Their grit yields bounty, fetches them recognition

Their grit yields bounty, fetches them recognition

Kalpana Prakash, a woman farmer in her early 30s, is barely 5’ 2”. But she is walking tall, as she has become a role model for others in Bihar.

Reason: She has been bestowed with Krishi Karman award by President Pranab Mukherjee for showing grit and record production of wheat in adverse circumstances.
Till a few years back, Kalpana was an ordinary farmer producing 40 quintals of food grains per hectare and eking out a livelihood out of farming at a nondescript village Pokhraria in Bihar’s Samastipur district.

But, of late, she adopted the systematic wheat intensification (SWI) method,
followed by all possible support and training from the agriculture department. The yield increased 2.5 times. This happened when 33 out of 38 districts in Bihar were reeling under drought.

From 40 quintals of wheat per hectare, 32-year-old Kalpana was successful in pro­ducing 106 quintals of wheat perhectare. A record of sorts by a woman farmer, Kalpana was chosen for the Krishi Karman award for the commendable
production of wheat in adverse situation.

Kalpana was elated while receiving the award from Pranab Mukherjee at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan where she got Rs 1 lakh and a citation from the President for her untiring effort.

“I am extremely elated at being chosen for the Krishi Karman award. Hope my story will inspire others to increase the yield by using hybrid seeds, adopting SWI technique and zero tillage as envisaged in the agriculture roadmap 2012-13,” Kalpana told Deccan Herald.

Krishi Karman award came into being in 2010-11 when the Union Agriculture Ministry announced a ‘reward scheme’ for recognising meritorious efforts of the states in food grain production. Two sets of awards were included under the scheme – one for the total food grain production and the other for individual food grain crops of rice, wheat, pulses and coarse cereals.

Kalpana is not the only one from Samastipur to have brought laurels to
Bihar. Mohammad Zahid Khan from Inmasnagar village in Samastipur too has been chosen for the Krishi Karman award for producing 128.2 quintals of wheat per hectare through SWI method.

“It was the most memorable moment of my life to receive the award at the hands of the President, who asked me to increase the yield, have bumper crops next year too and put Bihar among the front-ranking States in food production,” said Zahid, while talking to Deccan Herald over phone.

So what was the actual reason behind this increased production of wheat?

“The Bihar government’s Agriculture Department, through its nodal officers, used to send us SMSes informing about the use of fertilisers, seeds and cultivation methods. The kisan salahkar (farmers’ advisors) at the block level used to visit our place with advice and logistic support. They would suggest how to fight moisture deficiency and tremendous heat,” explained Zahid.

While Zahid and Kalpana got the award in the individual category for record production of wheat, in which they were presented Rs 1 lakh each and a citation, Bihar got the Krishi Karman award in recognition of the state’s record production of wheat in 2012-13 in the midst of drought. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was presented a cheque for Rs 1 crore, a citation and a trophy as reward.

“The award is given for excellent production under adverse circumstances. It was an arduous task to achieve this at a time when the rain-god had stopped smiling on us and the entire State was reeling under severe drought,” said principal secretary, agriculture department, Vivek Kumar Singh.

Singh had to give a presentation to the Centre how the state managed to ensure better production of wheat despite
adverse circumstances.

“Last year, owing to residual moisture and terminal heat problem, the grain
formation was relatively less. Moisture was deficient in the soil and hot weather conditions prevailed. However, we tried to overcome the odds by encouraging zero tillage sowing time and used the SWI method,” said Singh.

Earlier, a farmer from Nalanda, Sumant Kumar had won Rs 1 lakh for
creating a world record in production of 224 quintal paddy per hectare through systematic rice intensification (SRI) method in 2011-12.

Shanti Devi of Naran in Rohtas village too was rewarded for record production of paddy variety named MPU-7029. She had achieved paddy yield of 95 quintal per hectare against experts’ prediction of 55 quintal per hectare by using the SRI technique.
Abhay Kumar in Patna