| Sanjeev Kumar (left) receives the Udyan Ratan Award in Dehradun. Telegraph picture |
Patna, June 2: A Bihar farmer has brought laurels to the state by winning the Udyan Ratan Award, 2011, at a function recently held in Dehradun.
The farmer, Sanjeev Kumar, hails from Vaishali district of the state. He was among the 25 farmers from across the country selected for the award. Kumar was rewarded for his extraordinary performance in producing cauliflower seeds.
Lieutenant Amit Singh Memorial Foundation (LASMF) instituted the Udyan Ratan Award. A charitable trust established in 2001, its aim is to promote better education, healthcare and economic development in the country.
Uttarakhand agriculture minister T.S. Rawat gave the award to Kumar in a function. The deputy director-general of Indian Council of Agriculture Research was also present.
In addition to the Udyan Ratan Award, Kumar won the farmers’ quiz competition organised jointly by LASMF, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, and GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, during the course of the event.
Hailing from Chakwara village of Vaishali, around 25km north of Patna, Kumar started his work to develop improved variety of cauliflower seeds in 2005. Within six years, he started supplying seeds to many states of the country, including Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa. His business turnover is around Rs 5 lakh per year.
Having studied up to Class XII, Kumar has inspired several youths of his area to take up cauliflower seed production. At present, around 25 members of his club — Annadata Farmer Club — are in the same business.
“The idea of taking up this work struck me when I found that the efforts of my father were not giving the desired results and local farmers had started shifting to other varieties of seeds of different companies,” Kumar told The Telegraph.
The young farmer (30) moved very methodically. He first attended a special training programme at Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), Varanasi, before embarking upon his mission to produce quality seeds.
“The training helped me a lot as it allowed me to identify the points following which I went on to improve the seed quality and achieved the desired goal,” he said.
Sharing some of his success mantras, the farmer from Chakwara said replacing chemical fertiliser with an organic one and using the technique of integrated pest management helped a lot in improving the productivity as well as the quality of the product.
Sanjeev won several awards earlier also. IIVR, Varanasi, conferred the Rashtriya Rajat Puraskar on him in 2009 and Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Delhi, selected him for the prestigious Progressive Farmer Award in 2010.
Attributing his success to hard work, use of modern techniques and support extended by the state agriculture department, Kumar said he wanted to make his son a farmer as well so that he could help other peasants of the state in improving their condition.