Pappu Singh, Smallholder Farmer in Uttar Pradesh, India
Like many smallholders in the region, 53-year-old Pappu Singh works his fields from sunrise to sundown to support his family. He grows green chili on his almost 2-hectare farm in Uttar Pradesh. This crop is Pappu’s livelihood.
Pappu’s entrepreneurial spirit drives him to learn new farming methods and find new ways to support his family and community. Some quick facts about Pappu:
- Owns 2 hectares of land in Varanasi, India
- Has farmed green chili for more than 26 years
- Is the proud father of 2 daughters
Click on the story updates below to follow Pappu’s journey with Better Life Farming
Updates of Pappu Singh’s story:
Spicing up market prices and delicious dishes
For me, chili is the heart and soul of an Indian meal. I like to think about how my chilis spice the food of millions of dishes in India and around the world. Dishes that put a smile on both the cooks’ and guests’ faces. That’s why it’s my aspiration to grow the best quality of chili I can. But I also want to sell my produce at the right price. Before I joined Better Life Farming, I didn’t have access to serious buyers, so I was forced to sell my chilis at a lower price to middle men at local markets. I lost a lot of money this way. Today, I have doubled my income thanks to credible off-takers which puts a smile on my face too.
The multi-facet farming job
I play so many roles as a smallholder farmer that it sometimes feels as if I´m many people in one person. Basically, I am a manager and a laborer at the same time, so I have to be the first one on the field in the morning and the last to leave. If I can afford, I hire field workers to help me during land preparation. I have to guide them and distribute the work for efficient results at the end of the day. But hired workers cost money so I also work beside them with my hands in the soil. I really have a very diversified job; one I am very satisfied with.
I grow my knowledge to grow my business
For me, farming is passion. There is a lot of hard work involved but the feeling when you see the first seeds sprout is all the more rewarding and that’s why it’s really frustrating if my crops die because of diseases or pests. This is the reason I take advantage of the regular Better Life Farming trainings. I want to expand my agricultural knowledge; be aware with what crop disease or pest I am dealing with and how I can quickly take action. At the end of the day, the dedication I put in my field will feed my family and help me to grow my business.
Rethinking my irrigation practices to grow more with less
Most of what I know and practice in the field I learned from my father and he, in turn, from his. Irrigation is one of them. I have never questioned this practice because, why should I? Flooding my fields to irrigate my crops has always worked out so far. So, when Better Life Farming approached me with an alternative system that irrigates with just drops of water at a time, I was more than skeptical. Today, I am happy I implemented drip irrigation. I can actually grow more than I ever did before by using fewer valuable resources like water, fertilizer and most of all, time.
Growing a better life
Farming has always been a part of my family. After I completed my education, I returned back home to join my father in his fields. Slowly, I developed a passion for farming and have been a farmer ever since. A decision I don’t regret. When I see my green chili plants grow, the ones I sowed with my own hands, I feel a sense of pride. I have given them life, take care of them and in return, they offer my family food, income and a better livelihood.