Monday, March 24, 2008

Herbs healing FARMERS in Doiwala

Farmers, in Uttarakhand, have over the years brought more and more land under the plough for the production of cash crops like sugarcane, relatively more profitable. Area under cultivation of rice, particularly Basmati, has thus shrunk. In the year 1997-98 /40703 Hectare area was under sugarcane and total produce was 2537913 Quintal. Average production is 623.52 Quintal per Hectare. In the Udhamsingh Nagar district there are six sugar factories in Jaspur, Kashipur, Bazpur, Gadarpur , Kichha , and Sitarganj . These sugar factories consume sugarcane from neighbouring districts Bijnour , Rampur Bareilly and Pilibhit. To help the sugarcane farmers the cane department has six cane committee in Kashipur , Bazpur , Gadapur, Kichha , Pantnagar . A cane committee is there in Nadehi sugar mill.

Today more and more farmers are leaving sugarcane for other crops .The price for the crop has dropped considerably in recent time .The price of Sugarcane in Uttarakhand in between Rs.120-125/quintal. In UP, the rate has were not declared. Farmers are complaining, as they have not been paid for the last lot.

In Doiwala, Dehradun farmers have found a better option. According to Gurdeep Singh , a farmer ,there is mill in the area where farmers of the village used to sell the cane .The same mill consumed sugarcane from nearby regions as well. The sugar mill was a Pvt.Mill and was establised in year 1950-51.It became a Government enterprise in year 1998.

In year 1990, a company called ‘Flax Food Company’ came to the village and motivated villagers to produce different vegetable and plants. The farmers tried their hands on it. In the beginning mushroom and strawberry along with vegetables like Broccoli was cultivated and supplied to the company. Slowly company asked them to grow herbs. Common herbs grown are:
1. Parsley
Carum petroselinum
Family: Umbelliferae
2. Dill
Anethum graveolens
Family: Umbelliferae
3. Basil
Ocimum basilicum
Family: Lamiaceae
when the company approached farmers only 20 farmers agreed . Two-acre land was under herb cultivation at that time. Today the land area under cultivation has increased to eight acre and a total of 200 framers are involved in it.
The company guides farmers for cultivation . There are strict instructions on the percentage, type and time of the fertilizers to be used. Farmers follow the instructions and sell the produce to them. The company pays directly. Usually a single crop is cut thrice .The production is around 500 kg /bigha that means on an average from a single crop the farmer produces 1600 kg /bigha in a year. The produce is sold at the rate of Rs.6/kg. This company has a consumption capacity of 5000 tonnes and it exports the processed products to countries like England, Germany, and Denmark .
Though the rate at which the company sells the products is not disclosed to the farmers, they are still happy as their economic condition that has improved remarkably. Gurdeep Singh also pointed out that herbs need more care and attention and this requires extra labours as well. This has improved the condition of the labour class as well. He also felt the rate should be reviewed from time to time.

The company at the same time provides farmers with manure, pesticide etc .It is however not compulsory to buy from the company only. Farmers however prefer company’s product as they are more reliable and at reasonable rate as compered to public services.

The sugarcane has suffered a lot as the whole belt, at one point of time, produced sugarcane. This includes: Shyampur, Satyanarayan, Panchwani, Chhidrawala, Kanwali, Vikasnagar. Today area under sugar cultivation is either lost completely or has decreased considerably .The farmers fear that in the present condition the sugar mill in the region will not sustain for long.

This story was an excellent example of the direct relationship between farmer and industry. Paying fairly good price to the farmers for their produce serves their purposes and is beneficial to the industry as well. But still a partnership with the industry will secure the future in better way.

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