Last week i had to go to go a seed shop in Pune city to buy seeds. I needed 40 kgs of wheat & 30 kgs of Harbara. Just for both these the bill came to Rs 1,750/- I was taken aback. I scrutinised both the seeds bags, read each & every word written on it, hoping that there was an error in the bill. But no such luck. Seeing my discomfort the manager of the shop came up to me & asked what was the issue. I said since i was shocked by the price, i was making sure that the bags were fresh & also was seeing who was the manufacturer & doubly making sure that they are not from the rogue companies etc.
The manager was sizing me up, he called me to his cabin & asked me where the farm is etc & he tells me the prices of seeds are high & he shows me that the seeds for wheat in fact have come from Delhi & it would’ve been much cheaper if he had got it in Maharashtra.
I said: Sorry & i disagree with you & i took out a packet each of Brinjal & Papaya from a seed company based in Maharashtra & showed him the price. A few grammes of Brinjal seeds were priced at Rs 250/- & a few gms of Papaya were priced at Rs 550/-
It cannot get more ridiculous than this.
I told him i hope i am buying my Wheat & harbara seeds for the first & the last time from you. Since i am serious about my venture to create a Seed Collective, so hopefully i may not have to come back to you next year. I also hope that fewer farmers will go to seed shops to purchase seeds & they will have their own seeds to sow etc !!
He gives me a suspicious look !!
Then i tell him i have put in Rs 1,750/- for the seeds, preparation of the land & labour (including harvest & post harvest) approximately will cost me Rs 5,000/-, so i need to get wheat worth Rs 10,000/-
He says do not expect anything worth more than Rs 2,000/- of wheat
He was point-blank that i will not get anything more than that
I said C‘mon, i am confident
Then he pushes a book towards me & says only if farmers follow principles in this book then only will they survive.
One look at the cover of the book and i pushed it back to him.
He asked me Why ?? Have a look at least, it’s a treatise ! You will get satisfaction from farming only if you farm like this, otherwise within 3 years you will give up farming..… saying that he pushes the book towards me again.
I stopped him from again thrusting the book towards me & said: I‘ve read this book, plus i know Bhaskarbhai very well. I’ve visited his farm & met him more than a hundred times. Even today while in doubt vis-a-vis anything i always call him for advice.
Suddenly the manager had a smile on his face & he says: If that is the case you have nothing to worry, plus it also means you have already taken an insurance policy for your farm, not many farmers do it. Congrats, i am so happy to meet you blah, blah, please give me your address, contact nos, definitely would like to come to your land sometime & wish you all the best etc….
Amazing isn’t it: a man making a living selling chemical products from rogue seed companies, with probably a godown full of seeds, pesticides & herbicides from Mahyco, (Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer & its ilk…. actually advising me that non-chemical farming is the only way forward for a farmer.
& i leave the shop with my belief reinforced that the only way forward for a farmer is to have his/her own seeds to sow & not to be dependent on these rogue seed companies…….
I leave you all with two snaps of the rice field which will come up for harvest in about 20 days time & incidentally the 30 kgs seeds for rice were given to me by a farmer from a neighbouring village & he did not take a single paisa from me !!
I ended up having to buy wheat seeds because there are no farmers in the neighbourhood who are taking a rabi crop.
Peace, love & one more last drench in the rain !