App-based Jharkhand farmer-couple making waves in automated irrigation
Inspired by their remote farming, NABARD and IFFCO Kisan take them on board
Vinod says that along with this, he went in for cultivation of cucumber, bitter gourd, nanua, chilli and tomato based on the season. Last year, the production was to the tune of 150 quintals of cucumber, 100 quintals of bitter gourd and 100 quintals of nanua. The visionary in him saw him float Farmers Producers Organization (FPO) involving local farmers
A couple from Jharkhand's Hazaribag district has emerged as the role-model for farming operations, which they took to after quitting their respective well-paying jobs. Their success journey makes for an inspiring success story.
Vinod Kumar was a bank manager, while his wife Radhika worked in a multinational corporate company in Pune. A decision to change their livelihood has augured so well for them that it caught the eye of institutions like NABARD and IFFCO Kisan.
They selected the couple for the pilot project of Automated Irrigation System in Jharkhand. With this they earned the distinction of the only farmers in the state, who could irrigate crops in their fields even while sitting far away through the mobile app.
Bumper crops ranging from watermelon, cucumber, bitter gourd to nanua are being grown in their fields. Hundreds of tonnes of vegetables grown by them are reaching other states as also Bangladesh.
In 2020, when uncertainties were haunting everyone's mind and heart during the Covid-19 crisis, these two were busy in multinational jobs in Pune, hundreds of kilometers away from their home. It was not an easy decision for the couple to leave everything in a jiffy and swear by their roots. What kept them going was the gut-feeling that there was life in the village too.
"If we do something here, we may earn less, or perhaps more, but the happiness and peace we will get in comparison to that will be invaluable," they point out in unison on the biggest professional gamble of the life.
It was worth the shift as in just two-and-a-half years, the couple has set an example that is worthy of emulation.
Vinod's village is in Harhad under Churchu block of Hazaribagh district. He decided to try his hand at farming with new techniques. He did not have enough land in the village for farming. So, he took 18 acres of land on a 10-year lease in Darhwa and Kusumdih of Rabodh village, which was presumed barren as it remained fallow for seven to eight months in a year.
After some research and discussion with agricultural scientists, he started watermelon cultivation here. Adopting drip method for irrigation, in the very first year in 2021, he grew 150 tonnes of watermelon. In the second year, the production touched 210 tonnes fetching a business turnover of Rs 10 lakh. Vinod says that along with this, he went in for cultivation of cucumber, bitter gourd, nanua, chilli and tomato based on the season. Last year, the production was to the tune of 150 quintals of cucumber, 100 quintals of bitter gourd and 100 quintals of nanua. The visionary in him saw him float Farmers Producers Organization (FPO) involving local farmers.
Vinod is the CEO of FPO- Dadi United Rural Producer Company Ltd. Through this, crops are being sold on the digital platform at reasonable prices. Buyers are coming from all over West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Bangladesh.
NABARD and IFFCO Kisan's automated irrigation system pilot project is a mobile app based on sensor and digital technology, through which it is possible to irrigate crops away from the fields.
In this system, a tower is installed in the farm, which gives mobile command signal to the irrigation machines in the farm. Information about the moisture content in the soil is obtained from the plant, based on which one can irrigate from anywhere through one's mobile operated app. Information about all the parameters, including moisture in crop leaves, ground temperature, wind speed and weather is available on this app.
Vinod is currently using this technique on five acres of land. He has divided his five acres of land into four parts and irrigates 1.25 acres at a time through the app. After its success, other farmers from the state will also be able to use this technique.