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Posted at: May 28, 2018, 1:16 AM; last updated: May 28, 2018, 1:16 AM (IST)

From a marginal farmer to pioneer of cooperative group

From a marginal farmer to pioneer of cooperative group
Gurbinder receives honour from an official of the Agriculture Department in Gurdaspur. Tribune photo

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27

Farming may not be the first choice for a number of youth in the state who cite numerous instances of losses and debt-ridden farmers ending lives, but the story of Gurbinder Singh of Sarchur village, near Fathegarh Churian, has made people, especially those associated with him, believe that determination and hard work is all what a farmer needs to achieve success.

An Army man, Gurbinder Singh Bajwa (45), left his job in 1997 to pursue his dream to be an agriculturist. In the following two decades, he has set himself as a successful farmer and established a cooperative group of farmers.

Around two years ago, he floated a farming cooperative group to pass on the knowledge about organic farming. Farmers from villages of Batala and Quadian are associated with his cooperative.

Initially, he started the cultivation of medicinal plants and weeds by signing a contract with a private company in 2000. He grew ‘safed musli’, ‘sativa’ and ‘anwla’ but was left heartbroken when the firm did not honour the contract.

He did not relent and continued his efforts to market his produce. “I did not give up the idea of farming even after a major financial loss. A UK-based farmer Kewal Singh invited me for partnership at his fields in Noormehal in 2005. He had established a processing unit and I did several experiments with processing and packaging of organic pulses, turmeric, chilly, etc.,” he said.

However, Bajwa had to abandon his dream for three years as he met with an accident while working in fields, sustaining severe leg injury. He feels that the government should have a support system for the accident victims in farming sector. After that, he returned to his native village and started encouraging the farmers to take up organic farming. He started meeting with agriculture officials in Gurdaspur to look for a platform.

“In 2012, I gathered 15 like-minded marginal and medium farmers at a social media group formed by Dr Amrik Singh, Agriculture Officer, Gurdaspur. We shared our ideas and made investment for buying farm implements to form Implement Bank.”

After starting production, processing and marketing of organic pulses, turmeric, chilly and jaggery, the group got registered under name of Young Progressive Farmers’ Producers Organisation in 2015. The group includes Avtar Singh Sandhu, Kuldeep Singh, Palwinder Singh, Gurdial Siingh, Harinder Singh and Dilbagh Singh.

In 2017, the group started organising kisan bazaar in Pathankot and Gurdaspur. They offer organic agro-products every Sunday in these two towns. Bajwa said the group members are happy with the earnings and the operations.

Who Gurbinder is

  • The 45-year-old resident of Sarchur village, near Fathegarh Churian, left his Army job in 1997 to take up agriculture. 
  • He had a contract with a firm for organic products but the latter backed out, making him suffer losses. 
  • In 2015, he established an Implement Bank with other farmers that lends farm tools to others.

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