Ramesh Verma, an innovative and enthusiastic farmer at Kasimpur Biruha village in Lucknow district has inspired many farmers in the district to shift towards high income sustainable agriculture from traditional farming practices. A marginal landholding farmer with only half hectare land, he has successfully introduced the cultivation of exotic vegetables in the district.
Earlier, he was farming with his father and had been cultivating only rice and wheat with some vegetables like, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, potato and banana. It was less remunerative for him. However, shifting towards exotic vegetables, provided him good returns. His remarkable move has inspired many farmers in the Lucknow district to cultivate these vegetables.
Verma, a keen observer and innovative by nature, tried to grow new crops. He visited Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), run by ICAR- Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (IISR), Lucknow. He received broccoli seeds from the KVK and started cultivating it. He continued to grow broccoli till 2009-10 since he was getting excellent returns from its cultivation.
A training programme at the KVK during 2010-11, provided him with detailed information about exotic vegetables cultivation. He approached the KVK for more technical support and availability of seeds and other inputs. KVK scientists arranged the seed material of broccoli, parsley, red cabbage, china cabbage, cherry tomato among various other exotic vegetables for cultivation. The scientists guided and helped him in every aspect right from sowing to harvesting.
During the cultivation period, the scientists made regular visits to his field. He got more net returns during 2010-11 than the preceding years. During 2011-12, he started growing these exotic vegetables in his entire land. He not only became the famous farmer in the area but also an expert in exotic vegetables cultivation. The KVK scientists further guided him on the availability of market for sale of these exotic vegetables. Accordingly, he sold these vegetables to various multinational retailers and hotels.
The economics of exotic vegetables cultivation revealed that cost of cultivation of these vegetables grown in an area of 0.506 hectare was Rs 26,400 which gave gross and net return of Rs 336,500 and Rs 310,100, respectively for the year 2011-12 and 2012-13.
After witnessing the success, he has motivated several farmers for growing such type of vegetables for higher economic returns. Now, he has become an inspiration for the farmers in the area.
Approximately, 300 farmers from distant places, 250 trainees of Union Bank of India, government as well as private agencies have visited his field. Recently, a review team from ICAR-IISR, Lucknow has also visited his field and appreciated the practices of growing exotic vegetables in such a remote village.