8 incredible Indian Farmers who won The Padma Shri

Priyanshi Pareek

The recent Padma Awards, declared on the eve of Republic Day, celebrated the achievements of eight farmers. It’s an incredible moment for an agrarian nation that venerates agriculture as its backbone. Recognizing and honouring these farmer friends is a significant step towards giving them the well-deserved appreciation they need.

Rajkumari Devi

Rajkumari Devi, an Indian farmer, received India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri. Born into a financially struggling family in Bihar, she married young due to poverty. However, post-marriage, she initiated self-help groups and employed many impoverished families through organic farming. 

Bihar’s CM Nitish Kumar acknowledged her efforts, honouring her with the Kisan Shri award. Hailing from Anandpur village in Muzaffarpur district, Bihar, she completed her matriculation after marriage. Presently, she is the proud owner of the Kisan Chachi Brand.

Babulal Dahiya

Babulal Dahiya, a prominent figure in Indian agriculture, requires no introduction among those familiar with the field. Hailing from Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district, he is renowned for his advocacy of organic farming and conservation efforts. These remarkable contributions led to his receipt of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award. Today, Dahiya’s museum proudly showcases his accomplishments, preserving and honouring India’s rich agrarian heritage under his custodianship.

Recently inaugurated on January 15, the museum serves as a sanctuary for 250 tools that were once extensively utilized by farmers in Madhya Pradesh’s Baghelkhand region. These tools exhibit a diverse array of materials, including stone, metals, alloys, bamboo, wood, and leather.

Located in Pithorabad within Satna district, Babulal Dahiya’s museum finds its home in the very community he calls his own. Positioned 15 kilometers away from the district headquarters, the museum stands as a testament to the agricultural legacy of the region, preserving the invaluable tools and heritage of farming practices.

Vallabhbhai Marvaniya

Vallabhbhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, an Indian farmer hailing from Khamdhrol village in Gujarat’s Junagadh district, gained recognition for popularizing carrots among Gujaratis. His notable contributions led to him being honored with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2019. 

Additionally, in 2017, he received a National Award from the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan for his remarkable efforts. Marvaniya’s innovative work also earned him the prestigious ninth National Grassroots Innovation Award in 2017, highlighting his significant contributions to agriculture and innovation.

Kanwal Singh Chauhan

Kanwal Singh Chauhan, an esteemed Indian farmer from Haryana, is renowned for his significant contributions to crop diversification within the agriculture industry. His pioneering efforts were acknowledged with the prestigious Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in January 2019. Furthermore, in August 2011, he was honoured with the N. G. Ranga Farmer Award by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, further underscoring his impactful role and dedication to agricultural advancement.

Kanwal Singh Chauhan, originating from Aterna in Haryana’s Sonipat district, began farming at 15 and revolutionized the market by introducing locally cultivated baby corn in 1997, significantly reducing its price from ₹4000 to ₹70 per kg. Expanding his enterprise to canned baby corn production, he employed over 200 individuals by 2019. 

He founded the Gulab Fruits & Vegetable Growers & Marketing Cooperative Society in 2001, promoting agricultural diversity and establishing a canning unit in 2012 to minimize waste. Additionally, he initiated the Integrated Unit for Mushroom Development in 2008. Chauhan, President of Sonipat’s Progressive Farmers Club, faced threats after supporting the Modi government’s agricultural reforms during the 2020–2021 Indian farmers’ protest.

Kamala Pujhari

Kamala Pujari, a tribal woman from Koraput, Odisha, stands as a prominent advocate for organic farming. Her passion for traditional farming led her to acquire foundational techniques from the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Jeypore. Pujari’s substantial contributions to the realm of organic farming earned her the prestigious Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award.

Kamala Pujari, a determined tribal woman from Patraput Village in Odisha’s Koraput District, champions the preservation of indigenous paddy varieties, safeguarding numerous native rice strains. Her impassioned efforts mobilized communities and advocated against chemical fertilizers, encouraging the adoption of organic farming among farmers in her area. Despite lacking formal education, she has preserved over 100 paddy varieties and rare seeds, emerging as an inspiring figure for sustainable agriculture, soil fertility enhancement, and a beacon of guidance for future generations.

Jagdish Prasad Parikh

Jagdish Prasad Parikh and Hukumchand Patidar were honoured with the Padma Shri award in Agriculture by President Ram Nath Kovind during the 2019 Padma Awards. Jagdish Parikh, a notable figure in Sikar district, Rajasthan, achieved a world record for cultivating a 25.5 kg cauliflower, utilizing organic techniques. His innovation, the “Ajitgarh Selection” cauliflower variety (15 kg), earned him the 1st National Grassroots Innovation Award in 2001. Parikh’s dedication to agro-innovations led to multiple accolades, including Intellectual Property Rights for his high-yielding and pest-resistant crops in 2017.

Bharat Bhushan Tyagi

Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, born in 1954, is a respected Indian farmer, educator, and trainer hailing from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. In recognition of his remarkable contributions, he received the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in 2019. Tyagi is actively involved in organizing weekly training sessions for farmers in Bulandshahr, having imparted knowledge to over 80,000 individuals. Notably, he was honored with the Progressive Farmer Award by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, further highlighting his significant impact and dedication to agricultural advancement.

Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli

Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli, an esteemed agriculturalist from Andhra Pradesh, India, was honoured with the Padma Shri award in 2019 by the President of India for his remarkable contributions to organic farming. Notably, he selflessly dedicated his Padma Shri award to the farmers, reflecting his inspirational and altruistic nature.

Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli, born in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district, has dedicated his life to agricultural advancement. He launched magazines like Rythunestham, Pasunestham, and Prakruthi Nestham to share farming knowledge. Moreover, he established the Rythunestham Puraskaram awards and the Rythu Nestham Foundation to support farmers and promote natural farming techniques. His exceptional efforts in organic farming earned him the prestigious Padma Shri award from the President of India in 2019.

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