Gulam Mohammed, a farmer from Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district has one of those rare rags to riches stories that prove that consistency and hard work combined with passion can have a huge payoff, in his case literally! The 54-year-old farmer from Jarwal village combined his passion for farming with his curiosity to experiment and has now not only become one of the most well-known farmers in the state but makes a whopping Rs 4 crores annually.
In the early 1980s, a teenage Gulam Mohammed dropped out of school in eighth grade on account of financial restraints and started working with his father on their one-acre family farm where they grew wheat, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables on their one acre of land. However, the family’s financial condition was terrible.
Gulam shares, “Some days we wouldn’t even have Rs 2 to buy food and we would just eat whatever we could from the farm, we lived in a mud house. Education was not a priority, being the eldest of six siblings I needed to take responsibility so I started to look for jobs.”
By 1985, an 18-year-old Gulam started working as a clerk in the Nagar Panchayat earning Rs. 11.50 daily and went on to work there for 21 years. He was content with his monthly salary of Rs. 6600 but he was still very passionate about farming and would keep innovating with that on the side. Gulam would experiment by growing crops that would bring more money. Gulam was a married man by 18 and living with so many financial constraints was difficult too, especially after he lost his job as a clerk.
Luckily Gulam’s passion for farming paid off and in 2000 his investment of Rs 5,500 in bananas got him a profit of Rs 40,000 in one year. The then 33-year-old turned his focus to banana farming and using all of his land and some leased farms he began to grow the fruit on over 24 acres of farmland. And 20 years later, in 2020 when the world was reeling under the effects of the coronavirus pandemic Gulam still managed to earn Rs 85 lakhs.
Other than this he also has a poultry farm, acres of land where Kashmir apples grow, as well as farms dedicated to potatoes, watermelon, and few other crops.
Gulam happily admits, “Now my turnover is Rs. 4 crores from all my farms and businesses. When banana farming was successful it gave me the confidence to keep innovating.”
However, the farmer has made sure that not just him and his family, but also that of his siblings are employed and earning through his many farms. Gulam has not only become a reputed farmer in the state but has also received the ASM Udyan Ratna Award for progressive farming and many other appreciation certificates by the Uttar Pradesh government as well as agricultural institutions.
Gulam may be a success story, but the plight of farmers in India is not unseen, he advises farmers to go for horticulture instead of rice and wheat farming as it is more profitable. Gulam believes his love for farming is the reason behind his success, sharing his mantra, he says, “You should be mad (passionate about) for what you are doing professionally and success is sure to follow.”
This story is submitted by Bilal Khan and edited by Alfea Shaikh.
If you like this story, share it and spread positivity. Tell us your views by writing in the comment box below. We read each one of them.