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Extension for Good Agricultural Practices

A project of PAGRI
PAGRI-LOGO-COLOR.png Harinder Lamba
Oak Forest, Illinois, US
$130pledged of $10,000 goal
$130goal: $10,000
2donors
Yes tax deductible
Ongoingannual goal
$

  • Story
  • Updates
  • Donor List
  • Photos

The Problems

Punjab has gone through some tough times with “Green Revolution” agriculture, with high levels of the use of water, chemical herbicides and pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and decreasing soil fertility. At the same time, farmers have been left with little support in terms of extension work that would help them transition to better practices.

So what is Pagri Doing?

That is why PAGRI is transitioning this project to one that provides “Extension for good agricultural practices, environmentally friendly practices, lower cost cultivation and residual free crops”. For this we have been fortunate to find a very capable, experienced, motivated, sincere and active person in Gurbinder Singh Bajwa, who was already doing such activities, but now Pagri is supporting him to do better and, as good results are seen, expand the project.

Our Approach 

Gurbinderji will be educating and demonstrating to farmers the basics of better agricultural practices by personal onsite visits to farmers within easy travel distances to his base in Gurdaspur district – sowing, care and harvesting. Although the current planting season has passed, next year this will include the direct seeding of rice (DSR) without the water flooding technique. For the remainder of this year, it will be directed at wheat, sugar cane and other crops. He will be teaching farmers how to use different pesticides and herbicides (made on the farm) instead of the poisonous chemicals. He is very practical and his advice is good for farmers that want to transition away from damaging agricultural practices.

Some More Specifics 

He will be teaching farmers the use of machines specially designed for small farmers. Also, how to not burn the stubble after harvest and use it for mulch. The techniques he teaches will be reduce the costs to farmers (as the use of expensive chemicals and machines will be reduced) and reduce the use of water – a major issue for Punjab. High cost of inputs for green revolution agriculture is a major cause of farmer suicides. The harvested crops will be free of poisonous chemical residues, which will promote the health of consumers and improve water quality of water table. He will provide guidance to Pagri on how to organize food processing activities for the farmers he helps.

Your Generous Donations Are Needed 

We hope that you will support this PAGRI project and very worthwhile activities of the project led by Gurbinder Bajwa by donating generously!!

Also see the photos of him that we have posted. Watching the short YouTube video sent to us from Gurbinderji will give you an overall familiarity with what he is doing with the support of PAGRI. 

https://youtu.be/jgd3wv6Vu3c

Find his frequent and informative posting updates on Facebook where he is very active:



  • 04/01/2024

    Extension for Better Practices is Important

    This project is going through a revision. This project has four components:

    1. Kaddoo Mukt: Get rice farming out of the flooded water technque and into DSR (direct seeding of rice) - this saves water and reduces need for fungicides.

    2. Agg Mukt: Teach farmers not to burn straw (paralli) and instead use it as mulch. This reduces ferilizer and water use for the next crop.

    3. Jhona Mukt: Get Punjab out of growing rice altogether as it is a water guzzler. Get Punjab to grwo only high value basmati through the kaddoo mukt technique.

    4. Zehar Mukt: Get farmers to reduce the use of poisonous synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Teach them and enable them to use more biological chemicals that have been developed by the Punjab Agricultural University and others. Also, how to use more organic techniques.

  • 01/11/2024

    Changes on Strategy to Transform Practices

    This project aims at making the agriculture of Punjab to be Kaddoo Mukt (without use of water puddling for growing rice - reducing water use and hence use of fungicides), Agg mukt (so the rice straw is not burned but used as mulch to reduce water and ferilizer use), and Zehar mukt (to reduce the use of poisonous chemicals). The aim of the revision of startegy is to see how the extension work to accimplish these missions can be accomplished. Please stay tuned as we will be describing that in the near future.

  • 10/13/2023

    Updating Extension for Good Agricultural Practices

    Please continue to suppoort this great project!

    We are resetting our Project for "Exrtension for Good Agricultural Practices", the leader of which is Gurbinder Singh Bajwa. He is the only one who is addressing the big problems of growing rice without water flooding technique, no burning of straw, using straw as mulch for next crop, reducing use of chemical fertilizers and fungicides, pesticides and herbicides. The aim of the resetting is to better align Gurbinder with Pagri aims and objectives and to find new ways of cooperation and support. He’s also the leader of the YIF Group (young innovative farmers) that is influential in Punjab.

    NOTE: Gurbinder is going on a 200 Km trip on June 27, 2023, starting from Gurdaspur, four other places and ending at Dera Baba Nanak. This is to visit farmers and do the Extension work that we have hired him for. Our payments to him do not even cover his monthly petrol fuel expenses.
     
