Inspirational story of a successful Strawberry Farmer in Ferozepur - Gurmail Singh

Inspirational story of a successful Strawberry Farmer in Ferozepur - Gurmail Singh

Financial help by the government on low-interest rates by reducing the procedural wrangles can help the farmers to switch over to unconventional fruit crops for setting up processing units…

We always learn from successful or unsuccessful stories in life of others but achieving success in life is not something one gets by luck but is something for which a combination of skills, timing and hard work is needed.  At the same time, successful people share many common habits with each other and this is enough to prove that success may have a certain recipe and path.
While the majority of farmers are sticking with traditional crops like wheat and paddy and here is the story of an inspirational farmer – Gurmail Singh - in Ferozepur region, who has dared to opt for unconventional crop like  – a heart-shaped silhouette of the Strawberry.

Gurmel Singh (33), Plus Two passed, a tall, soft spoken, a resident of village Hastiwala, around 12 kilometers away from Ferozepur, but confident enough to try for unconventional crop as a part of crop diversification from the traditional crops.
Here are the excerpts from discussions held with him during visit of team member to the Strawberry Farm of Gurmail Singh.
Who encouraged you to switch over to conventional crop?
Deputy Commissioner, Er.DPS Kharbanda and Horticulture Department Dr.Mukthiar Singh, during a Farmers’ Meet at Mega Food Park, Arniwala,  encouraged me to opt for this crop and I am making good money now. I get almost 15-20 kg strawberries daily and later I sell these fruits in the market directly and I get handsome money. I am happy with the results. Last year, I had planted strawberries in his fields and after getting successful output, this year also I had planted strawberries in major chunk of his fields.

How much is the investment and out-put of revenue?
I had invested around 1.5 lacs this season and I am expecting a profit of at least Rs.60,000 to 70,000 while in conventional crops like wheat and paddy could have given me a profit of Rs.15,000-Rs.20,000 only, said confidently.

What do you expect from the government?
The state government should make arrangements for minimum support price with marketing of unconventional crops to allure the farmers towards crop diversification
Do you have any plans for its further expansion?
Gurmail said in a very choked voice about the system going.  For further expansion – bring more area under the allied professions to earn more profits – huge funds are required for establishing a sprinkle spray of water and processing units for making juice, syrup and jams etc. – huge funds are required.  It is very sad on the part of the system that since two years I am pursuing for bank loan of Rs.25 lacs, despite giving the landed property for mortgage, I am yet moving pillar to post along with official procedural wrangles, to get the loan.
What is the nutrients value of Strawberry?
Gurmail shared that as told to me by the experts, this fruit has many health benefits like it helps to burn stored fats, boost short term memory, ease inflammation, lower cardiovascular disease, promote bone health, good for weight loss, anti-aging properties, promote eye health and prevent esophageal cancel.
Do you require advance training for your future plans ?
Shortly, I am going to Punjab Agri. University for training and for purchase of purchase of machinery, I am in contact with Dr.Amarjit of Horti. Deptt, and shall be visiting Pune in Maharasthra where the farming of Strawberry is on high scale being the temperate conducive for this fruit crop. Besides, I am also planning for set-up of mushroom farming in the coming season. Slowly, I will be increasing the farming of other than wheat and paddy crops. 
Is there any arrangement for the marketing of your product?
I am doing its marketing at my own directly with the purchasers.  The fruit is in demand when there are marriages as Strawberry has become one of the fruit items of menu.
Are you getting any queries and response from other farmers?
Yes definitely. I am getting queries from number of farmers and they are waiting for my success on its expansion and ultimately shift to alternative crop to earn more profits.
What  Satinder Kaur, Agri. Officer says ?
When contacted Satinder Kaur, Agriculture Officer said that the government is encouraging farmers to grow such unconventional crops. The farmers are getting also good help under centrally sponsored Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme”, added Satinder Kaur.
What Dr.Mukthtiar Singh, Horticulture Deptt. Says ?
Dr.Mukhtiar Singh, Horticulture Department also approached to know his views about the pluses for this fruit crop, he said, there is a need to create awareness camps for the farmers in the state to motivate them to switch over to other allied professions to earn more profits than the traditional crops like Strawberry – called as the queen of fruits.
The secret of Gurmail’s spectacular success is his belief in crop diversification for more earnings and maintaining the agriculture land as productive.


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