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Farmer’s Unique Model Helps Him Grow Vegetables Over Ponds, Inspires Others

Odisha's Hirod Patel ​​built a unique trellis system over the pond to grow vegetables. Today, his farm has become an experiment lab for other farmers and agricultural scientists.

Farmer’s Unique Model Helps Him Grow Vegetables Over Ponds, Inspires Others

Every day, farmers from far and wide flock to see Hirod Patel’s fields. His innovative approach has proved to be a beacon of success for them as the young farmer from Odisha cultivates vegetables, not on the ground but on the pond!

The 32-year-old farmer has adopted an integrated farming system to cultivate climbers in the sheds and practice pisciculture in farm ponds simultaneously.

Nearly eight years back, Hirod joined his father, Shiva Shankar, who had traditionally been cultivating paddy. Like other Indian farmers, they would often relentlessly toil day and night for meagre returns.

However, Hirod adopted an innovative approach to make agriculture profitable.

Hirod harvested 1,800 pieces last September earning an extra income of Rs 35,000.
Hirod harvested 1,800 pieces last September earning an extra income of Rs 35,000.

In 2019, the Ratanpur village resident dug up four different ponds on his 10-acre farm with the help of the watershed development and soil conservation unit of the agricultural department.

In order to utilise the space efficiently, he first planted big trees such as bananas, guavas, and coconuts around the pond. At the same time, he ​​built a trellis system over the pond to grow climbers, which also eliminated the need for watering the vegetables.

Trellis systems provide a vertical cane support so that the chosen plants are kept off the ground. This improves exposure to sunlight, air movement, and easier spraying access throughout the canopy. Using a trellis system also makes planting easier to manage and harvest. This system is often used in vineyards.

“We had already been growing bitter gourds on the bamboo trellis, so I got the idea to construct a trellis system over the pond. Initially, I planted 120 plants of bottle gourds and harvested 1,800 pieces last September. This earned me Rs 35,000 of extra income,” Hirod tells The Better India.

An electrician by vocation, he has also built a boat for himself to harvest the vegetables, and profits.

Read the story in Hindi here.

Edited by Padmashree Pande. All photos: Hirod Patel.

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