He is Mr.Timmana Hegde from Byndoor, Udupi district, Karnataka, India and he is an achiever. He is a pure farmer of India, that farmer which India is in need of. I did a detailed interview of him and I was surprised at his knowledge, vision and his energy to become a farmer, a pure independent farmer.
He left college with the gold medal in BSc ( Bachelor of Science) in College Of Agriculture , GKVK , Bangalore did not applied for any job, did not attend any interview. He came right back to his village and started searching for a cheap land for agriculture. He had only one dream. He wanted to do agriculture and he wanted to build his own farm. He bought 5 acres of land , a pure forest with a stream flowing through it near Byndoor of Udupi district Karnataka. He put a small hut inside his land and started shaping the land and first cultivation. Many called him mad because in those days all the degree holders would easily get a ban job and this guy wanted to do agriculture!
Now he grows rice, beans, vegetables, beetle nut trees, coconut, spices, cashew nuts, beans, lentils and many other things. At home he has a small business of home foods. He has a beautiful family of wife , a daughter and a son where all are proud of his achievement and supportive in every step he takes.!
I spent more than 2 hr with him asking many questions and recorded all of them. I am trying to put the entire summary in 5 questions. These are not the exact words that he told but I made it simple fewer words but more like a summary.
Why did you become a farmer?
When I left my college I did not even applied for a job anywhere. I simply took a bus back to village and start searching for land only for one reason, which is I wanted to become a farmer and do what I learnt. I wanted to build my own land. Many called me mad and even I thought I was mad for the next 2-3 struggling years. There was no electricity. No water. No house to stay. We stayed in a small hut that we built. But I stuck to my dream, my interest. Now I am very happy to be a successful independent farmer! I have a lovely supporting family who all support and work along with me.
What exactly means independent farmer?
In two ways I am independent : One is, I grow rice, beans, vegetables, sugarcane , cashews. But these are sufficient enough for me not to go to market for any food needs. I don’t mean I don’t go to market or buy any other things but we can live with what I grow. I don’t even have to touch the piece of paper called “money” for my basic needs. For other things I sell my crop or home food etc!
Second way is, I do not need anybody, I mean any labour to do my farming. I have machine which can do the harvesting and cutting, I have friend farmers who help each other in some other needs. It is a culture where we help each other, of course no money involved! I make my own bio fertilizers. So I am the independent farmer!
How you started this dream and made it true?
I always wanted to be a farmer like my father was. I left Bangalore immediately after my course completion (BSc Agriculture) looking for land. Fortunately I got these land 5 acres which suited my land which was abandoned before 35 years by the owners. There was thick forest in this area. Many called me mad when I bought this land. Even I felt mad only for the next 3-4 years of struggling days. There was no proper water, electricity no shops nearby, no transportation, no roads it was just one thick forest. We cleared some areas and put 4 wooden logs as pillars and built a small safe place. I stayed there for more than 2 years. When I got married we had a better 4 walled house. With wife coming to my life we were like two bullocks in the cart and started pulling. I did every possible job cooking for others, selling home-made foods, sweets near in by cities but not given up the agriculture!
What are the challenges in agriculture in current day in India?
Many. 10 years before India used to store food for next 4 years. But now we are in a situation that we are counting future crops for the current needs. There is one doctor for every 10 people but there is one farmer for every 1000 people currently. The younger generation is looking for the fast money and forgetting the basic need. So the first challenge is making agriculture popular among the current generation.
There are a lot of research is going on in number of universities across the country but none were coming to farmers.
Farmer is the one guy who might work all the years but lose everything in two days. It might be drop in prices, or too much of rain etc. there is an uncertainty in the agriculture. Youngsters are running away from the agriculture.
The second challenge is proper education of scientific methods in agriculture. I was the first one to buy the harvesting machine in the Talluq. I showed to other farmers here that one can do harvesting and cutting the crops by use of machine resulting in no need for labourers. Earlier 1 acre of land would require 25 people working for 20 days in total during the harvesting and cutting time. Now only one can do the whole cutting and harvesting. My fellow farmers who left rice agriculture many years before, now they all started rice harvesting from past two years. I have a computer room with chairs where I show the benefits of the machines and new technology through media given by agriculture department. It really made a big difference.
What is your message to youths who are running towards city looking for more luxurious life?
It might seem very luxurious life to them but they will not have the health I have got now. I get up 5 a m in the morning after that I don’t remember myself resting till I go to bed in the night. The sleep I get is so peaceful that I will be all energetic and ready for the next day. For me there is no holiday or Sunday. I don’t think anybody not even a doctor is as healthy as a farmer is. So the younger generation should understand mainly who are getting a degree in agriculture and should come back to farming so that there will be a stability in the country. The other people who are in to politics, engineering etc should understand the need of a farmer to the country and they should encourage their children to try hands in farming. The government people should make sure all the research that being done in agriculture field are not just sitting in hard drives and they should reach to farmers.
Many discussions went on between me and Timmanna hedge which are out of context. I was so inspired by his words and his vision. After seeing his beautiful farm land now I am also feeling like buying a land near my native place and fund some people to do like a responsible youngster!