Reverse migration: Youth reaps rich dividend using innovative protective farming technique in district Tehri.

Ajay Ramola
GG News Bureau
Tehri/Mussoorie,15th July. The Covid pandemic induced reverse farming has brought a sea change in the attitude of the youths who migrated to the plains of northern India from the village in higher reaches of Garhwal in search of work.
Prabhat Ramola is one such person who after leaving luxuries of metropolitan city and a job of Rs 40.000 pr month decided to return to his native village Jharipani in district Tehri, during Covid 19 pandemic lockdown two years back to practice soilless or Hydroponic farming and is not only reaping a rich dividend but is also inspiring others.
27n years old Prabhat Ramola, the eldest son of Yashpal completed his B.Tech in electronics and after that went to Chandigarh and New Delhi to work in Multinational companies but the glamour of the metropolitan city was not able to attract him for too long so he left his job and returned to his native village.
The land around his village is fertile so Prabhat decided to take to his ancestral occupation, farming, but he wanted to do it differently, as he was aware that the traditional farming is dependent on the weather pattern which in the global warming age is erratic resulting in loss to the farmers due to unprecedented rain so he started studying the technique through which his farm produce could withstand the vagaries of the weather so he decided to take to Hydroponic farming also called soilless or hydroponic farming.
He underwent a two day training course initiated by the horticulture department at Haldwani where he learnt about growing vegetables in protective environment. Following that with barely Rs 700 he installed a hydroponic plant indoors at his home. “Under this method one does not require soil and vegetables are grown using PVC pipe and only water is used to grow vegetables.
Prabhat Ramola since 2018 has taken to the protective farming in big way and has been able to grow Broccoli, coriander, salad leaves, cabbage, tomatoes etc through this innovative technique.
Prabhat Ramola said, “Through traditional farming I use to get only 5 kg of tomatoes but with this new technique I have been able to get more than 25 kg of the produce.” Through this technique the produce is safe from the inclement weather as farming is done indoors organically, he added.
According to District Horticulture Officer(DHO) Dr Dinesh Kumar Tiwari the department is supporting him by providing logistic support and also provided a poly house and assisting him in hybrid seed procurement at his premises so that he is able to take to hydroponic farming in a big way.
Tiwari said that under this method holes are made in PVC pipes and the seeds are kept in the plastic tray to prepare the plant. Nutrients namely Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Calcium are mixed and a solution is prepared which is given to the plants along with the water. The water is replaced in 12 days periodically and after 30 days the vegetables grow without any problem.
This technique presently is being used in Haldwani but it is very popular in South India, said Dr Dinesh Kumar Tiwari.
Buoyed with the result Prabhat Ramola is now planning to take up protective farming commercially but due to high cost of transportation to the Mandi must spend a lot. He said that if the government aided in transportation he would like to take to this technique in a big way.
Prabhat Ramola is of the view that the protective or hydroponic farming can be beneficial to the farmers who are facing the problem of wild animal attack in their farmlands outdoor. Under this process the Vegetables are prepared quicker than soil and are not prone to disease. These vegetables are completely organic, and it gives relief from unnecessary hard work in the fields and adverse weather also does not have any effect on vegetables and finally it has extremely low water requirement for irrigation.
Many villagers around the area after witnessing the success achieved by Prabhat Ramola are also contemplating on switching to protective farming and have demanded from the government to provide financial support in establishing such units and easy access to the market so that he is motivated to continue farming with this technique further.
DHO Tehri Dr Dinesh Kumar Tiwari said that presently there is no government scheme to promote Hydroponic farming and if a scheme is formulated it could be beneficial for the educated youth who have returned to their native villages due to Covid pandemic and Lockdown curfew situation.

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