moving beyond agriculture: Harbhajan Singh at his farm.Mansa,
Harbhajan Singh, a farmer from Malapur Khiala village in Mansa district, is an epitome of diversification in the agriculture sector. Successfully rearing fish, pigs, goats, hens and quails, besides farming, Harbhajan earns up to Rs19 lakh per annum from his venture.
Talking about it, Harbhajan said in today’s times when agriculture alone was not a profit-making business, farmers should start rearing animals that were an excellent source of supplementary income.
He felt that to make any business or farming successful, farmers should work on their own and depend lesser on labour. Taking his legacy forward, his two sons have joined him in running the business successfully. His elder son is an MBA pass out, while the younger one has passed Class XII.
He started fish rearing on five acres of his land in 1989 with the help of subsidy provided by the state government. “At that time, I was not aware of scientific ways of rearing fish. It was only after the Punjab Government sent me to Bhubaneshwar for training where I learned the best practices in fish farming with lesser input and more output,” he said.
At present, he does fish rearing on 10 acres and sells 7 to 8 quintals of fish every 15 days. Besides, he also prepares a fish seed and sells it in the market. He also prepares a fish high nutrient diet which is consumed at his farm. Besides, he sells it to other farmers.
In 2007, he set up a pig farm with an aim to bring down the input cost of fish rearing. The excreta of pigs is directed towards fish ponds, which acts as a diet for the fish. At present, he has around 80 to 85 pigs. He slaughters the animals at his farm and sells pork. Pig’s blood is used in hen and fish feed. Using pigs’ excreta as a feed has brought down the fish diet input cost by 50 per cent.
The farmer also saves water by directing the water used for bathing pigs into fishery ponds. The waste produced from fishery ponds is organic manure, which he uses for organic farming on three acres.
Harbhajan also has around 100 cock and hens, around 100 goats and several partridges. Not stopping here, Harbhajan has developed a hatching and incubating machine that prepares 4,000 eggs in 21 days to be hatched as chicks.
He has prepared this machine at a mere cost of Rs40,000, which is available in the market at a cost of Rs2.5 lakh. Similarly, he has prepared an indigenous machine for making fish seed pellets at Rs40,000, whose market rate is Rs1.5 lakh.
He grows cotton and paddy on seven acres wherein paddy rice bran and pieces are used in the diet of fish.