Bherulal Bheel, a small illiterate farmer from Kathia Kheda village, Railmagra Block, Rajsamand District has always been very ambitious and desired to become a “Forward Farmer”, a farmer who is aligned with the modern agriculture techniques and methods. His interest to learn new improved agriculture techniques always made him a man to be talked about in the village. But limited resources were not allowing him to fulfill his dream.
On the other side, Hindustan Zinc under its community relations program was successfully running a project, “Improved Agriculture-Horticulture and Water Conservation Project", in association with BAIF. When Bherulal came to know about this project, he immediately decided to join the project. Through his learning and knowledge, Bherulal has been able to improve his earnings substantially by 110%.
Deep rural villages today either use age old methods of cultivation and harvesting or are struggling to utilize their barren or waste lands. But with advent of technology and modern techniques of farming the life of such farmers is also changing. Hindustan Zinc and its NGO partner have developed various farm based practices which include improved agriculture techniques, commercial cultivation, organic farming, use of micro nutrients, and remedial measures of local disease in crops. These innovations till now reached to over 5000 farmers in Rajasthan.
Hindustan Zinc, under the “Improved Agriculture-Horticulture and Water Conservation Project" has trained many farmers and taught them the importance of modern agriculture technology and systematic farming. Along with demonstration and exposures, the company has also supported farmers with improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, technical and marketing knowledge.
Similarly, Meera Baksh’s lush green agriculture farm in Khati Kheda village of Bhilwara has his own success story. Meera Baksh has a huge water tank in his house which is connected with his terrace through large pipes that helped him store rain water which he is utilizing to water his plants through the year. Baksh says with smile, ‘Initially, I could hardly produce 10 quintals of crop in a year. Hindustan Zinc has helped me construct this water harvesting system. Now, I am able to save sufficient water during rains and after proper help from the company I am able to do multi-cropping and generate almost 30 – 40 quintals of crops in a year’. One could see a sense of pride and satisfaction of assured livelihood.
Also, Kirtivardhan from village Biliya in Chittorgarh use to apply age old techniques in farming but when Hindustan Zinc introduced him to improved agriculture practices, high yield seeds and build rain water harvesting tank in his farm, his life has changed dramatically. He now has adequate amount of water throughout the year for irrigation along with technical knowledge through training that has given him additional income. His progress and prosperity in vegetable cultivation has motivated other farmers in Chittorgarh to join the “Improved Agriculture-Horticulture and Water Conservation Project".
With continuous improvement and knowledge sharing, farmers are also motivated for orchard development, vegetable cultivation and cash crop cultivation. Hindustan Zinc has also helped farmers in developing Green Houses and Drip Irrigation System for sustainable agriculture cultivation. Canals have been built in the villages, and watershed projects like dry well recharge and construction of ani-cuts have been helping farmers throughout the year.
To further enhance exchange of ideas and techniques, Hindustan Zinc has organized these farmers into small groups. The role of these groups is to regularly share knowledge and expose each other with new innovations.
Hindustan Zinc, while developing the “Improved Agriculture-Horticulture and Water Conservation Project", has the ultimate objective to reduce the risk in farming, maximize the land usage and make farming as much self-sustainable as possible. The margins may be less but important is that now farmers have a 12 months sustainable farming.
Farmers like Bherulal Bheel of Rajasamand, Khemraj Meena of Udaipur, Meera Baksh of Bhilwara, and Kirtivardhan of Chittorgarh have set examples for many farmers in Rajasthan to follow.