Pintoo, an inspiring farmer

46789_10151395843964383_847585757_nPintoo is an inspiring farmer from Sunderbans who has trained about 1000 farmers in techniques of sustainable organic agriculture. Anandabazar Patrika (a Bangla daily newspaper) wrote about Pintoo’s role in spreading sustainable agriculture in the area. AID has been working with farmers in the Sunderbans after Cyclone Aila salinated the land in May 2009 and Pintoo has been one of the main coordinators and trainers in Mathurapur II block for the sustainable agriculture initiative.
July 20th Anandabazar Patrika: click here
Pintoo Dreams of Turning the Entire Block to Organic Farming
Pintoo Purkait from Kasharipara of Paschim Jatar island is 34 years old and has finished class X. The farmers in the area know him as the organic teacher. According to the government agriculture department, he trained close to 1000 farmers to take up organic agriculture. Pintoo has also encouraged and supported landless families to grow vegetables around their homes in jute bags and wicker baskets. Pintoo works in the Kankandighi and Nagendrapur Gram Panchayats where 1700 hectares land is cultivated organically out of a total of 5300 hectares – almost 1/3rd. This ratio is much higher compared to other Panchayats. This area has bypassed others in growing rice, vegetables, pulses and fruits sustainably.
Pintoo is a self motivated farmer. This year the block agriculture department awarded him Krishi-Ratna for being an exceptional farmer. Of the Rs 10,000, he has spent a significant proportion in buying books about agriculture and he intends to spend the rest towards his work on sustainable agriculture.
Sunil Maiti from Mondolpara,Mrityunjay from Girpara utilize most of their land to do organic farming. According to them – sustainable farming is giving them more producing more at lower costs hence greater profits. More farmers are being drawn to it. After Cyclone Aila in 2009, water from the sea salinated the land. Pintoo started working with Mukti, a local NGO, to rehabilitate the land using organic inputs.
The agriculture department concedes that the work being done by Pintoo should have been done by the Krishi Proyukti Sahayak (KPS). But there are very few KPS. The agriculture director of Mathurapur-II block, Malay Roy says, “There should be 27 KPS in this block, but actually there are just 3. Hence we have to rely on people like Pintoo.” He claims that of 19,000 hectare land in the block organic farming is done on 3800 hectare. Five years ago, it was 750 hectares.
Pintoo says that,” In 2009 the agricultural department had trained few farmers. Most of the farmers did not pay much attention to the training but I would discuss these issues every week with the farmers in our local club. I earned their trust by showing them the results on my field.” Now Pintoo has the responsibility of holding monthly training and going to the farmers on a daily basis to resolve problems. He explains to the farmers how chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not only harmful to the land, crop, water and human health.
Organic fertilizers and pesticides are not easily available on the market. Pintoo trains farmers to make the bio-inputs at home using the locally available resources. This lowers the input costs. costs. Pintoo grows rice, vegetables, fruits, pulses, oil seeds, fish, and does poultry farming throughout the year. His wife Shakuntala also joined the group 5 years ago and sells the produce. The couple dreams of their area being chemical free one  day.