What inspires farmers and why is their job so important? Sudhindra Kulkarni explains:
Why did you want to be a farmer?
Since childhood farming fascinated me. I grew up in a farming community and interest in growing crops came naturally to me.
What crops do you grow?
I grow Bt cotton, wheat , pigeon peas , ricechickpea and jowar (sorghum)
What impact do pests and disease have on your crops?
Pests and diseases have always threatened farming. I have spent sleepless nights worrying about the pigeon pea pod borer, for example. Pod borers almost devastated my crop and I almost abandoned farming.
We used to have problems with the cotton bollworm too. Then came the commercialization of GM cotton. We started to plant it a dozen years ago and it transformed our lives. Finally, we had a way to beat the bollworm pest, increasing our yield from one ton to four tons per hectare. Cultivation of GM cotton still demands dedication and discipline, but now I have technology on my side.
In general, how important is it to have access to crop protection products?
It is imperative to have access to crop protection; without it, it’s impossible to grow crops. Farming is a constant struggle, but before the advent of GM cotton, it was a losing battle. The bollworm pests attacked our crops relentlessly. We fought them as best we could, but our harvests were meager. I thought I would barely scrape by, as my father and grandfather before me had done.
How big are the challenges to feed the world?
Challenges in my profession are more profound than ever due to growing pressure from dwindling resources, unassured rains, decreased ground water, unpredictable weather, and highly fluctuating market prices.
What inspires you about your job?
Every profession has got challenges and agriculture is no exception. What inspires me to overcome these challenges is to lead a self-sufficient and respectable living. I must able to feed my family, give good education to my children and to make some savings for my old age. Above all growing crops and feeding the world gives eternal satisfaction.
Sudhindra is a mixed farmer from the remote village of Jevargi, Kalaburagi district, India.