This guy from Assam has taken farming to a whole new level – Meet Neelam Dutta
Biswanath Chariali, a small place on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Assam has many attractions for which it has become one of the favorite destinations among people. The contributions of the locals towards its development are immense. In recent years, many youths have also come forward to work for the betterment of local people. Their main motive is to uplift others by generating employment opportunities as well as highlighting the key areas for of self sustainability. One such youngster is Neelam Dutta, who has not only created a niche for himself but also helping thousand of others through his organic farm ‘Pabhoi Greens.’
People nowadays hardly think of coming back to their natives and do farming. Higher education and technological development have let everyone taste the luxurious life in the metro cities, which one can otherwise hardly dream about through the traditional means of sustainability, like farming. Going against the grains, Neelam, a second generation farmer has chosen farming instead of working for any corporate, because he strongly believes that farming is in his blood.
Neelam’s father, Lt. Dr. Hemen Dutta had a great passion for farming. He was a Govt. Doctor, but he quit his job and started farming on their own land. In 1978, he started a fishery and cultivated rice on some barren land. Neelam continued the legacy of his father after his death.
Pabhoi Greens is completely an organic farm that grows and maintains more than 80 varieties of rice, indigenous to the states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, ensuring preservation of quality and genetic purity. The farm also grows different exotic vegetables, ethnic fruits, mushrooms and grows maximum varieties of seasonal flowers. Organic rice cultivation is done in an area of 6 hectares with a yearly production of approximately 22.5 tons for both indigenous & HYVs.
More than twelve varieties both indigenous as well as local fishes are reared and bred in a total of 30 fisheries. The farm also produces milk and has recently started honey farming. The farm also produces a huge amount of organic pesticides from cow urine, cow dung and also prepares vermicompost. The farm produces of Pabhoi Greens are supplied across the North East. This year, the farm is planning to preserve the seed varieties by skipping the commercial production totally so as to preserve the indigenous seed varieties.
At present, there are 34 employees who are working in the farm. A few of them have been engaged with the farm for more than 30 years. Neelam bears the educational expenses of the children of these employees. Many children have already passed out 10th and 12th and are pursuing higher studies in colleges.
I give utmost importance to the education of these children, because education is the key and I want the next generation of these employees to be educated so that they can flourish in different fields, says Neelam Dutta.
Neelam also provides training programs to the farmers, different institutions and students. Interesting point here is, anyone who is interested to learn organic farming techniques can visit Neelam’s farm and can stay there as long as he wishes to, without any cost. So far, Neelam has trained many local farmers as well as many youngsters for free of costs. The institutions like Mcleod Russel, Luxmi tea, WWF, Aaranyak, Tata Trust, WTI etc. approach Neelam to conduct different training programs on organic farming and fisheries across North East as well as in different places in India. Last year, more than 4000 individual training programs were conducted by Neelam Dutta.
Neelam Dutta was selected for the exchange program between the Government of India and Government of Thailand on organic farming and agro-based industries. In 2014, he received India’s best Organic Haladhar Farmer award. In 2013, he was awarded with the ‘Food for the Future’ award by the Balipara Foundation. The Mahindra group awarded him with the National Farmers Award (Krishak Samrat) in 2016. He is also the recipient of the National Farmers Award (Harit Award). Neelam has received Ambassadors Grant 2016-17 from ETH University, Zurich.
Neelam Dutta’s Pabhoi Greens is none less than a paradise; probably that is the reason why Pabhoi Greens is getting more and more number of visitors day by day. Neelam has set a precise example by taking farming to a whole new level. Pabhoi Greens will certainly astonish anyone who consider that farming is a lost world concept. This Assamese youth has not only paved his ways through organic farming, but also helping thousands of others to sustain and be economically stable through farming. Not only Assam, but whole of India needs more such youngsters like Neelam Dutta.