Ayurvedic doctor takes self-initiative to help farmers switch to chemical free farming
200 members meet every month to discuss new and existing methods to improve the crop productivity and safeguard the fields from pest attack. Farmers neither pay any membership fees nor are bounded by any rules and regulations. Only prerequisite is they must be doing organic farming! “We do not entertain farmers practicing chemical farming as they are doing well in their farm and they do not want our help,” says Dr. Amrit Pal Singh, Founder, Punjab Organic Farmers Club. “In 2012, Prince Charles visited my farm and was elated to see our work!”
Punjab Organic Farmers Club is a social club set up in the year 2010. Located at Ludhiana, the club is open to all the farmers in Punjab state. Seminar and training sessions on organic farming are the main focus of the club. If the customers have any special requirement with respect to vegetables and herbs club members try to fulfill the same.
“I belong to an agricultural based family. After doing graduation in ayurvedic medicine and surgery (BAMS) I started practicing. However seeing the markets flooded with foodstuff having high chemical residue I felt the urge to help people genuinely not with my ayurvedic treatment and medicine but with real food,” shares Dr. Amrit Pal Singh speaking on taking up farming. He grows vegetables at his farm using natural farming inputs. He received good response from the buyers and demand was growing. Dr. Singh realized he alone cannot fulfill the requirements of the general public and required support and sincere commitment of other farmers to produce chemical free food. Hence this laid the foundation of Punjab Organic Farmers Club.
Years of chemical use deteriorates the soil enormously therefore to resume the soil fertility needs immediate attention. To achieve the same, “We recommend farmers to use cow based farming inputs such as jeevamrutha and panchagavya. Members are taught to prepare these products so that they are independent,” he avers. “We also promote vermicompost and provide production training too.” Members are given all possible assistance to facilitate farming without any charges be it technical issues with tractors or measures to improve crop production.
“Our soil is good! It needs to be revived. We grow turmeric, vegetables like potato and tomato etc. Now we are even trying our hands on exotic vegetables,” he asserts. “We sell the farm produce collectively. I have developed a selling outlet on my farm where buyers have easy access to healthy foodstuff. The initiative was taken to attract more buyers and also create awareness on our farming process.” Sometime during some events customers are even allowed to pluck veggies directly from the plants as well. Grains such as wheat and maize are also sold at the outlet. “Selling is not tough when quality is assured.”
When asked if any farmer resumes chemical farming for some reasons, Dr. Singh promptly replies, “Then he is not eligible to be part of the club for next three years. Only after he starts with 100% organic farming he joins back.”
Dr. Singh wants more farmers to be part of the club and seeks a partner to run the club in a profession way. “Our job is to make farmers believe that leaving chemical fertilizer not only saves money but survival without it is very much possible. Change is taking place! It is evident from the figures, in Punjab initially there was not even 1 acre of chemical free farm but now we have around 3000 acre organic farms. And the numbers are growing!” he concludes on a positive note.
Punjab Organic Farmers Club
H No-161, Sukhdev Nagar, Jamalpur Colony Ludhiana HO, Ludhiana – 141001