Village Beer, Beer Valley, District Haripur
“Organic Chacha” as he is known by the locals, is a man in his sixties, but full of energy, enthusiasm and eagerness for ideas. It was this very eagerness that made him hear out what Majeed RSP for NMA had to convey to him and it was this very energy and enthusiasm that made him embark on becoming a progressive small farmer.
Abdul Khaliq belongs to village Beer, in Haripur District, where he owns a small piece of land (approximately 1-2 kanal) and also keeps cows, buffaloes and goats, hence his subsistence is on livestock, a little produce from his small piece of land and contributions from his employed son. Majeed mostly grows vegetables and small fruits to cater to his household.
“My hard work has brought me a great benefit. I am a rural man who believes in the rural way of life and that is what appealed to me when I heard the message Mian Majeed RSP delivered. Previously I used to apply local methods and then I never bothered if anything grew or not, leaving it all on Allah. But if I don’t try hard then why should Allah bestow only his blessings? Majeed’s message about pure methods, and pure produce appealed to my rustic nature. His teachings regarding returning to the use of dung (as a compost) instead of fertilizers and avoiding pesticides really made sense”.
Under the Nutrition Project, Khaliq was given seeds for vegetables like cucumber, round melon, tomato and was also showed how to grow the seeds off season in low tunnels, a completely new concept for Organic Chacha. But he did not shy away from it and his first attempt was to grow round melon and cucumber. Although low tunnels are less expensive as compared to the high tunnels, yet crop yield is comparatively low. Soil preparation, spraying and picking can also be difficult in this type of tunnel. But for crops grown on a small scale such as cucumbers, melons, watermelons, bitter gourds, squashes, and snake gourds etc. it can be quite a success as it requires tunnels at early development stages. “Instead of planting tomato seedlings in March, we were picking tomatoes in February”, says an amused Chacha.
Abdul Khaliq got to learn about intercropping as well and this year he grew vegetables along with wheat on his plot. With the intent to just grow for his family’s consumption, but even after gifting to his neighbours, the vegetables grew to a surplus selling of which brought extra cash. “I realized that not just the ideas but the seeds given to us were also of a very good quality. I have kept the seed of round melon for sowing next season which shall serve as parent plants for seeds”, Khaliq explains the ancient concept that the first fruit a plant bears is best for making seed, “so we usually leave it for seed. Likewise we store the best corn as seeds from our maize field”.
Organic Chacha knows well what makes a farmer green, “I did not use any kind of spray nor any artificial fertilizer. And I avoided giving excessive water, water was given only when required by the plant. I learnt that if the plant is excessively watered, the plant will grow bigger but the fruit will be small”. Abdul Khaliq plans on learning how to make compost though recalls the times when cow dung was used as fertilizer, (but finds compost making a novel idea). This time he did not use chemical fertilizers on his wheat crop and his vegetables. He says “My vegetables are healthy as I used the river water to grow them unlike the other areas where they irrigate the fields with dirty water”. Abdul Khaliq says growing vegetables is a therapeutic activity and it is his genuine love that has sparked interest in his neighbours. When Khaliq plants his vegetables in the low tunnels, he always remembers to share the seeds. “This is what Allah intends and orders us, share knowledge with the world, do not
Abdul Khaliq declares himself a rural man with rural way of life. He won himself the title of Organic Chaha as he transformed his little patch of land into green by practicing low tunnel farming and intercropping. All he practiced was pure agriculture with no application of artificial inputs. Considering nutrition sensitive agriculture as a therapeutic activity he claims his vegetables healthy and clean.
keep it locked up and the benefits shall definitely reach you in return”.
 Urdu for Uncle
Dear Syed Abdul Majeed Shah please share the updates of this story now. How many people got inspired by the interventions means how many replicated it etc. thanks