In a remarkable example of innovation and environmental stewardship, Harinderjeet Singh Gill, a law graduate turned farmer from Nurpur Bet in Ludhiana, has demonstrated an effective and profitable way to manage paddy straw. Gill’s initiative has not only enriched his pockets but also set a positive precedent for fellow farmers in the region, where stubble burning remains a persistent concern.
Gill’s journey into paddy straw management began with a modest investment of Rs 5 lakh, where he purchased a second-hand square baler and a rack. With these tools, he transformed approximately 17,000 quintals of paddy straw into compact bales, which he subsequently sold to paper mills at a rate of Rs 185 per quintal. The result? A staggering income of Rs 31.45 lakh from the paddy straw alone.
In a conversation with The Tribune, Harinderjeet Singh Gill expressed his elation over the success of his paddy straw management endeavor. A first-generation farmer, Gill now plans to expand his straw management business further. After deducting all expenses, including the cost of the baler and two trolleys, he enjoyed a net profit of Rs 20.45 lakh. Furthermore, Gill has acquired additional equipment—a round baler with two rakes worth Rs 40 lakh and a square baler with a rake worth Rs 17 lakh—to enhance his straw management capabilities.
His new goals are ambitious; Gill intends to produce 500 tonnes of round bales and 400 tonnes of square bales with the aid of two square balers. Remarkably, this forward-thinking farmer does not confine his efforts to paddy cultivation alone. Managing a 52-acre farm, he also cultivates guava and pear orchards on 10 acres and maintains a poplar plantation on the remaining 12 acres.
What sets Gill apart from many of his peers is his steadfast commitment to sustainable farming practices. He proudly states that he has not burned paddy or wheat straw for the past seven years. Instead, he employs a Happy Seeder for wheat sowing, a technique that not only benefits the environment but also enhances crop production. This year alone, Gill produced an impressive 900 quintals of paddy from his 30-acre paddy field.
Gill’s success story has not gone unnoticed by his fellow farmers. Over the past two years, several farmers in his village and surrounding areas have been inspired to adopt similar practices, thus contributing to the collective effort to curb stubble burning.
Surabhi Malik, the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, has applauded Gill’s environmentally friendly approach and encouraged other farmers to follow suit. Dr. Amanjit Singh, an agriculture expert and former Chief Agricultural Officer, emphasizes that the scientific management of paddy straw is the need of the hour to combat stubble burning. He further stresses that farmers should consider adopting eco-friendly initiatives that not only benefit the environment but also prove financially rewarding.
Harinderjeet Singh Gill’s success story serves as a shining example of how innovative thinking and sustainable practices can lead to financial prosperity while safeguarding our environment. As more farmers in the region look to emulate his success, it is evident that Gill’s efforts are not only transforming the landscape of farming but also contributing to a cleaner, greener future for all.