Agriculture Ministry initiates annual awards for small & marginal farmers

In a move that could be seen as a response to recognize the contribution of marginal agriculturists in the country's agri-economy, the union agriculture and farmer’s welfare ministry has instituted annual Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Antyodaya krishi puruskars for small land holding farmers

The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Mr Radha Mohan Singh presented Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Antyodaya Krishi Puruskar, at the inauguration of the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Krishi Unnati Mela – 2016, in Mathura on September 26, 2016.

New Delhi: As part of the centenary celebrations being organized across the Nation to recognize the contributions made by Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya, the great philosopher and thinker who dedicated his life towards nation building and to improve the living status of the poorest of the poor, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has instituted Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Antyodaya Krishi Puruskar (National and Zonal) from this year (2016). The awards include one award at national level comprising Rs One lakh and 11 zonal awards comprising of Rs 50 thousand each along with a citation and certificate.

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Mr Radha Mohan Singh give away Antyodaya Krishi Puruskars at the birth place of Pandit Upadhyay in Mathura on September 26, 2016. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has instituted one award at national level and 11 zonal awards across the nation.

The award has been instituted for recognizing the contributions of marginal, small and landless farmers for developing integrated and sustainable models of agricultural farming. All the award winners will be felicitated  in award functions being organized in various zones in the presence of political leadership, various state functionaries, scientists and farmers of the region.

The National Award for the year 2016 has been won by Mrs Krishna Yadav, an enterprising lady farmer from, Dinpur, Najafgarh for her outstanding achievements in the processing and value addition of food especially fruits and vegetables. She is a successful food processing entrepreneur based in Najafgarh, New Delhi. Her extraordinary entrepreneurial journey from ‘selling vegetables’ on road to ‘opening factory’ is an exemplary example of women empowerment. She manufactures approximately 1500 quintals of fruits and vegetables processed product and also provides employment to others. She has also made substantial progress in terms of technology adoption, diversification, technology development, technology modification and technology diffusion. She is also actively involved in training and human resources development to realize the Skill India dream of the Prime Minister of India. She has signed Memorandum of Understanding with IARI for commercializing innovative technologies of Natural Pusa Drinks and Soynuts.

Among Zonal Awardees, Mr Jinder Singh, a small farmer from Roopnagar, Punjab has won the award from Zone I comprising of the states of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. He started a nursery of vegetable crops under the brand name ‘Chamkaur Sahib Paniri Farm’. In 2011, he started bee-keeping to substantiate farm income. He has inspired farmers from nearby areas to progress in vegetable cultivation and production.

The award from Zone II comprising the states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi has gone to Mrs Pooja Sharma, a small Haryana farmer who has won all round accolades for her innovative ways of farming. She adopted IARI technology for making soyabean products and started Self Help Groups for marketing of the product, at national as well as state level. She has helped in creating awareness about the benefits of soyabean as protein booster   available at affordable prices in her neighbouring areas, especially for people living below the poverty line, which has resulted in improvement of their health and nutrition.

Mr Moti s/o Mr Shyama a small farmer from Saidasaunkh village in Mathura who owns a meagre 1.5 acres of land has won the award from Zone III which covers entire Uttar Pradesh for his outstanding skills in innovative ways of farming which includes production of seeds of new varieties and planting material and distributing it among the fellow farmers at reasonable rates. Crops of his special interest include; wheat, bajra, mustard, potato and okra (bhindi) among others. He has taken the efforts not only to double his own income but also the income of the other farmers of the region. In addition, he is also maintaining very good dairy animals to further boost his family income.

Mr Deepak Kumar Singh from Bishanpur Banka, Bihar has been conferred this award   from Zone IV comprising the states of Bihar and Jharkhand.  Mr Singh is involved in the cultivation and sale of mushroom which has enabled him to earn a sizeable income from this activity. Through his efforts he has inspired a large number of small and marginal famers from the surrounding areas to boost their farming income.

Mr Ashok Kumar Sarkar, Nimbudera, a small farmer from, Andaman and Nicobar Island has been awarded for his outstanding entrepreneurial skill in agriculture production from the Zone V comprising of the states of West Bengal, Orissa and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. He has earned wide acclaim for following the practice of cultivation of improved disease resistant varieties of indigenous field and vegetable crops, crop rotations and seed treatment for integrated management of disease and pests a practice now very well adopted by the others.

From Zone VI comprising of the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, an enterprising lady farmer Mrs Anuradha Chhetri of Pakyong, East Sikkim has been awarded. She demonstrated that diversification of agricultural activities with orchids can be a boon for the farmers having small landholding in the hilly regions of the country. She adopted various technologies developed by ICAR-NRC Orchids and modified them to reduce the cost of production in orchids. Her methods have enabled farmers to save both the money as well as time.

From Zone VII comprising of the eastern states of Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya, a small farmer Mr Biswajit Majumder from Sabroom, Tripura has been awarded. He is a successful agri-enterpreneur and has established a farmer’s club in his village. He encouraged fellow farmers to establish commercial broiler farms, fish farms and dairy farms. He has been serving as an important link between the local farmers and the ICAR and KVK scientists.

Mr Hasam Bhai Jumabhai Musangara, an enterprising fish farmer from Gir, Somnath, Gujarat has been awarded for his outstanding achievements in Agriculture especially fisheries from Zone VIII comprising of the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Daman & Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli. He has become a mentor for sea cage farming in the Veraval area of Gujarat. His practical skill and dexterity specially in lobstar farming has helped in bringing improvements in many farming practices like the net bottom hide-outs design, tray based feeding method, next exchange, etc.

From Zone IX comprising of the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Mr Balaram Patidar a progressive and innovative farmer from Sarangi, in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh has been awarded. He cultivates horticultural and cash crops using scientific technologies. He has been nominated a resource person of district Department of Agriculture, Jhabua and has developed many agricultural implements that are useful to farmers of the district.

Mr Alluri Suryanarayana Murthy, a small farmer from East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh has been awarded from Zone X comprising of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. He  has adopted an integrated farming system which has enabled the farmers in his surrounding areas to reap huge benefits.

The award from Zone XI comprising of the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep has been won by Mr A. Baburaj, Kozhikode, Kerala. He is a traditional fisherman who since two decades has successfully adopted sustainable brackish water aquaculture practices as a livelihood option. He is a reputed pond based pearl-spot seed producer in North Kerala. He has innovatively integrated island and farm tourism with social media to get premium price for his farm produce.

All of the above awardees had a small and humble beginning and have over the short span of time not only created name and fame for themselves but have through their hard work and dedication benefitted the large farming communities in their respective regions. Their success stories have paved the way for the farmers to emulate them in a big way and realize the dream of the Hon’ble Prime Minster of doubling the farmer’s income within next 5 years.