Post retirement, Kathua soldier emerges as victorious Agriprenuer
Progressive farmers of JK
Dheeraj Kumar of Kathua district, after proving his mettle as a soldier in Navy, has emerged as victorious Agriprenuer setting an inspirational example for others to adopt farmer profession as a successful vocation. Kumar has all praise for the Department of Horticulture Kathua for providing him financial as well as technical assistance and support besides acquainting him with their schemes. According to an official of Horticulture Office Kathua, progressive farmer ‘Dheeraj Kumar’ hailing from Haripur village of Kathua, cultivates 3 different strawberry varieties including Camarosa, Winter Dawn and Nubila on 22 Kanal of land. Kumar says, out of the total investment of Rs 6 lakh, the department provided him a subsidy to the tune of Rs 2.86 lakh which is nearly 50 per cent of the total investment. He is expecting to produce a yield worth Rs. 15-20 lakh which is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of doubling the farmers’ income. He added that department has also provided him a subsidy on purchase of power tillers and installation of drip irrigation system.
Expressing gratitude to the present dispensation for launching such pro-farmer initiatives, Dheeraj Kumar said that the help from the horticulture department has come as a beacon of light for him enabling him become a successful farmer. He termed the initiative of enhancing the amount of subsidy from the earlier ceiling of Rs. 3125/ Kanal to Rs. 13000/ kanal as a great morale booster for the farmers. “This is a huge relief for the farming community as it will make the sector more lucrative for the aspiring agripreneurs,” he asserted. From being an employee to a successful entrepreneur, Kumar has come a long way. He has employed around 10 people for leveling, picking, packaging and transport purposes, which he termed as a satisfying experience. Kumar’s quality produce has huge demand from Big Malls and prominent business houses like Jammu Basket, Easy Day, Big Bazar, Markets in and around Pathankot and area in periphery of Punjab adjoining Kathua.
“Encouraged by the success in local markets, I am exploring option of selling my produce online as well,” he said. The unique entrepreneurial skill of this agriculture champion has been recognized by the government and he won the prestigious Horticulture Expo Award. Dheeraj Kumar said that there was no looking back for him after he opted for the State of the Art technology viz drip irrigation which besides lowering the water dependency ensures More Crop Per Drop. He advocated for adopting best practices and deviating from the traditional methods of single crop cultivation which offers better dividends. He also suggested the use of Neem-based pesticides which are organic in nature and rules out the chance of carcinogens in the produce. Kumar says over 200 farmers from different parts of the J&K has visited him to have first hand information and to use his experience to turn their fortunes as well. He made a fervent appeal to J&K youth to optimally utilize the revamped schemes and subsidies being offered by the government in agriculture and allied sectors.