Gurbir Singh from Amritsar, Punjab, started farming on his 2.5 acres of ancestral land. Two decades later, he grows cauliflower, cabbage, tomato and other vegetables, including hybrid chilies on 25 acres of his nursery.
Gurbir Singh from Bhorshi Rajputa village in Amritsar, Punjab, is a marginal farmer cultivating traditional crops. However, he wanted to seek career opportunities outside of agriculture.
However, he was 19-years-old when tragedy struck.
“I was pursuing my graduation in Arts when one day I was told that my father died in a road accident. My family was under debt,” Gurbir begins.
The incident took place in 2000, and being the eldest son among his three siblings, he had to take up the financial responsibilities. “That accident shook my family. I had no option but to quit studies and come back to farming,” the 41-year-old adds.
Fast forward two decades, Gurbir has set an example by taking his success to new heights through his progressive farming techniques. He is a seed seller, which earns him crores.
Learning The Hybrid Way
Sharing his journey, Gurbir says that overcoming his father’s loss, he continued in his footsteps of traditional vegetable farming on the family’s 2.5-acre land.
But he soon stumbled upon the Punjab Agriculture University, which is known for their innovative farming methods. They help farmers in several ways. “I came across one Dr Narinderpal Singh, who was heading the Farm Advisory Service Scheme at the university. There I learned about their hybrid chilli seeds,” he says.
He says that the features of the hybrid varieties of seeds impressed him. “The chillies were less prone to infestation from pests, fungus and other illnesses. They had a longer shelf-life, tasted better, promised improved yield and aesthetic value. They served as a unique blend and were feasible,” he says.
Thereafter, Gurbir mastered the art of producing quality hybrid chillies. “I adopted the cytoplasmic male sterility method, a technique where a hybrid seed is derived from a cross between two genetically different lines that result in the larger plant breeding new varieties,” he explains.
He set up Gobinpura nursery to sell seeds and saplings to farmers along with his traditional farming practices of growing cauliflower, cabbage, tomato and other vegetables.
“Today, I have 18 acres of plantation in the nursery for all vegetables. This gives me a turnover in crores,” he says, adding, “It is years of consistent production and maintaining the quality that has helped increase my income multifold. The farmers recognised the quality of seeds and benefitted from the same. The benefits yielded by the farmers built up my credibility in the market. The farmers also appreciated my honest and sincere efforts in growing quality seeds.”
Gurbir says that his farm has expanded to 25 acres, despite facing multiple challenges during his two-decade-long journey.
“Challenges are a part of any profession. All businesses are accompanied by losses and profits, but everyone has to sail through it. Challenges cannot be dealt with under pressure. Only sheer hard work, sincerity and passion towards farming can help you pull through the tough times,” he says.
In an appeal to the youngsters in villages he says, “Many youngsters are giving up on their farming tradition and migrating to the cities for a better job and income opportunities. But it is agriculture that supports the Indian economy, and we should not give up our faith in farming,” he says.
Edited by Yoshita Rao