Ganjam: Even as 70 per cent of people in India rely on agriculture for their livelihood, very few are aware of proper techniques to increase their harvest. The story of Balaji Dalai, 32, of Giria viilage under Hinjilicut block of Ganjam district is indeed inspiring.
The young farmer is different because he could enhance his income to a considerable level by using integrated farming techniques recommended by Reliance Foundation Information Service (RFIS) experts to achieve this goal.
After his graduation from Science College Hinjilicut, the young farmer chose to stay at home and support his father in the farming profession. He decided to turn his passion into a profession.
Being a science graduate, Balaji could have managed to land a job in any agency but he opted for farming as he was keen to experiment with farming-related activities. RFIS offered him all the necessary information to carry out his passion. He had come across RFIS executives four-five years ago when he visited a fair at the Exhibition Ground in Berhampur. Since then he has been in touch with the experts to get advice on agriculture, livestock management, and government schemes regularly.
Balaji has five acres of cultivation land. Out of this, two acres is parental land and three acres is lease land. He grows sugarcane in one acre, paddy in another one acre and green gram, black gram, groundnut, banana, mango, and coconut in three acres. He rears two crossbreed cows along with 250 poultry birds (both Banraj and Desi variety).
Balaji regularly receives a mobile-based audio advisory from Reliance Foundation. He also follows the weather-based agro advisory, varietal selection, nutrient management etc.
“I am grateful to RFIS for helping me to overcome problems in agriculture and allied activities, ” said the young farmer.
For the last two years, he is growing paddy on his one-acre land in an organic way by not using any chemical fertilisers and pesticides. He uses organic manure like cow dung, Dhanicha, Azolla that keep the soil in good health for paddy cultivation. This Kharif season he harvested 35 bags of paddy @ each bag 75 Kg, a total of 26.25 quintals.
He always participates in the thematic programme through Multi-Location Audio Conference and shares his livelihood issues in RF WhatsApp Group.
In October 2021, based on the advisory support of RF experts, Balaji applied and availed a Government subsidy of Rs.30,000/under “Innovative Poultry Productivity Project (IPPP)”. He then set up an IPPP Broiler unit with a capacity of 150 birds.
Balaji now aims to start a goat farming unit on his own land, for which he has already started green fodder cultivation.
Balaji is worried about the crop damage by wild boars, monkeys and thieves resulting in economic losses, for which he is looking for some government schemes like solar fence systems.
“Seeing my success in farming, sometimes my neighbours approach me seeking advice when they face trouble in farming activities. Then I offer them some tips and share my experience. Often I have to call the RFIS toll-free number to get expert advice for my neighbours,” the young farmer said.