Haryana’s Narender Singh had a secure and well-paying job, but over 30 years ago the 57-year-old left his life of stability to chase his passion: pomiculture, and now he is earning in lakhs, helping thousands of farmers, and has even been awarded for his outstanding work in the field of farming. Narender’s story is proof that while ‘patience may be bitter, its fruit is sweet’, and in his case, quite literally.
In 1988, after finishing his Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) from Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Haryana, Narender took a job with the Sanjeevini Drug De-Addiction Centre in Chandigarh where he was making Rs 3200 monthly, which was a great deal at the time. Narender’s father was a farmer and was very happy that his son had a secure job, however, Narender was unsatisfied with his life and wanted to pursue his true passion: organic fruit farming. Then in his late twenties, Narender wanted to be his own boss, and given that he had spent a decent portion of his life helping his father out at their 60-acre farmland, he had developed a passion for it.
Narender decided to move back to his hometown Uchana village in Karnal, Haryana to start his nursery, however, when his mother learned of his plans, she was enraged and kicked him out of the house for leaving a life of security for one of such uncertainty. She expected him to know better since he had seen the family suffer on account of his father’s experience with farming.
In 1990, Narender started his nursery with no outside support investing his own Rs 15,000 that he had saved while working in Haryana. He grew fruits like apple, blackberry, pears, peach, sapota, guava, mango, lychee, among others while cultivating wheat and rice too. Narender is known as the first person who grew almonds in a hot city like Haryana(1996) and named it Rana Ghorbandi Badam. He was also dubbed the Apple Man Of Haryana as he managed to grow apples in the soaring heat.
He shares, “I wanted to start a fruit nursery, I’d research fruits that are grown all over India and then try to grow them in Haryana. I managed to do this with apples and almonds so began to grow them on the farm I inherited from my father along with my three brothers.”
The apple and almond plants that Narender grows are unique and only available at his nursery, hence he receives a large number of orders for them. The fruit farmer now makes Rs 3 lakh monthly which goes up to Rs 10 lakh in February, March, and also during the monsoon. While his business was doing well early on, Narender’s family only noticed how high he was soaring four years after they kicked him out, and seeing their son’s success they embraced him with open arms.
While the fruit nursery was his passion, Narender also took up bee-keeping, crop production, and vermicomposting. And as he gained expertise in beekeeping, he started to guide other farmers and even won Karnal’s ICAR-NDRI’s (National Dairy Research Institute) Best Bee-keeper in Haryana State award but he doesn’t pursue it anymore. He has also won the Progressive Farmer Award by All India Radio (AIR), Rohtak.
Narender also expresses that he has always been passionate about helping farmers and began guiding those in Haryana, teaching them how to grow apples and almonds, and when he successfully managed to do so he moved on to Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and did the same. Thousands of farmers have benefitted from Narender’s guidance, he shares that at least 30 farmers call him daily asking him for guidance and help. Realizing how many people he could help if he had the right platform, Narender started a YouTube channel ‘Rana Gold Apple’ that has thousands of subscribers who wish to learn more about pomiculture.
Narender also adds that organic farming is the present and future, advising other farmers to also go the organic way as it saves the environment, protects the soil in the long run, and also helps those who consume it as it is much healthier than the fruit which is grown using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. While the process of turning a farm organic takes up to 3 years, once the soil has been rid of all chemicals the resulting fruit is much better, healthier, and also cheaper.
This story is submitted by Bilal Khan and edited by Alfea Shaikh.
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