[This article appeared on page 4 in the June 29, 2004 issue of the Times of India newspaper.]
Pathankot: Farmers with small land holdings are taking to vermicompost in a big way.
With the help of Agriculture Technology Management Agency at Gurdaspur, 93 farmers have adopted vermiculture while 70 more have listed for training to launch their own units in the current year.
Some of them are taking the help of the agency to sell the vermicompost to horticulturists and other needy farmers to augment their income.
Baldev Singh, a farmer of Taragarh village who took to vermicompost with three units made with the agency’s aid, told Times News Network that though he has only two acres of land, the use of vermicompost has increased his wheat input considerably. He now has eight vermicompost units. “With an increasing demand from private firms and horticulturists, I am earning good money,” he said.
While Baldev Singh’s yield of 22 quintal per acre after use of vermicompost seemed ‘incredible,’ agency project director GS Niijer told Times News Network that the increase in farm output per acre was possible.
The project director said that the Kandi area of Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur is unspoiled due to fertilizers use and could be ideal for organic farming. “As the market opens up and demand for organic food increases, Punjab farmers can certainly fetch a good price for their products,” said Niijer. “Vermicompost is a step towards organic farming and with [a] large number of farmers taking to it, farmers in Gurdaspur will soon catch up with organic farming,” he said. However, the government is yet to wake up to establish some mechanism for certification of their produce.