FTB Stories

Highs and lows of a Farmer from Deogarh, Jharkhand

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
in the fields

Wakil Prasad Yadav is a progressive farmer from Deoghar in Jharkhand. He believes in integrated farming and works with flowers, vegetables, horticulture, saplings, seeds. He works with almost every branch of agriculture. He was recently interviewed by Poonam Biswakarma on the FTB platform. 

Flowers of Deogarh

Poonam started by asking him about his flowers business. Wakil replied that Deoghar is known as a religious site in Jharkhand, a large number of devotees come here on pilgrimage, hence flowers are in great demand here and there is a great scope in producing these. Baba Baidyanath Dham has such demand for flowers that we, the locals are never able to match. Hence the focus on growing flowers. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown the market for flowers has gone down but still the marigold flowers fetch Rs. 50-60 per kilograms. The gladiolus flowers fetch Rs. 10-15 per stick, gerbera stick also sells at the same rate. People buy these from us on the spot. There are never any issues with marketing of our flowers, all we need to focus is on production. Flowers can be farmed years on years. Gerbera is farmed in greenhouses too.

Some varieties of flowers are grown in summers, while others grow in the rabi seasons and these provide good income to us the farmers. It does not require much investment in terms of effort to grow flowers and we do not have to worry about diseases. You just start with sowing and regularly irrigate your plants and it is an excellent source of income. He repeats the low investment, low labour costs and excellent available market. All of us flowers farmers in the Deoghar are much better off financially than other farmers. He said we can work on as many varieties as we want but the above listed three varieties are the ones in great demand. The marigold flowers are used in the prayers and hence it is our main product.

flowers in the field

Poonam asked Wakil how long he has been in farming especially farming flowers. He replied that he has been involved with farming for last 5 years. He said few years back most of the flowers were brought here from places like Calcutta. The local farmers thought why don't we grow flowers locally to make some good money. Government officers showed interest in what we were planning and helped us in setting up the new flower farms, which are now a big success, and we are now farming flowers on a grand scale.  

Other activities

When asked about how his brand was known locally, he replied that he is known as "phool waala kisan" (Flower farmer) and anyone interested in flowers in Deoghar is guided to them.

fresh veggies

When asked about his other activities, he said National Horticulture Mission (NHM), directed by government almost 10 years ago, came to set up fruit gardens (orchards) here and still do. In 2008 he planted 200-250 plants with the help of NHM, after proper care he now has 400-500 mango trees. It took me two years to implement my plan successfully, as most of my trees survived and the local district officers having seen me succeed started promoting horticulture in Deogarh. He was shown as an example to the farmers telling them about the scope for horticulture in the district. People came to visit his farm and he told them that he raised these trees on infertile land. This was done to encourage other farmers into horticulture, that if he could succeed so could they. A number of meetings were organized and he went to meet a number of farmers telling them about his farm and activities. He is now very experienced and now knows what problems may arise and how to solve them.

Under the Birsa Munda Horticultural Scheme, horticulture activities have been taken up by local farmers on a large scale. All of their trees have survived and good progress has been made so far. Mangoes in Deoghar are sold at Rs 40-50 per kilograms and that is the base price. The prices go up in times of low production but mangoes are popular here. Those landowners interested in regular and stable income must take up horticulture. 

Support and Multitasking 

Poonam asked him if this is a family business and whether anyone assists him, he replied that he belongs to a 15-member joint family. Apart from his family, he is assisted by labourers. Every year 4-5 labourers assist him regularly in different ways. He produces vermicompost himself, rears goats, works with ducklings. 

Wakil was asked about how he multitasked his time across these different activities. He replied that if you do everything in a proper manner time management will not be an issue. He now mostly guides and provides advice on what is being done in his business. Everybody plays their role well, be it his family members or hired workers, as they too have learnt a lot through experience of regular work. They know what to do and when. He has visited Israel as part of a government initiative. He saw the innovative farming methods and hoped to adapt them in his farm. He earns an income of 5 and a half lakh Rupees per year. 

Problems faced

This year though he has been through some problems. His mangoes have caught disease and some of his harvest has gone to waste. A few days ago, there was a thunderstorm with rainfall which again affected his mangoes. So, he has not been able to produce as many mangoes as he regularly does. 

A Message to other farmers

He said that the farmers of Jharkhand with farming fields, have good avenues through which they can achieve success. Landless farmers can start with poultry farming, mushroom farming. The landowners must not focus on one product, they must try different type of farming activities, as these are related to each other. If you are into dairy farming, you not only get the milk but also cow dung which is an excellent manure. The cow urine can be used to make insecticides. If you are growing vegetables, you can use the veggies waste to produce compost. By working in different types of farming your overall costs will reduce and your profits will increase. There is money to be made in agriculture and government is promoting it through various schemes to meet the demands of the entire population. It was almost a saying that farming is a lost cause or failed transaction but it has proven to be a lie. If you work well, farming is as good as any occupation, any business. To see the video yourself please click here.

Wakil Prasad Yadav

Wakil Prasad Yadav

Deoghar, Jharkhand

Yadav Flower Garden

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