Income Diversification Through Vegetable Farming in Madhya Pradesh
Meet Devkinanadan Choudhary, a young farmer who made the smart move of learning to grow three different vegetables in the same season.
MADHYA PRADESH, INDIA — Smallholder farmer Devkinandan Choudhary produces mainly wheat and soybeans, but he has always wanted to grow vegetables. The 28-year-old owns about 6,700 square meters of land in Panda, a village in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
He began his vegetable-farming journey by planting sponge gourd on a 550-square-meter area, but the results were just okay. His yield was lower than he had hoped for, and in addition to encountering pests and diseases, some of the sponge gourd fruits ended up rotting where they touched the ground.
One day, Devkinandan visited a bitter gourd demonstration plot set up by Sanjay Patidar in his village. Sanjay was using new farming techniques with the guidance of East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation, which helped him achieve better-quality produce and a higher yield. Devkinandan was impressed and returned to Sanjay’s plot to learn more about the techniques used, such as raised beds, protected nurseries for seedlings, trellising to keep crops off the ground, integrated pest management, and more. Read Sanjay’s story here.
Devkinandan wanted to implement these techniques in his own field, so he contacted Ramcharan Ahirwar, an EWS-KT Technical Field Adviser. Ramcharan listened carefully as Devkinandan talked about the challenges he had encountered with his sponge gourd plot. Ramcharan suggested a model demonstration plot to Devkinandan to achieve higher yields from all crops and overcome the problems he had experienced.
Devkinandan set up the demonstration plot and worked hard to learn and follow the recommendations from Ramcharan. While many farmers start with just one vegetable for their demo plot, Devkinandan wanted to practice new techniques for a variety of crops. Ramcharan had also explained how growing multiple vegetables at once could help to mitigate the effects of fluctuating market prices.
Devkinandan used 60 square meters to grow coriander, 160 square meters for okra, and 240 square meters for cucumber cultivation. It was challenging for him, since he was implementing these new methods for the first time, but he persevered and followed all the recommended techniques, from land preparation to harvest.
Devkinandan’s unwavering commitment and tireless efforts yielded impressive results. He produced 21 kilograms of coriander, 251 kilograms of okra, and 831 kilograms of cucumber, bringing in substantial profits. His return on investment (ROI) for his demo crops ranged from 100% to over 400%.
Happy with his results and with the training provided by EWS-KT, Devkinandan doubled his area for vegetable production, to a little over 1,000 square meters. Currently, he is using EWS-KT methods to grow eggplant, cucumber, and more sponge gourd, and he is looking forward to continuing to see excellent results.