Agriculture with no pollution
ThePalamuru region in Maboobnagar district is perhaps the only place in Telangana state, where famine conditions prevail due to scanty rainfall. People migrate from here in large numbers, as they cannot cultivate for want of water or do not get any other livelihood. However, some people resort for farming depending on rain. But, as they use chemical fertilizers, soil gets polluted. High investment costs and unreliable output push them, ultimately, into debt traps.
Kasireddi Lavanya, a resident of Karuvamka village in Telakapalli mandal, with her hard work transformed a barren land into a fertile farm. She, along with her husband Ramana Reddy used to grow cotton, green chilli, castor and corn in their 25 acres, and apply chemical fertilisers. The over usage of chemical fertilisersled to soil acidification and caused drastic decrease of nutrient levels. This situation gradually created them financial troubles and stuck them in huge debts.
In such a miserable condition, having heard about the benefits of organic farming, they switched over. Over a period, the productivity of soil increased for future crops. Organic practices avoidedhigh investment on costly chemicals, and there by, they were benefitted financially.
How did they convert their farm to organic agriculture
Lavanya said,“For about a decade, like all others, we had used chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and hence the investment on inputs steeply increased. As the investment and the yield were inversely proportional, by 2005 we were stuck with a debt of Rs.5 lakhs. In a particular year we had an income of just Rs.11/-. As the cumulated interest on our debts pushed us into an irrecoverable position, we had only one option of selling some of the land. Accordingly, we had disposed off 10 acres at a very meagre rate of Rs.10,000 per acre, and cleared off some of our debts. Dependence on chemical fertilisers and pesticides made our farming unsustainable, on all fronts.”
“During that period we came to know about organic farming, and realised that it retains the fertility of the soil and also reduces input costs. We immediately opted it and switched over to organic cultivation. Since then, we have been nourishing the soil with composted cow manure and other organic matter, and managing pests by spraying cow-urine infusion. We also used Jeevamrutham, which is the best organic fertiliser for all types of crops, as it nourishes the plants by increasing bio-nutrients in the field. Due to regular usage of Jeevamrutham, both in liquid and solid forms, earthworms come out. Besides this, we spread vermicompost extensively, throughout the farm. Initially, in an area of one cent of our farm, we had grown Crossandra orange (kanakaambaram flowers), and now growing all types of crops in our farm of 25 acres. As organic farming was profitable for us, we could clear all our debts,” she added.
Overcoming irrigation issues
Further she said,“At present, in five-and-half acres we are growing green chilli and paddy on dip irrigation. Remaining are rain-fed crops. Earlier, because of the usage of chemical fertilizers like urea and DAP the water absorption capacity of the soil reduced. However, now because of organic cultivation the soil is able to absorb the rainwater and retain the moisture. Due to plowing and also because of the earthworms’ activity, soil gets loosened and mixed up, facilitating the percolation of nutrients and rainwater. Because of this, even if rains are delayed, our crops would survive. We have grown sorghum, corn, bengal gram, cotton, green chilli, mustard, coriander, wheat, fenugreek, foxtail millets, etc., and got an excellent yield. We have two oxen and two cows.”
Here are the results …
Through organic farming Lavanya could …
- sustain soil fertility.
- earn between Rs.10 to Rs.15 lakhs on a holding of 25 acres.
- process seeds indigenously in the farm itself. She supplied seeds to more than 1000 farmers.
- reduce inputs costdrastically by using indigenous seeds instead of the hybrid, and jeevamrutam and cattle dung-urine infusions instead of the chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
- earn more by fixing the selling cost of the produce by herself. In the same way, the net profit increased as she sells directly to the consumers with no intermediaries.
- creat livelihood to four farm labourers and pay Rs.60,000 per year to each one of them.
Their farm emerged as a model farm, and daily more than ten farmers visit the place and witness the farming methods being adapting.