In this series of farmer scientist we have taken you through some amazing and inspirational stories of people who have developed indigenous and innovative techniques in agriculture without any formal training and have reaped handsome benefits themselves and are helping fellow farmers increase their profits.
Today we have the story of Jai Prakash Singh, a farmer from Varanasi who will be awarded Plant Genome Saviour Farmer reward for his work on high yielding indigenous seeds.
Farmer scientist Jai Prakash Singh has earlier been honoured by two former Indian presidents for developing a treasure of 460 varieties of paddy, 120 of wheat, 30 of pluses (arhar) and 4 of mustard seeds. He will be conferred with the award by the President of India.
He provides cheap seeds to poor farmers in more than 9 states of India. His high yielding seeds are subject of research by various agricultural scientists of the country. His work, which started way back in 1990, won him honours twice, first in 2002 by the former President APJ Abdul Kalam Azad and again in 2009 by the then President Pratibha Patil.
While one of his varieties of wheat seed gives a yield of 79 quintal per hectare, the other paddy seed (HJPW157) gets ready in just 130 days and that too with less quantity of water.
Here is how it all started (as mentioned in an interview by TOI)
“After I failed class X, I would roam without work in the fields. While strolling in the fields, I noticed one particular wheat plant, among the countless grown in the field, was far more healthy and contained more grains. I plucked some such plants and sowed the seeds in the next Rabi season and got similar results.
After the modest beginning, I realised the goal of my life and started collecting these high yielding indigenous seeds which were always there to help our poor farmers but now forgotten by them in front of hybrid seeds available in the market. The GM seeds are ruining poor farmers as they have forgotten to conserve old seeds which was originally used for sowing.”
He uses a mixture of cow-dung, cow-urine along with jaggery, flour (can be of gram or arhar) and water, after mixing all as per the preparation and puts the same in the fields without using any fertiliser or chemical. Yet, the yield is far more than the hybrid seeds.
Image courtesy: http://www.nif.org.in