New Technologies Transform lives of Lal Ji Kushwaha

Shri Lal Ji Kushwaha s/o Late Sri Mahesh Kushwaha is a progressive farmer who lives in village Dumahi, Purabpatti, P. O. Dharampur Parwat, Block Dudahi of district Kushinagar, U.P. He is an intermediate pass young man who believes in hard work. His father had a small land holding and also possessed a small shop. He is a laborious and sincere person, who supported his father to run the shop and side-by-side studied and completed intermediate. The shop was not running well and about to be closed so he could not continue his study due to financial crunch. Being elder son of family, parent wanted him to earn money to meet out the family expenditures. He worked as a teacher in a private nursery school for two years but payment was not sufficient to overcome the economic stresses. Then he decided to go outside for a job, and went to Delhi, spent four months to search job but failed to get an appropriate job. He came back to his village and decided to close the shop and help his father to grow vegetables on his small farm land (1 acre). Being a member of Kushwaha family (vegetable growers) he started growing brinjal in his parental land with involvement of all family members (father, mother and younger brother) for livelihood.

In 2005, Shri Lal Ji Kushwaha came in contact to recently established Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, Seed Production Centre, Sargatia, Kushinagar and shown interest to adopt new technologies in vegetable production. In the mean time he got an opportunity of an exposure visit to Indian Institute of Vegetable Research Varanasi through National Horticulture Development Foundation (NHRDF) Deoria. After visiting the IIVR Varanasi, he was impressed to see the new varieties and production technologies of vegetables and wanted to adopt the same at his field. At the same time, Krishi Vigyan Kendra was established in IIVR-SPC campus at sargatia, Kushinagar. He already had a contact with Shri Rajneesh Srivastava, S.M.S. (Horticulture) who at that time looking after the IIVR-SPC, Kushinagar. With the establishment of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Shri Rajneesh Srivastava put a front-line demonstration on cowpea in Zaid 2007 in his field. Lal Ji was impressed to see the overall growth, yield and quality of cowpea pods of the variety Kashi Kanchan. In the next season, considering the overall performance he decided to cultivate cowpea variety Kashi Kanchan in 1.5 acre area. He also took 1.0 acre land on lease and expanded the cultivation of cowpea crop. With these efforts, he got net return of Rs. 61000=00 from the sale of green pod. Another timely suggestion from the S.M.S. was given to produce seeds from the last picking. Following this advice, he produced 250 kg of seeds and sold it at the rate of Rs. 70=00 per kg and earned Rs. 17500=00. To extract more profit, he leased some more land and started cultivation of tissue culture raised banana in 0.3 ha farm land and got a net return of Rs. 1.0 lac.

Lal Ji Kushwaha later made a ‘Machaan’ (a local form of bower made from bamboo and plastic rope) and started growing hybrid (Chaman) bitter gourd in 0.32 ha area and got a return of Rs. 30000=00. On the advice of Shri Rajneesh Srivastava, S.M.S., he started cultivating coriander and ginger beneath the machaan of bitter gourd. As per the advice for early fruiting, he started preparing nursery of bitter gourd in polythene bags under low cost plastic tunnels so that he could make an early planting. Such an advice realised him an early bitter gourd crop and fetched a good return. To double the benefit and utilize the land beneath the machaan he planted ginger in the month of June and later in July he sown coriander. He was amazed with the produce and got returns of Rs. 60000=00 from bitter gourd, 40000=00 from ginger, and 22000=00 from coriander from same piece of land. In this way with the intervention of new technologies from KVK, Sargatia, Kushinagar, he earned a total income of Rs. 1,22,000=00 in one year. With the initial success with horticultural crops, next year (2009-10) he purchased 1.0 acre land and started cultivating ginger with bitter gourd and banana. This was a turning point of his life and he could make handsome money of Rs. 3.0 lacs only from sale of ginger against Rs. 62000=00 total cost of cultivation in 1.0 ha area. In the year 2009, his mother died and his father suffered from numerous health problems. In this critical situation, he single headedly took all the responsibility of the family.

Lal JI always wanted to adopt new technologies and tools in agriculture and he showed interest to grow papaya which was a new crop in his area. He contact to Subject Matter Specialist, Horticulture and get technologies for growing papaya. He procured seed of papaya hybrid "Sinta" in the month of February 2012. He sown seeds in prepare bed and after germination when plant reached two to four leaf stage transferred them in 22 x 10 x 8 cm sized polybag and take care for about two months. In the first week of April he planted papaya in 0.11 ha area, 275 plants with spacing of 2 x 2 m. The total cost of cultivation Rs. 21600=00 and get return of Rs. 100320=00 with the yield of 70.0 q (626 q/ha) with B:C ratio of 4.64:1 in 14 months.

On the basis of earning from agriculture he purchased 1.5 acre land and took 1.0 acre land on lease in last seven years. At present he is cultivating following crops in his field: banana (0.4 ha), papaya (0.11 ha), ginger (0.08 ha), bitter gourd (0.32 ha), coriander (0.08 ha), pointed gourd (0.11 ha) and cowpea (0.15 ha) and also possessed a cow.

Proving that agriculture is still a good source of livelihood, Shri Lal Ji Kushwaha along with his wife Smt. Krishnawati Devi devote much of his time and labour on the field. He says new technologies which he got from KVK, Sargatia, Kushinagar transformed his life. On that basis his two sons are studying in Allahabad, the elder one has completed Intermediate and preparing for engineering and the younger one is studying in high school. Lal Ji Kushwaha happily gives the credit for all his success to the new horticultural production techniques, which he learnt from KVK, Sargatia, Kushinagar and adopted on his farm land. He also got several prize from different organisation and role model farmer of his and nearby villages.