ANI Photo | Farmers in Punjab, Haryana reap benefits of diversification with floriculture, pearl farming

India’s diverse agricultural landscape is constantly evolving, with farmers embracing innovative techniques and pushing boundaries to reap impressive rewards.
One such individual is Gurvinder Singh Sohi, a farmer from Nanowal village in Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab, who has established a successful venture of cultivating foreign varieties of flowers and seed production.
farmers in punjab haryana reap benefits of diversification with floriculture pearl farming 1 – The News Mill
farmers in punjab haryana reap benefits of diversification with floriculture pearl farming 2 – The News Mill
Gurvinder had discontinued studies after 12th grade when he failed the Punjab Joint Entrance Test. His uncles, cousins and most members of the extended family had moved to Canada, but he wanted to stay in India and do something different. From mushroom farming, poultry, horse breeding, and selling sweets to customizing swanky jeeps, Gurvinder tried his hand in multiple businesses, but none of them gave him any satisfaction.
He finally got to know about a government initiative to grow Holland Gladiolus back in 2008, which changed his life as he took the big step of replacing his family’s traditional wheat and paddy farming in Nanowal village.
“In 2008, I came to know that the Horticulture Department of Punjab was providing gladiolus bulbs on subsidy. I applied and got 10,000 bulbs. Starting from a 1000-square-meter area, then next year I started cultivating on 1.5 acres of land; thereafter, on three acres and more. Rest is history,” says Gurvinder.
He also came in contact with a Netherlands-based organization through the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU). The foreign experts visited him and shared technical knowledge and advice on management issues. Later, he also visited Holland, accompanied by a professor from the PAU.
The experience gave him an understanding of floriculture market strategies and an overview of seed production. He flourished by exploring markets in the state and selling his flowers and seeds to exporters in the region.
Gurvinder Singh says, “The COVID-19 pandemic was a turning point when I shifted to online selling and contacted buyers directly.”
He claims that there are only five companies from Punjab, that export seeds, and he is the only farmer who directly exports his seed produce.
Over the years, he has now created a profitable floriculture model involving the sale of flowers and their seeds across India and abroad. He has also been felicitated with several awards for innovating farming and grants for inventing machines for floriculture.
farmers in punjab haryana reap benefits of diversification with floriculture pearl farming 3 – The News Mill
Gurvinder shared that Punjab’s climate is apt for the cultivation of all kinds of flowers. He has also set up a cold storage unit to store his flowers before selling them.
farmers in punjab haryana reap benefits of diversification with floriculture pearl farming 4 – The News Mill
“Farmers must adopt floriculture. There is daily income in this business. Diversification is important for income generation. And then you won’t have to go abroad as well,” says Gurvinder.
farmers in punjab haryana reap benefits of diversification with floriculture pearl farming 5 – The News Mill
Cultivating such rare flowers came as a challenge at first, but with his perseverance, and hard work, he did it anyway and has become an inspiration for farmers.
Another example of innovative farming transforming the agricultural landscape is in the village of Buhawi in Haryana, where Salinder Kumar and his friend Rajesh Goswami, have taken up growing pearls right in the comfort of their home.
Their entrepreneurial spirit eventually led them to quit their job in the textile sector and explore the unique opportunity of cultivating and transforming pearls into exquisite jewellery, adding both value and income to their endeavours. They came across pearl farming on the internet and decided to take up formal training at the government’s Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture in Bhubaneswar.
The duo later started their venture in their village in Kurukshetra district with a modest investment of Rs 3 lakh each in the first year. To their delight, the returns matched their investment, providing a promising start.
Salinder Kumar, a proud farmer and entrepreneur, shared, “In the first year, we were two partners. We invested Rs 3 lakh each, and when our return came, on the contrary, we also earned Rs 3 lakh each. So we thought the business was good, and we started working on this big level.”
The duo employs cutting-edge aquaculture methods to ensure the pearls’ quality and quantity, creating a sustainable and efficient system that has proven successful. Moreover, they have ventured into the creative side of the business, crafting beautiful jewellery from the pearls they grow and selling it, thus diversifying their revenue streams.
Rajesh Goswami shared that pearl farming is promoted under the Matsya Yojana by the Centre government.
They felt proud when PM Modi also talked about it recently in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
Their success story is not just confined to their own prosperity, they are actively involved in inspiring and training others in the region to embrace this unique form of farming. As these pearls of wisdom spread, it is likely that more farmers will diversify their agricultural pursuits, creating a more resilient and prosperous future for rural communities

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