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Success Story of Rawal Singh

Posted on August 6th, 2014

Rawal Singh is a progressive farmer from village Nathan's in Punjab who took to growing vegetables over 10 acres to supplement his income from rice and wheat.

He cultivates chillies, bitter gourds, brinjals and cabbages in rotation through the year.

He found to his consternation that his risks were rising proportionately as he continued growing vegetables. Pests and diseases appeared to be gaining the upper hand despite his best efforts. He was forced to increase his application of insecticides and fungicides to once every 5 days, an unheard of figure even in this pesticides intensive state. He found his crops were affected by a range of soil borne diseases which extracted a heavy toll and crop stands became thinner as the season progressed. Yields stagnated and his margins were getting squeezed.

There seemed no way out from this cycle increasing pest resistance and spiralling costs. This is when he was paid a visit by our field team and made aware of our STEP System. He could not believe a gentle, nature friendly system could deliver where the toughest pesticides had failed but with nothing to lose, he decided to give it a try over 1 acre of brinjals.

He did not have to wait long, the field with our STEP System had noticeably more vigorous seedlings, larger greener leaves and started flowering before the conventionally raised crop. Rawal Singh was an immediate convert and decided to switch to the STEP System.

His brinjals delivered unprecedented yields of the best quality and he found he was able to sell his produce in the nearby city of Bathinda at a premium. Purchasers made a beeline to buy whenever he brought his produce to the mandi. He was making trips to the mandi more frequently than ever, a chore he was glad to do of course, to sell his produce instead of buying pesticides. He got a record income of Rs 14 lacs from 4 acres of brinjals.

Elated by his success, he decided to stop using pesticides altogether for his chillies and bitter gourds. He was told our system would not harm bees and their pollinating activity would help increase yields even more. He had seen this himself while raising his brinjals. Enterprising to the core, Rawal Singh decided to raise a few hives of this busy little farmer's friend under a shady jamun tree nearby.

His chillies were an eye opener even for us, record breaking in every way. Rawal Singh found he was able to stop using chemical pesticides and relied exclusively on our STEP System. His costs are expected to come down from Rs 25000 per acre to only Rs 12000 for the season.

The crop came to harvest 15 days before his neighbours. The plants while vigorous are flowering much more profusely and to his delight there are almost as many chillies as there are leaves, thanks to his hardworking bees.

His yields are mind boggling, over 3 tons per acre per picking. Frequent rains in July restricted the rounds of harvest to just three. The yields, over 11 tons per acre of the best chillies he has ever seen in the very first month with at least 4 more months of harvesting to go. No wonder Rawal Singh expects a yield 40 tons per acre this time, twice what he got last year.

His bitter gourds are also a source delight, the crocodilian skinned bitter veggies are a source of sweet profits too.

Rawal Singh is a happy and confident young man today. Chilli farmers from different parts of Punjab are looking to him for inspiration.

If it all there is flip side to his success, there may be two. Rawal Singh jokes that his team of pickers gets no rest. No sooner have they progressed to harvest from his first acre to the 4th, the first field is ready for harvest again. Second, his pesticide dealer had lost his regular customer and is worried about more farmers following suit.