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Posted at: Mar 11, 2018, 1:18 AM; last updated: Mar 11, 2018, 1:18 AM (IST)

Vegetable nursery gains ground for farmers

PK Jaiswar
Vegetable nursery gains ground for farmers
Lucrative venture: A farmer at his nursery in Amritsar. Photo: Vishal Kumar

PK Jaiswar in Amritsar

Given a crisis-like atmosphere in the agricultural sector, growing a couple of crops is not financially rewarding. Though there are various opinions about how to tide over the situation, farm experts have advised famers to take up additional work such as dairy farming, rearing animals or diversifying to organic farming to generate extra income. Setting up a nursery of vegetable saplings, ornamental plants or fruit seedlings can also be a good alternative. This can help the farmers earn extra, and reduce the environment degradation. 

A young farmer from Bhorsi Rajputan village, around 30km from Amritsar, has shown the way. Gurbir Singh ventured into vegetable nursery in 2001 after his father’s death. He started his business from around three acres. He now owns 10-acre agricultural land in his village. He took another seven acres on annual lease for his farm.

The Gobindpura Nursery farm is a hybrid vegetable nursery and provides vegetable seedlings to other states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Gurbir Singh also has to frequent Maharashtra where he deals in seeds under the brand name ‘Onkar.’ 

The farm has an annual turnover of Rs 1.50-2 crore. “Farmers from as far as Bihar visit our farm to buy seedlings,” said Gurbir’s younger brother Gurpreet Singh. The farm provides seedlings of different varieties of chilly, capsicum, brinjal cauliflower, cabbage, onion, tomatoes, bottle guard, bitter gourd and many others. Gurpreet has an advice for his colleagues: that they should not hurry into this; it takes a couple of years before gains are made.

There was a time when Gurbir’s family had to sell a part of his land to tide over financial problems. Gurpreet says he even thought of finding a small-time job after the death of their father. 

Many farmers approach him and his brother for tips. GS Chhinna, deputy director horticulture department, says a good nursery is essential for supplying high-quality and right type of seedlings. “Also, it is easier to maintain a nursery. There are examples of farmers diversifying into vegetable farming for higher incomes,” says Chhinna. 

“Small farmers can earn handsomely every year by venturing into vegetable nursery,” says horticulture development officer of Baba Bakala, Sukhbir Singh.

Josan Nursery located on the main GT road on the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway is not a new name in the plant nursery. The hi-tech ornamental plants and fruit nursery is in the business for decades. A former professor of economics at Khalsa college, Baghel Singh, had left his job and dedicated his entire life to the trade. “Vegetable nurseries have a lot of scope in the region. Though setting up plant nursery is a good option, you need to develop a market for yourself, which many farmers find it difficult,” he said. 

Harmesh Lal’s is another success story. He has set up many outlets in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi. Originally from Hisar, he frequently visits other parts of the state, Punjab and Delhi for his trade. He says farmers like Gurbir should be trained for marketing their produce. Various government departments should emphasize crop diversification, he said.


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