Ludhiana | This farmer from Rajewal is leading the way in sustainable agriculture

While many others continue to stick to centuries-old farming practices that are harmful to the environment, Baldev Singh, 44, a progressive farmer from Rajewal village, is setting an example by embracing new sustainable ways of farming and also reaping rich dividends.

He successfully cultivates paddy through the direct seeding rice (DSR) method and incorporates paddy residues to grow potatoes and wheat.

“A few years ago I was also setting fire to the paddy residues and spending thousands of dollars on pesticides and on tractor maintenance as they developed snags while plowing the waterlogged field to sow rice,” Singh said.

“But a major concern was the smoke emitted from the field. Due to the delay in the harvesting period, the smoke and burnt residues caused respiratory problems for my parents and children. So in 2017, my brother and I decided to avoid burning the stubble. We are also motivating other farmers in my home village not to set fire to the field,” he said.

The decision not to burn the stubble turned out to be a godsend. With the help of the agriculture department, Singh began incorporating the rice residue into the soil. He said that over the years the health of the soil has also started to improve. The initiative has lowered farm expenses, he said.

“I sowed paddy with the DRS method in mid-June and by September 12 my crop was ready for harvest. As the majority of farmers’ paddy crop was damaged due to the rain on September 23, I was preparing my field for the next harvest at that time. I used a rotavator and a plow to sow potatoes the last week of September. The crop will be ready by November and I will sow wheat using a happy seeder,” Singh said.

Samrala Agriculture Officer Sandeep Singh said these farmers are setting an example for others. Singh has not only put an end to the nuisance of setting fire to the field, but also saves water by sowing short-lived paddy varieties through DSR method, he said.