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The Pros and Cons of Poison-Free Farming

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Balihar Singh

Balihar Singh is owner of the brand Barkat Agrotech. He is a progressive farmer who told us about the products that are different from what other farmers are providing and he has been an inspiration for other farmers.  He introduced himself as a resident of Nawanshahr district in Punjab.  He is a farmer by tradition and in 2012 decided to start with poison-free farming. 

What is Poison-Free Farming

Balihar felt the need for poison-free farming after seeing people around him fall sick. Even some of his family members were sick due to this adulterated food. He was suffering from sugar and so was his mother and he decided to act. He started on a small level of 5 acres and slowly increased his farming area. The chemicals have polluted our food. He requested small landholders to farm through chemical free methods, to start small and grow as you learn. Once your chemical free experiments are successful you can expand to rest of your farm. You can start with grains, vegetables, fruits, salad items plants and expand slowly. As time goes by you will have the right atmosphere, people will learn about you and customers will come to know about what you have to offer.

Through his Barkat Agrotech he sells vegetables grown over 1 and a half acres. He grows ladyfingers, brinjal, tomatoes, capsicums, chilies, gourd, pumpkin, bitter gourd, cucumbers, coriander and spinach. All these are his farm products and buyers can take these directly from his farm. They get absolutely fresh veggies and they can pick and choose what they like. 

The Farm

Balihar  has been a moringa farmer for last 7 years. He has planted these along his farm and has 70 plants in total. Its leaves and drumsticks are in great demand. Mostly customers come and collect directly but, in some cases, he delivers through courier or speed post after receiving the amount in his account. He has wheat (kanak) farms and as you have seen he is also into horticulture. With time you will gain experience and confidence and make money. What makes him the happiest is that his produce is free of the deadly poisonous chemicals. 

Look after your health

Today everything is branded, be it clothes, shoes, vehicles, everything of status is branded. The money you earn is spent quickly, you spend thousands on small parties and worry about small kitchen expenses. Our body is like a machine, which needs its fuel the food. The better you look after your machine, the body through food, the better it will work.   

With time and through education awareness about modern amenities is among all of us. If your vehicle breaks down you take it to the garage, show it to the mechanics, you buy expensive smartphones, you buy good filters, but you don't look after your food. There is no way to replace your body parts, you must look after your body.

Barkat Agrotech

Money and Training

With agriculture he is able to earn a reasonable living which allows him to maintain good living standards. The customers who buy from us are satisfied and happy and so are we. He is trying to diversify, as he has done with moringa and he is working towards food processing, by supplying grinded spices (masalas) such as dhaniya powder, methi powder.      

He attends training sessions from time to time. Some training he receives from government institutions like KVKs, ATMA director Dr Kamaldeep Singh guides and helps him in professional matters. He also gets training from Private institutions as per his requirements. 

Pros and Cons of Poison-Free Farming

In terms of poison (chemicals) free farming he uses bio products. He said the main work in this type of farming is working with the soil. You will need organic manure, bacterias are added to the soil for its health. You will apply fungicides to make sure that the soil can fight the disease causing germs and other factors on its own. It will keep the plants healthy and we will get healthy veggies and fruits with good productivity

You may need to use pesticides and insecticides, but it’s better to use organic versions of these like Jeev Amrit. He also uses waste decomposer. He recommends organic farming to the farmers as they must look after the health of their family members. As demand of your products increases you can expand your farming activities. 

With organic or natural farming, the issue is labour costs - for instance to work on a kanal you will need 2 labourers for harvesting and it will take some time to complete the tasks and 4-5 thousand Rupees have to be spent on this task. On the other hand, with chemicals, you don't have to spend this kind of money and you get the final products at cheap rates. With chemical farming you don't need to spend on manure for once, secondly you don't have to invest much on chopping up weeds.

The product that a farmer farming with chemicals will sell at a certain rate to traders and these traders earn commission from what they sell by adding to this price. You can buy organic products from his farm at reasonable rates. So small farmers can use his model for selling their products i.e. farm to the dining table. He says marketing is always an issue as whether your product is chemicals based, organic or natural, you will get the same price for your products at the mandi. Hence you will need to find a market that appreciates what you do.   

People who need our products come to our farm and whatever is left we try to bring to our use. Some of the products they are not able to sell, are grinded into masalas or processed with the help of recipes. 

A Final Message

Balihar said he has been repeating comments all through the video which is that the nature (earth, water, air) is our parents, teacher. There is awareness and people have knowledge and information but they never follow them. It is very important to follow the instructions. He repeats that look after your body and its health. He said there are lots of farmers here, some big landholders and some small, and you can become a farmer too. He repeats that just start on a small scale with veggies and fruits, and this will be a good source of income. He said that's all he wanted to say and wishes us goodbye. Please click here to see the video.

Balihar Singh

Balihar Singh

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Punjab

Barkat Agrotech

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