Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A farmer who broke out of poverty

A farmer is in news and for a good reason. Let me give you some background.

His father was a bonded laborer. Odds were against him like for all poor farmers. But he owes his success to adopting simple measures in his farming.

Non-stop income: His daily income comes from selling milk through dairy farming. Weekly income comes from selling vegetables. Quarterly income comes from harvesting coconut. Half yearly income comes from pulses. Yearly income comes from sugarcane and turmeric crops. 

This is a simple but an effective way of beating the price fluctuations and weak monsoons. A cow or two does not occupy much space in the farm. The coconut trees at the border line do not require intensive care but yet offer a steady income. And the portfolio of crops in the field coming to harvest at different times of the year provide the non-stop income. This inclusive farming when practiced to perfection provides the farmer a healthy cash flow which a salaried person would envy.

No loans and reinvesting in his fields: This farmer did not borrow even while sinking bore wells one every year for eight years. Accumulated money found a purpose and the bore wells reduced dependency on the rain. He had the patience to do that with his own money. This farmer who started with four acres of land now owns about 40 acres.

His name is Puttiah and he inaugurated this year’s Mysore Dasara. His message to fellow farmers – “Be brave to face uncertainties. Suicide is not the solution”. He has proved that farmers can break out of poverty. We should ensure that his story gets known to all the poor farmers so that they too learn to diversify and reinvest and do better.

Farmers feed the world. India was always known as agrarian economy and the farmers thrived here with a bartering system to do all transactions. They ran the economy. All the kingdoms in India were built on the taxes levied on the farmers. Farmer was the foundation of society, religion, and kingdoms. But times changed. Farmers became poor, went hungry themselves. Some of them had put an end to their lives too. In that background, Puttiah’s life has a strong message for the farmer's community on how they can do well in the present world too.