The Sikh Farming King Of Argentina Called Maharaja By Locals

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BUENOS AIRES – A Punjab-origin Sikh man in Argentina, who started a peanut farm a few years ago, has gone on to become the ‘uncrowned king’ of rice, soya and corn plantations in South America.

Simmarpal Singh’s company Olam, based in Singapore and run by people of Indian origin, is one of the major rice traders of the world, says R Viswanathan, India’s ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

“The Argentines admire this young Indian’s dynamism and adore his turban, thinking that he is a Maharaja,” he says.

Simmarpal now has an area of 20,000 hectares of peanut farms. He grows soya and corn in 10,000 hectares, and has leased 1,700 hectares of land in Concordia in Entre Rios province for rice cultivation.

Argentines neither follow the Indian practice of ploughing the land nor the method of developing a nursery first and then transplanting the rice plants. The farmers here use the ‘no-till’ method, also called ‘direct seeding’.

The seeds are directly planted in the land with seeding machines.

Fertiliser containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous is also added in the same hole where rice is put. Before planting, glyphosate herbicide is sprayed to kill the weeds. Spraying is done from an aircraft.

The rice fields are then watered with a water pump that works almost non-stop for 90 days till the rice seeds ripen. There is a water pump for every 70 hectares and there is a man to take care of the watering for every 140 hectares.

Viswanathan says Simmarpal has impressed everyone with his “Indian-style” hard work and also with the pleasant Latino way in which he manages his Argentine employees.

Sikhs are spread all around the World and have become very successful in various countries with the their hard work and made positive contributions to the economy in those countries. Even in India, Punjab was known as the food basket of India. But somehow rather than being proud of Sikhs and learning the hard work habits from them, there are some wrong elements in India who are very jealous of Sikhs achievements and they always try to treat them as second class citizens. They should learn from Argentine people and Govt. who appreciate and respect Simmarpal Singh for his achievements.