    After his return he was interviewed for a CNN documentary: “Depletion of ground water, canal systema and irrigation, and making rice agriculture kaddoo mukt (without water puddling), dry puddling, and SRI - Rice intensity.”
     
    Besides his YIF group (who get featured in his videos), he has about 3 lakh followers although a couple of people have suggested how he can increase his followers, including a well know IT expert – Mandeep Kaur Tangra, whose company has been expanding IT in villages.
     
    Dr. Rajwant Singh (Washington DC) forwarded a post of his which was watched by 6 lakh people, for which Dr. Rajwant Singh gave Gurbinder a Shabash!
     
    The speaker of the Vidhan Sabha and his PA had invited Gurbinder to bring 50 farmers to him about rice agriculture. Gurbinder recommended and the speaker organized a Shabashi (Sammanit, certificate and mementos) to the many farmers who have adopted direct seeding of rice – this was accomplished. The effort aims at banning the water puddling technique for growing rice that is a water guzzler, the main cause of Punjab’s looming water shortage as ground water runs dry, and which needs fungicide applications because of the fungi that water encourages. Fungicide residues on rice creates problems in marketing and export.

    NOTES:
    Windstorms in Punjab are getting worse - 100 kmph wind speeds. Recent storm did a lot of damage.

    YIF (Young Innovative Farmers) group has 250 active farmers out which he has helped 51 farmers who he says are out doing wonders on Good Agricultural Practices. In their fields the depth of good softer soil (before the hard pan or compacted soil created by heavy tractors begins) is about 14 inches, while that in rice puddling areas is only about 4 inches. The drainage in direct seeding of rice fields is better and was shown to survive better in flood situations.

    Dr. Daler Singh began arguing for growing paddy without puddling (water flooding) since 1996. It was Gurbinder who picked it up and started championing it and started teaching farmers how to do it. This involves DSR (direct seeding of rice). Dr. Daler Singh is now 80 years old and is his mentor and talks to him often.

     

  • 07/16/2023

    Revitalizing the Extension Project

    This project will have three components: Extension for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Horticulture and Advocacy – applying pressure on government, universities and other entities to reform their activities. The reset and revitalization of this activity is still being defined – the attempt will be to make the project activity more accountable, with more specific reporting on activities. Gurbinder Bajwa has been aggressively helping farmers transition the sowing of rice from the water flooding technique to the direct seeding of rice (DSR) with big savings of water and fungicide use. He has also led efforts for better use of canal water from the Upper Bari-Doaba Canal (UBC). Catastrophic floods have devastated the Gurdaspur region. The Horticulture part of the activity is yet to be defined. More updates soon on this project.

  • 04/17/2023

    Visits to Gurdaspur Farmers and Action Items

    Dear Pagri Supporters and Well-wishers

    Our secretary Harinder Lamba visited Gurdaspur March 4-5, 2023 and was hosted by Gurbinder Bajwa. Here are the action items and description of the visit.

    Gurdaspur – Gurbinder Bajwa and FPO – Action Items
    1.     Gurbinder to continue extension activity for Good Agricultural Practices with some details to be provided such as farmers names and locations. Gurbinder posts his farm visits very often on Facebook, but we need an added way of tracking farmers by name and farm size and dates helped to trach progress, so we have good stories to tell. Also need regular brief reports, which can be posted on Dasvandh and on website.
    2.     Food processing: To help new FPO called “Batala Foods” that is being registered under leadership of Palwinder Ghuman (currently operating milk collection center for Verka, and Machinery Bank for larger implements). FPO should have completed registration by now and will cover five categories: Milk and milk product processing and chilling, Jaggery (gur), mustard oil impellers, grinding of organic wheat and maize (only), and shelling of basmati from husk. This activity has full support of Gurbinder Bajwa.
    3.     Honey Processing: Forty bee keeping farmers near Faridkot need help with Honey processing (they are struggling and really need help). Gurbinder Bajwa feels that Gurdaspur honey processing should be linked up with Faridkot bee keepers. Also, Bhattiji is close friends with a technical Honey Processing expert who could help define what is needed. This can be added as a sixth category to the five for Item 2, but Bajwa thinks we may be better off linking up with Honey Processors in Gurdaspur district.
    4.     Fruit processing: There is a super expert on fruit processing (Harman Singh) that I met on my first evening at Gurdaspur with Gurbinder. He is an expert on preparing nursery plants for fruit trees (He can help Himachal in a big way, but Punjab needs to engage him). Gurbinder to help make this connection and support this effort if person is willing (forgetting his full name – Gurbinder to provide and connect us with him).

