The nondescript Jasauti village in Pahari tehsil of Bharatpur district, situated at the Rajasthan-Haryana border, has emerged as the “Bhindi Gaon” (village of lady’s fingers), sending over a dozen vehicles with the popular vegetable everyday for six months in a year to Gurgaon and Delhi. Eighty per cent of agriculturists in the village are engaged in the farming of lady’s fingers.

The transformation in both the social and economic status of farmers in the village is the outcome of their own hard work accompanied by proper planning and effective guidance with the appropriate interventions by experts. Farmers are getting remunerative prices for lady’s fingers in the market.

About three years ago, Jasauti village, comprising just 150 households, was adopted by Bharatpur-based Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation with innovative plans for development. Experts attached to the foundation advised the farmers to go for horticulture or farming of vegetables in view of availability of water and productive soil. On their suggestion, five farmers experimented with lady’s fingers, which has now been adopted by almost the entire village.

The Lupin Foundation has, this year, made available lady’s finger seeds of a superior variety on subsidy and provided guidance from time to time. Eighty per cent of farmers in Jasauti have left the rabi farming and instead taken up the lady’s finger farming, in which they get the produce by March-end. The popular vegetable, consumed in cities in a huge quantity, easily fetches Rs.3,000 to Rs.4,000 per quintal to the farmers.

With the onset of summer, lady’s fingers start arriving in mandis from other regions and the price of the vegetable drops considerably. By then, each farmer in Jasauti earns an estimated Rs.2 lakh to Rs.3 lakh.

A farmer, Tota Ram, says he has obtained one-and-a-half to two times higher production of lady’s fingers this year as a result of assistance provided by the Lupin Foundation. Another farmer, Dharam Singh, has started sending his children to good schools after improvement in his financial condition. He also grows other vegetables and fruits of the summer season to augment his income.

According to farmer Shankar Singh, lady’s finger farming has helped raise him out of poverty and enabled him to purchase vehicles. He takes his produce to towns as far as Faridabad, Meerut and Hardwar. His income has greatly increased as a result.

Lupin Foundation executive director Sita Ram Gupta said here on Sunday that the farmers who were assisted through subsidy and guidance included 28 belonging to the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category. Most of them are set to break the shackles of poverty. Several traders come to Jasauti regularly to purchase lady’s fingers, while many farmers sell the vegetable on Pahari-Kathaul road.

Mr. Gupta pointed out that the foundation had recently established five women’s self-help groups in Jasauti and launched training programmes in food processing and other avocations for them. Men and women are engaged in plucking lady’s fingers at agricultural fields throughout the day and collect them in sacks for being transported outside.

Agriculturists in the nearby villages have also started taking interest in the farming of lady’s fingers after witnessing the success of the innovative work in Jasauti. The Lupin Foundation has obtained loans on easy terms for farmers from Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for purchasing the seeds of improved variety and is providing guidance to them to make the best use of the vegetable’s production.