Farmers like Kumar are unique as while majority of the farmers in Haryana and adjoining Punjab after harvesting the wheat crop wait till summer to start paddy sowing activities, while Kumar has chosen to utilise the periodApril -June for growing vegetables. The credit for this move by Kumar goes to agronomists stationed at Hariyali Kisaan Bazar (HKB) outlet close to Kumars village.
Through first of its kind outlets set up by DCM Shriram Consolidated (DSCL), a company of annual turnover of more than R3,500 crore, HKB aims at providing not only agricultural extention services such as advisory, quality seeds, fertiliser, equipments etc but also cater to farmers other needs such as FMCG products, quality fuel for the both domestic and agricultural needs, life insurance or crop insurance products.
Besides Kumar many farmers including Suresh Pal, Ved Parakash have adopted the latest technique called Direct Seeding Rice, where paddy sowing is done through putting seeds directly into soil unlike planting sapling, which saves water and usage of labour.
Technique being promoted by DSCL under Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia promoted by agencies such as Bill & Milinda Gates Foundation and many corporates for conservation agriculture. More than 100 acres of paddy field in the Kurukshetra has been using the direct seeding technique leading to massive savings of water and labour cost for the farmers, Atul Jain, head-agri-services, DSCL told FE. Jain said Hariyali outlet has become a focal point for the farmers to get vital inputs in increasing yield and fighting diseases in crops for many farmers in the area and linkage with premier agricultural research institutes in the region such as Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal.
This rabi season when yellow rust threatened wheat crop in parts of Haryana and Punjab, alerts were sent through Hariyali outlets and recommended use of pesticide propiconancy saved most of the crops.
From the five pilot stores that opened in 2002, the Hariyali Kisaan Bazaar brand has grown to 275 stores in eight states across Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttranachal, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Praesh and Maharasthra. Hariyali outlets has two formats - one is called a centre with a campus of two to four acre, equipped with fuel station, banking facilities, farm demonstration area etc while a store provides only materials at an area of around 4,000 5,000 sq feet.
Although financially HKB is yet to break even, turnover of HKB went up to R 223 crore during third quarter of the last fiscal from R216 crore in the same period last year. We wanted farmers to go there, to associate with the outlet, so it had to be enticing, but not intimidating, as they were not used to anything like Hariyali, Rajesh Gupta, president, HKB observed.