    Gurbinder said he will define a proposal for items 2 and 3 (if added) and budget on what help we can provide in initial stages for small empowerment of new FPO.

    Visits with Gurbinder Bajwa to Gurdaspur District

    Pingalwara
    I spent almost three hours with Rajbir Singhji, visiting Pingalwara. He is indeed an inspiration. Absolutely every biological “waste” on their farm is recycled and used either as fertilizer or as a biological based controller of fungi, insects or unwanted plants. Even the micro-organisms are considered to be fertilizer. One significant feature of one of his plots was 12 rows of different crops, each one of which is harvested at the separate time, with the longest time to be that of fodder sugar cane, that is 10 months. Broccoli tasted very good and were planted next to cowpeas (lobia). Poplar trees in one lot sell very well. Biological fertilizer based on gobar and 1 gram of micro-organisms in a 6x8 foot tank were another action mentioned – this serves as an organic fertilizer.

    He urged Pagri to establish a nonprofit organization in Punjab – only 5 members are needed – Pradhan, General Secretary and three other members. Then the organization can set up a current account and as per section 80G can get a tax rebate. DC also registers the organization. Then it can apply for FCRA approval after a few years.

    Gurbinder Bajwa – observation: Punjab has five seasons – Spring, summer, monsoon, fall (patchad) and winter – extremes of heat, rain and cold. His YIF (Young Innovative Farmers) group has 350 members although it has the capacity for 500 members.

    “Harman” – Horticulture Expert with nursery very near road – visited when it was dark.
    This person was very impressive. He showed us many fruit tree plants that he can provide, including grafted apple plants. He has an ability to provide thousands of plants. He said that Himachal Pradesh was very aggressive and subsidized fruit trees in a big way. Punjab needs about 3.5 lakh fruit trees. He appeared to have a very high-level expert knowledge on providing all kinds of nursery plants. He can be a big asset if Punjab seeks to be aggressive in replacing significant acreage of wheat and rice with fruit trees.

    Focal Point – sites that were set up by Pratap Singh Kairon that would locate Mandi, cooperative society, cooperative bank, hospital and veterinary hospital food processing center and processed products sales. These have been largely abandoned and are lying vacant. By the way, although not at one site, this is what IS BEING PRACTICED IN KERALA IN EACH VILLAGE TO THE GREAT BENEFIT OF ITS RESIDENTS!!

    Observations by Harpreet Singh Bhatti
    Punjab needs an MSP policy for fruits. From farm to processing unit, farmers need compensation for freight (per Kg). Punjab needs to cover 90% of the capital cost of a new processing unit. Central government grants 50%, 30% by state government, and 10% from Agriculture infrastructure fund (that is what Haryana does, I believe).  A wheat weed from Mexico has become resistant to herbicides. Mosquitos have become resistant to pesticides, and there is extended resistance to tuberculosis.

    Machinery Bank & Milk Collection Center – Palwinder Ghuman
    Visited this in Sahari village. Ghumanji is a personable dynamic leader. He took us to his machinery bank where they rent out their services. Different implements can be mounted behind the tractor and service performed with rates established per acre. Main problem was that of an implement becoming obsolete quickly before they have recovered the cost. He then took us to their small Milk Collection Center (MCC), where milk is received, evaluated and weighed  before being accepted for Verka.

    FPO (Food Processing Organization) Formation
    Ghumanji (with support from Gurbinder Bajwa) is working on registering an FPO that will be called, “Batala Foods”. They went the next day with about 15 farmers to the AR (Assistant Registrar) Office. Seems like they will get registered in a few weeks after the date of our visit. Haryana covers 90% of the cost of an FPO up to Rs. 6 crores. Punjab only covers about 30-35% and there is no effective policy. Also, the FPO policy scheme should be ONE – currently persons seeking to register an FPO have to go from pillar to post to visit all of the Punjab organizations concerned. However, after the capital costs are met (hopefully through subsidy), the FPO still has to cover the cost of fuel needed to run the processing plants and the cost of packaging the finished product. So, working capital is also needed to cover this and the cost of labor.

    Sudhir Singh – Organic Farmer
    Did not take any notes, so videos will have to cover. He does pure organic farming on about 12 acres. He seemed to be the most relaxed farmer we met in the whole trip. From what I remember, he had said that his earnings were only Rs. 50,000 per acre and he followed the total organic routine including using cow manure from his cattle.

