Bolangir: A migrant labourer couple has become self-reliant by fighting all odds in a dry and non-irrigated region like Muribahal block, infamous for migration in Bolangir district. The couple – Gourang Pattnaik and his wife Baidehi Pattnaik of Tetelkhunti village under the block – has achieved selfreliance by growing vegetables on farmlands taken on lease from other villagers. However, with their sheer grit they have brought a turnaround in their fortune by growing vegetables on their farmlands.
A few years back, Gourang and his wife had no choice than to migrate to other states to earn a living. But now with their hard labour and determination they are leading by example in the area.
However, things took a different turn when the couple migrated to Chhattisgarh with their three sons to work in a poultry farm on Raipur outskirts. There they saw some farmlands lying close to the poultry farm. There the couple witnessed how horticulture is profitable and it is helping the farmers to lead a descent life. There they learnt how vegetable farming requires very less water.
Later, they returned to their village and decided to take up some land on lease from co-villagers and start cultivation. They borrowed Rs 20,000 from a co-villager and got 4 acre land on lease from another near a small rivulet called Kankada Jora and cultivated watermelon. They reaped a good harvest and profit from the cultivation.
However, the next year he failed to reap the same quantity of harvest. He was pondering about recovering the losses when he came in contact with an official of a voluntary outfit who taught him to take up mixed crop farming with the assistance from the Horticulture department. They used to leave for their farmland early morning and spend the whole day there cooking food, clearing weeds, applying manure to the plants, planting saplings and watering the crops. Gradually, they became very popular among the farmers’ community in the district.
Encouraged by the advice, he took seven acre of land on lease and cultivated vegetables and applied organic manure for better harvest. Since then, there has been no looking back for the green couple. Gourang said he has earned around Rs 60,000 to Rs 1 lakh from broccoli cultivation on half acre of farmland. Moreover, he has also earned Rs 40,000 from chili cultivation, Rs 1 lakh from pointed gourd and Rs 60,000 from long beans cultivation.
Deputy director of Horticulture department Prafulla Kumar Bhanja said Gourang and his wife have become an example for others to emulate. The couple who once worked as migrant labourers has been able to engage five casual labourers in their farmlands. Collector Chanchal Rana lauded the couple for selecting the right alternative and becoming self-reliant through horticulture. The state government has also been encouraging farmers like Gourang, he said.