Private seed companies want to acquire the rights over high-yield seeds developed by Pratap Singh Raghuvanshi, but he wants to give his seeds, free-of-cost, either to the farmers, or the government
When a farmer is in debt and his land is mortgaged, it is possible that the situation moves him to compromise, but farmer Pratap Singh Raghuvanshi has not put up his expertise and talent for sale to private seed companies.
A resident of Tadiya village of Varanasi, progressive farmer Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi has developed several advanced seeds from his consistent efforts and experiments. These seeds cope well in the prevalent climate change and are distributed free of cost by Raguvanshi who also gives training in seed development.
“Life is fickle so I want that my technique reaches and benefits people. My two seeds have been patented, so numerous seed companies are after me to hand them over the seed rights, but the seeds developed by me shall always serve the farmers. If the government provides support, I will give them for free,” said Raghuvanshi over the phone.
Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi has been awarded numerous times by the President for developing high-yield local varieties of wheat, paddy, mustard, arhar, etc. His enterprise is also supported by the National Innovation Foundation.
Advising the farmers who are distraught at the rising input costs and less profit, Raghuvanshi said: “Farmers should form a group and market the seeds. Farmer should make his own seeds and put his own price on it. Many farmers are doing so. Once the farmer earns a decent livelihood, he would ever turn to any other employment.”
Losing his vision to some disease in the beginning, farmer Raghuvanshi had to give up formal education after class IX, but he somehow managed to continue his farming experimentations on fields. Sharing about his journey of advance farming, he said: “During Class X exams, three papers went very well, but thereafter I couldn’t sit for anymore and so had to give up studies. From there I moved to farming and began experimenting.”
The way Raghuwanshi has inherited his love of farming, he wishes to see his two sons also become progressive farmers. He has even begun training his grandson in farming.
“My father was a primary school teacher but was engaged in advanced farming. He used to mingle with the people from the agricultural university or with farmers doing advanced farming. It was his interest to bring newer seeds and methods to farming. Seeing him, I also developed this desire to do something new in farming,” informed Raghuvanshi. “I have lost 70% of my vision, now my elder son has learned everything and it is he who does further experiments. I even take my grandson to the fields. He is also learning to farm,” he added.
The seeds developed by this progressive farmer are named beginning with the word ‘Kudrat’ (nature) as he believes that it has been the nature’s blessings to him.
To every farmer who comes to his house, Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi gives out the seeds that he has developed, absolutely free of cost. He advises the farmers to make their own seeds and sell them while he does the same.
While today’s youth is averse to adopt farming as an occupation, Raghuvanshi has trained his entire family to become farmers. “I would never suggest my children to opt for any other profession. I would tell every child of each farmer of this country to do organic farming,” declared Raghuvanshi.
In 2019, President Ramnath Kovind has awarded farmer Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi with a Life Time Achievement Award. Raghuvanshi had also been to Lal Bahadur Shashtri Training Academy in order to train the future IAS officers.
There has been a huge contribution of his wife in Raghuvanshi’s life. Talking about her he said: “When I used to procure seeds from outside, she used to take of it all. She wished to open up a training centre. She used to say that if I would teach others my knowledge would continue to spread. But she is no more. Her treatment has also put us under great debt.”