    Kabal Singh Goraya – Organic Farmer and Integrated Farming – A Super Center with potential for learning – this needs to be continued and not fade with him!
    Village Maddu Chaanga, Block Ajnala, District Amritsar.
    After Pingalwara, this was the most educative visit.

    Fishery – 5 Acre Pond
    His fish pond was 5 acres and is about 4 feet deep. Originally, he had dug up the pond and used the mud to make the bund. A fish merchant comes every few days with 10-15 people and he farms the fish with his nets. He needs at least 5 Quintals of fish to make it worthwhile for him. For Ludhiana the fish need to be transported live, whereas for nearby Amritsar these can be dead. For smaller farms where the farmer does it all himself (including taking it to market), the land area can be smaller, but for the merchant to come and do it, one needs a minimum of 2.,5 acres – this minimizes his need for labor and time spent in marketing. He said that he earns about Rs. 6-7 lakhs per year.

    The six fish he breeds are katla, moraakh, rahu, grass carp, big head and common carp. Katla and big head are bigger in size and stay near the top surface, at mid depth is Damra, Commoin Carp is on the sides and Moraakh is at the bottom depth. Gras carp is at the sides and eats burseem. That and the washed-out liquid from the floor of the cattle shed are enough to feed the fish (otherwise, fish feed is expensive). Expenses are much less than for soil farming (kheti). People steal fishes if you are not around. The pH needs to be kept at between 8 and 8.5 (Kharay or brackish water can be used to grow shrimp or Jhinga).

    For his big fishpond he had a small pond for which he bought small fishlets (about 100 to 1,000 at a time) from hatchery and raised them to be about finger size (takes about 3-4 months) before releasing them to the big fish pond. Birds do eat fish, but with the size of the pond he cannot put a net over it to protect it.

  • 01/24/2023

    Expanding our Extension Work with Farmers

    Many many thanks to those who donated and supported! In 2023, we will use these resources to expand this project as well as enable us to record and report better. Primary here will be efforts to improve extension and reach more farmers.

    Getting farmers to adopt new and better techniques does NOT happen unless someone goes to their farm and guides and educates them on what to do. That is what Gurbinder Bajwa is doing. This work has become crucial as government agencies have not been doing these in recent years.

    Many techniques are needed to begin transforming the practices of farmers so that they adopt these to use less water, less tillage, less chemical fertilizer and less of pesticides and herbicides. In so doing, also reduce the costs to the farmer, in terms of both money and labor. The practices then become more environmentally friendly, including not burning the residues after harvesting!

    This project provides a much-needed extension activity to guide farmers on lower cost agriculture, environmentally friendly practices and (chemical) residual free crops. An example is to use the direct seeding of rice (DSR) that uses much less water and then mulches the straw (instead of burning it), and then plants the wheat seeds among the mulch without tillage – savings all around in water, fertilizer, diesel fuel, and pesticides and herbicides – all expensive inputs. This project will help in those areas that are favorable for high value basmati rice, while helping all other areas of Punjab transition out of rice.

  • 10/31/2022

    Video from Leader - request support PAGRI project

    Video from Gurbinder Bajwa of importance of Pagri Support for
    Extension Work for Good Agricultural Practices


    Please watch this video from Gurbinder Singh Bajwa, the leader of this project.

    He points out the big importance of extension work that will guide farmers away from damaging practices to good agricultural practices. Work that he had begun and about which he has good practical knowledge and experience. His work is better because he actually visits farmers in their fields and guides them on different and better agricultural practices. He thanks Pagri for beginning to support his work on this project and making a good case for support from us that is long term and which grows.

    Please support the effort by donating to this Pagri project so that we can reach more farmers effectively to transform their practices to ones that are environmentally friendly, lower in cost and leads to crops that are free of damaging chemical residues.
     
    YouTube Video
    https://youtu.be/jgd3wv6Vu3c

  • 09/05/2022

    Update on Transforming this to EffectiveExtension

    Dear Well Wishers,


    We are really excited about this project as we have a very capable, experienced, motivated, sincere and active person in Gurbinder Singh Bajwa, who is leading this activity. Gurbinderji has already been active in this activity, and we are supporting him to do better and, based on continuing good work, expand this project.


    Gurbinderji is a very practical, knowledgeable, hands on type of person who has been going directly to farmers fields and helping and advising them in better agricultural practices that will transition farmers away from damaging practices. This is the best kind of extension work there is! There are multiple benefits in what he is doing – crop yields remain good, the cost to the farmer goes down (less expensive inputs), the practices are more environmentally friendly (less use of poisonous chemicals), and because of that, the chemical residues on the crops are free of poisons.


