Hoshiarpur, May 31: The lambra farmers' club in Hoshiarpur has given a new look to farming in Punjab. The 90-odd members of the club are trying their hands at everything, from laser leveling of the soil to diversification of crops and even running beauty parlors. Chander Dev Singh, who is now a rich mango farmer, was trapped in debt until a farmers' club came to his rescue. He was provided with funds by the club to clear his dues and plant an orchard.
He not only diversified his cultivation, but also learnt how to conserve water through channelised irrigation. Today, he is reaping rich dividends from his farm.
"Earlier, I worked on a small scale. Then I took some loan from the club and started my work. The best part of this club is that professional help is available here. I got training from them on developing orchards and vegetables farming. Now, I have started growing peaches and oranges," said Singh.
The club gives loans to help farmers trapped in a debt cycle. This multipurpose cooperative society is determined to nurture the farmers and their land. The society provides new varieties of seeds, manure, urea, insecticides and farm tools all under one roof.
The club has also taken initiatives. It has imported a machine for laser levelling of soil. The machine is loaded to farmers at very cheap rates.
Recently, the club helped a few farmers to visit Andhra Pradesh to study organic farming.
For its outstanding services, it has won four awards for consecutive years including a national honour from NABARD. It has also emerged as the top 'Kisan Club' among 15,000 such societies in the country.
"Such societies need to be formed on a large scale. Most farmers can easily get trapped in debt. If such societies come forward, the farmers can be saved from such massive cost. If all societies work like this, they can generate lots of savings for the farmers," said Jasbir Singh, Director, Lambra Multipurpose Cooperative Society Service Ltd.
To make the farmers' families self-reliant, the society teaches skills in fashion designing, beauty care, jam and pickle making to women who wish start small enterprises.
But its USP remains in its accessibility and easy loans. It hands out money for almost everything, from buying land to studying floriculture and even for marriages.
"I did a one-year diploma course in fashion designing from here so that I could be independent. Now, I teach the girls here and also run a boutique from home," said Gurbaksh Kaur, teacher, Lambra Farmers Club.