Pumpkin Profits: Farmers Find Success in New Crop

From Paddy to Paycheck: Sariakella-Kharsawan Farmers Discover Lucrative Pumpkin Cultivation

Devkumar Soren and Akaliya Sardar, progressive farmers from Bankati and Mahuldiha villages in Jharkhand, India, have found a new path to prosperity – pumpkins!

A Season of Fallow Fields

Previously, both men cultivated only paddy during the Kharif season, leaving their land fallow for the rest of the year. While they grew some vegetables for their families, commercial agriculture remained out of reach.

Knowledge Brings Opportunity

A training program on “Advance Agriculture” organized by the Centre For World Solidarity (CWS) and supported by HDFC Bank CSR, changed everything. Here, Devkumar and Akaliya learned valuable skills for commercial vegetable cultivation, including:

  • Soil health management
  • Selecting profitable crops
  • Cost-effective cultivation techniques
  • Seedling propagation
  • Organic fertilizer and pesticide preparation

Pumpkins: The Perfect Choice

The training exposed them to various vegetables, and pumpkins stood out for several reasons:

  • Low resource requirements: Pumpkins require less labor, irrigation, and are resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Storability: They can be stored for months, fetching good prices throughout the year.

From Training to Harvest

Inspired, Devkumar and Akaliya started small, preparing seedlings for 0.7 and 0.4 acres respectively. They followed best practices, including soil correction based on soil health cards and transplanting seedlings on raised beds. With proper care, irrigation, and organic inputs, their pumpkins thrived.

Reaping the Rewards

Their investment of Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 8,000 (mainly for irrigation) yielded a windfall. By April 2024, they had harvested a whopping 6 tons of pumpkins each!

Devkumar with Yield

Beyond the Farm Gate

Instead of selling to wholesalers at Rs. 15 per kg, they bypassed the middleman and earned a higher price of Rs. 20 per kg directly selling in the local market.

A Success Story with a Ripple Effect

Devkumar and Akaliya’s success is inspiring others. Seeing their four-fold return within just 3-4 months, farmers like Salkhan Hembrom, Koren Soren, and Dubraj Soren are eager to take up pumpkin cultivation for a better livelihood.

Looking Ahead: A Brighter Future

Devkumar at Pumpkin Field

Encouraged by their initial success, Devkumar and Akaliya plan to scale up their pumpkin cultivation next year. This story is a testament to the power of knowledge and training in empowering farmers to achieve prosperity through sustainable agricultural practices.