    With Gurbinder Singh Bajwaji’s help we have gotten started and are supporting him in this activity and plan to support him until we achieve a continuation of trends in this direction.
    Please donate generously as we need to support this project effectively. We are far from the fundraising goal and need your help to reach it by the end of 2022.


    Harinder Lamba
    Secretary, PAGRI

  • 06/13/2022

    Adding significant Extension Efforts to Farmers

    Dear Friends,

    We are espanding this activity considerably into the direct education of farmers through extension as follows:

    Title of Activity: Extension for Good Agricultural Practices, Environmentally Friendly Practices, Lowest Cost Cultivation and Residual Free Crops
     
    Gurbinder Singh Bajwaji will be educating and demonstrating to farmers the basics of better agricultural practices by personal onsite visits to farmers within easy travel distances to his base in Gurdaspur district – sowing, care and harvesting. Although the current planting season has passed, next year this will include the direct seeding of rice (DSR) without the water flooding technique. For the remainder of this year, it will be directed at wheat, sugar cane and other crops. He will be teaching farmers how to use biological pesticides and herbicides (made on the farm) instead of the poisonous chemicals.

    He will be teaching farmers the use of machines specially designed for small farmers. Also, how to not burn the stubble after harvest and use it for mulch. The techniques he teaches will be reduce the costs to farmers (as the use of expensive chemicals and machines will be reduced) and reduce the use of water – a major issue for Punjab. High cost of inputs for green revolution agriculture is major cause of farmer suicides. The harvested crops will be free of poisonous chemical residues, which will promote the health of consumers and improve water quality of water table. He will provide guidance to Pagri on how to organize food processing activities for the farmers he helps.

    We will be posting more on this very worthwhile activity later in the coming year.

    Harinder Lamba

    Secretary, Pagri

     

     

  • 03/20/2022

    Farmers Education in Organic Farming

    We are now working to develop a database of farmers who are willing to participate in doing organic farming. We will then use this to database to help them get educated and then planning as to what to produce. We are also developing an App to facilitate the farmers to sell the produce directly to consumers, eliminating the middle man. Also, we will be engaging in education of consumers on health and environmental benefits of organic farming, so they are willing to pay more. We will also be directly educating consumers at the open market in Faridkot.

    The success of small farmers to develop bargaining strength can only come from their joining together in an FPO (Farmer's Producer Organization).While continuing to expand these activities, the plan for 2022 is to begin a major activity in the area of food processing in the following ways: (1) Improving the functioning of some of the Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs) that are not functioning well in Punjab, (2) Advocate to political leaders and bureaucrats the benefits of Farmers Producer Companies, (3) Like Maharashtra and other states that have taken the advantage of central government incentives to provide state level incentives to help start new FPOs, and (4) Encourage and organize NRIs (Non Resident Indians) to invest in FPO type organizations.
     
    Processing of perishable foods and of crops that may be in surplus and arranging for their sale in Punjab or the rest of India, or for export abroad will be a major focus in 2022.

     

Name Donation Date
D. S. $10.00 June 2024
D. S. $10.00 May 2024
D. S. $10.00 April 2024
D. S. $10.00 March 2024
D. S. $10.00 February 2024
D. S. $10.00 January 2024
D. S. $10.00 December 2023
D. S. $10.00 November 2023
D. S. $10.00 October 2023
J. K. $10.00 September 2023
D. S. $10.00 September 2023
D. S. $10.00 August 2023
D. S. $10.00 July 2023
D. S. $10.00 June 2023
D. S. $10.00 May 2023
D. S. $10.00 April 2023
Anonymous $50.00 March 2023
J. K. $10.00 March 2023
D. S. $10.00 March 2023
D. S. $10.00 February 2023
D. S. $10.00 January 2023
J. K. $108.00 December 2022
Jaspreet Bhullar $50.00 December 2022
D. S. $10.00 December 2022
G. B. $45.00 November 2022
Match Fund $150.00 November 2022
Devinder Singh $10.00 November 2022
Match Fund $200.00 November 2022
Harinder Lamba $200.00 November 2022
Match Fund $100.00 November 2022
Harleen Singh $100.00 November 2022
Match Fund $250.00 November 2022
Gurinder Singh $250.00 November 2022
Match Fund $200.00 November 2022
Anonymous $200.00 November 2022
Match Fund $150.00 November 2022
Birender Singh $150.00 November 2022
Match Fund $50.00 November 2022
Harinder Lamba $50.00 November 2022
Gurmit Bhatia $22.50 October 2022
Anonymous $10.00 September 2022