Ray of hope
An integrated farming is a panacea for crisis in agriculture sector, if we consider success story of a farmer at a hamlet in the taluk. For farmers who are in distress due to crop loss due to vagaries of nature and fluctuating prices, the innovative approach seems to provide a ray of hope.
With his success in integrated farming, Veeranna, a farmer in Seegehalli, has set a model for farmers dependent on either single-crop pattern or poultry for livelihood.
Bovines and earthworms fulfill the requirement of compost for his field where he grows variety of crops, vegetables along with mulberry for silkworms. Besides, the bio-gas plant fulfils the need for fuel in kitchen. Sheep of rambouillite breed, cows of native breed, oxen and poultry are among the livestock Veeranna has nurtured. Mulberry required feed over 1,000 silkworms a month, ‘raagi’, cashew, tur, coconut, mango and vegetables are the main crops cultivated in his farm.
The benefits of integrated farming are many, he explains. Demonstrating the models he has set up, Veeranna says the organic waste from the ‘gobar’ gas plant provides nutrient to the plants in the farm. The urine from the cowshed, which is collected in a pit, is mixed with the green waste from the farm. The liquid will be sprayed in the field through drip irrigation system. The residual solid waste makes for the rich organic manure.
Veeranna’s approach to sericulture is also innovative. He has set up a shed using painted sheets to keep bamboo trays in which silkworms are kept. The Odisha-model of this silkworm shed is useful in maintaining the desirable temperature in all the seasons and is strong enough to sustain the gusty winds. The shed is spacious enough to boil 1,000 cocoons.
The shed that was built at a cost of Rs 6 lakh has proved beneficial, he said. Last year, farmers in the neighbouring Doddatekahalli and Marappanahalli suffered loss due to damage caused to the sheds by the gusty wind and heavy rain. But, the shed in his farm didn’t suffer any damage.
Veeranna says the integrated approach requires comparatively less investment while the profit is high. He says he has spent Rs 20,000 on construction of cowshed. He has availed a subsidy of Rs 10,000 given by an organisation for promoting organic farming.
He has got a subsidy of Rs 4,000 for construction of pits for vermicompost, which cost him in total Rs 8,000. The venture that began with two kgs of earthworms has now grown into 10-kg earthworms. The vermicompost produced in excess will be stored for use in future.
He has grown 10 quintals of horse gram on acres of land and 25 quintals of raagi on three acres this year.
The use of vermicompost for vegetables acts as a natural deterrent to pest attack.
Another advantage of using the organic manure is that he could grow mulberry without using pesticides for the silkworms.
Besides, he has also grown different variety of mangoes through grafting. Use of machines to harvest raagi, grass and vegetable leaves has reduced his dependence on the labour, as shortage of manpower is one of biggest problems facing the farmers today, Veeranna says.
Farmers need to avail subsidies given by the government for natural farming involving bio-digest, compost and vermicompost. As silkworms will die if pesticides are sprayed to mulberry, organic manure and natural deterrents can be used to check diseases and pests.
“There is an urgent need to create awareness among farmers on the integrated approach to agriculture,” said Rajanjinappa, Savayava Krishi Parivara Sanchalaka.