Nalbari district situated some 80 kms from the Guwahati city of Assam was once the pivotal ground of activities by the separatist outfit operating in Assam, United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). However, today the same region is generating income and employment opportunities through the mode of agriculture.
A number of people living in that area have given up their guns and have taken to agriculture and are working hard to cultivate vegetables and fruits that they can sell to earn their living.
According to a report in the Indian Express, it was a group of six friends who motivated other and got together to bring this change in the area. One of them told the daily that they first thought of opting for a government job but after a number of tries, figured that they have to pay bribes. They even considered private companies but they did not pay them enough. After which, they requested over 42 families residing in the village to lease them small parts of their land and started cultivating potatoes and pumpkins in that small area.
He further said that they earned Rs 3 lakh after working for over a year. Today, they have 300 bighas of land and have involved a number of villagers in helping them make the region an agricultural zone. They now, not only cultivate potatoes and pumpkins but gourd, mangoes, cabbage, banana, tomato, brinjal, beans cauliflower and so much more.
“In 2016, just the pumpkins that we grew on 150 bighas fetched us over Rs 17 lakh, and gourds about Rs 1.4 lakh,” Phanindra Haloi, one of the six men told the daily.
It must be noted all these six men did try working their way out by either working in a bookstore or working as a professor and even as newspaper hawker. However, It was only agriculture that these men found their regular source of income and also encouraged others in the village to do so.
“These six men have become a kind of role model for the other people. At present, at least half-a-dozen such groups have come up in Nalbari in the last two years. What’s more, these farmers are hardworking educated, have access to information,” programme officer for organic farming in the Assam agriculture department, Bangshidhar Kalita said.
They not only sell their produce in the city and the neighbouring regions but also export in Bangladesh and are looking to expand their horizon further.