School dropout to design university syllabus

A Class 10 dropout from Rajasthan will be rubbing shoulders with scientists and academicians to design an organic farming curriculum for agricultural universities in India.

Mr Hukumchand Patidar (right), a farmer from Manpura village in Rajasthan's Jhalawar district, has been included in the national curriculum committee set up by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research because of his expertise in growing organic oranges, pulses, onion, coriander and fennel.

In 2018 he helped turn Manpura into a fully chemical-free farm patch.

"Our ancient texts and manuscripts taught me facts on organic farming and I shall share the same with my colleagues in the panel," said Mr Hukumchand, who is not in the least worried that he does not have a college degree. "The module I am working on, natural and cow dung-related agriculture, will be introduced in schools, colleges and universities."

He advocates using "panchgavya" or the five elements derived from cows to nourish the soil and make crops healthier and has been a consultant to Rajasthan's four agricultural universities on organic farming.

Mr Hukumchand decided to foray into organic farming in 2005 even as his family and friends opposed the idea of experimentation fearing losses.

Unaffected by the lack of encouragement, he started organic farming on his 25ha farm - Swami Vivekananda Jaivik Krishi Anusandhan Kendra.

Today, Mr Hukumchand, who earns millions from his farm, also exports the produce from his farm to Japan, Germany and Switzerland.

He was felicitated with the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award, in 2018 for his efforts to promote organic farming.

His organic produce fetches him a 40 per cent higher rate than crops grown through the conventional method of farming.

Indo-Asian News Service


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