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It gives me great pleasure to again get in touch with you through inmathi. It has been quite a long time since I spoke to you. It was a self-imposed sabbatical that has ended. I am back again with renewed vigour and energy to talk to you through this column.

More than talking, it will be sharing of information, dear friends. As many of you might know or for those who do not know, I have spent nearly two decades as a journalist writing about agriculture. It is not only as a journalist but also as a fellow farmer that I know and experience the frustrations, anguish and happiness that you all go through. I can experience it only because I am also a plougher.

In my long years of travel, I have seen farmers who have achieved great glory, farmers who had lost all their possessions, farmers who have tripled their produce, farmers who have used technologies to help save their crops from timely disaster, and farmers who were able to harvest good yields from small land holdings.

I have been witness to several small farmers who, amidst problems, were determined to harvest a good yield and succeeded. Yet for every one farmer I documented, there remained 10 more in the dark, waiting for some light to fall on them.

I have in several meetings and conferences been vociferously voicing my strong opinion for the need of a separate law on organic farming and thankfully the government has created a separate law for organic agriculture. But the work is far from over. What we need is marketing. If marketing our produce is stabilised, we as farmers can breathe easy.

In the coming months, I will be sharing my anecdotes, stories not only from Tamil Nadu but from other states as well, stories on water conservation, stories on organic farming, stories on farm inventions and, most importantly, stories of grit, determination and the never-die-attitude of a vast majority of our friends so that we may draw and get more inspiration from them.

I will share the contact details of the farmers I will be talking to in the column so that you can directly contact them for any questions. I am attempting an exercise that has not been attempted in the past in agriculture journalism. My aim is to try and encourage or rather try to inspire at least one non-farmer to take up farming. If that is accomplished I think my work as an agriculture journalist would have been fruitful. What more can I ever aspire for?

Till we meet again, take care…and let us be proud that we are also serving the nation.

M J Prabu

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