Monday, 8 April 2013

Organic Farming Success Wows Farmer!

Mansukhlal Patel, a farmer Birpur village of Satna district never believed a wheat panicle could grow more than 24 centimetres. Now he does and thanks SAFBIN for giving him reasons to believe.

Wheat panicle (right) measuring 24 cms
SAFBIN programme, implemented by Caritas India, had started the promotion of adaptive agriculture in Mansukhlal’s village 2 years back. The programme has been helping smallholder farmers develop efficient agriculture models by blending indigenous practices and scientific agriculture methods. Smallholder farmers of Birpur, in the past two crop seasons, had refined and implemented several improved rice and wheat models on their farms. Mansukhlal, however, was not a member of smallholder farmers’ collective since he owned 4 acres of land which was more than the landholding threshold specified for a member of the collective. Though he was not a member of the collective, Mansukhlal regularly attended the meetings of the farmers’ collective.

As part of initiative to indigenise agriculture practices, which is a major component of SAFBIN, smallholder farmers were trained on preparing various botanical solutions for improving soil health and developing herbal solutions for repelling pests. “In one training on nutrient management I learned about Matka Khaad (manure fermented in pitcher pot) that could be made entirely with the materials available in my farm. I prepared Matka Khaad with cow urine, cow dung, gram flour and jaggery (molasses) and administered twice on the 25-decimal wheat field”, Mansukhlal says. He trusted the efficacy of Matka Khaad so much that he also slashed the application of chemical fertilisers by over 80 per cent, which was a calculated risk. Mansukhlal reduced the use of DAP to just 4 kg and applied Matka Khaad twice on the wheat field. When the panicle emerged, he was pleasantly surprised at the sheer length of panicle and the number of grains per panicle.

Mansukhlal in his wheat field
“I am seeing a panicle of 25cm or more for the first time in my life and that too, in my own field”, Mansukhlal says. Exuding happiness and confidence he said that the standing crop promises a very good harvest. While detailing on other benefits of his experiment Mansukhlal said that the new system of cultivation helped him reduce the input costs significantly. He spent a mere Rs. 60 for preparing the Matka Khaad that was sufficient for 25 decimal piece of land. Mansukhlal said that his wheat field had more robust plant growth and experienced lesser pest attacks as compared to adjacent fields.

“Though all inputs and materials were available with us, we did not know how we could prepare Matka Khaad. We were always told that chemical fertilisers were the only remedy for all agriculture problems. Now I know organic solutions much better than chemical fertilisers”, Mansukhlal said. Having realised the merits of organic agriculture practices, Mansukhlal now says that he would use only organic manure for his wheat cultivation. He is not disappointed over not being a formal member of the smallholder farmers’ collective of his village. “Yes, I am not a formal member of the collective, but informally I am like any other member of the group”, Mansukhlal says while thanking SAFBIN.


By Vivek Tripathi
District Project Officer, Satna, Madhya Pradesh

1 comment:

  1. Nice Documentation Vivek and Saju! Keep it up..