of Chandigarh. Gurwinder Singh is now a member of number organizations like PAU Kisan Club, Sohi Sports and Youth Welfare Club Nanowal (Regd.), Atma committee Khamano etc. He is also president of Friend’s Farmer’ Welfare Club, President Akal Farmer’s Producer Company (Regd.) and PAU Flower Grower Association.
The entire family is supporting him in his farming activities. S. Gurdeep Singh father of Gurwinder Singh undertake the alternative enterprises dairy and other agricultural related works. With the guidance of Krishi Vigyan Kendra and the financial help of NABARD they registered the company with the name of Akal Farmer’s Producer Company(Regd.) Now they stared selling 20 kinds of products like rice, Moong, Maah, rajmaah, honey, mustard oil, rose sharbat, haldi, mirch, flour, tea etc under the name of this company. They started home delivery of these products in the Mohali and Chandigarh. They also to improve his learning experience and to adopt other technologies Gurwinder Singh is keenly interested to visit various places for better exposure. In his exposure visit, he visited Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Solan HP. IIHR Bangalore, Institute of Horticulture Technology Great Noida, Pusa University etc. For this young entrepreneur who has returned to his fields, sky is now the limit.