Home > City news > Shekhawati: Healthy Trees,Healthy Fruits (part 4 )

Shekhawati: Healthy Trees,Healthy Fruits (part 4 )

Thursday, December 09, 2010

With organic farming, the Morarka Foundation has done commendable work in encouraging and popularizing innovative experiments in agriculture across the country, including Rajasthan. A large number of farmers have benefited by associating with the foundation, writes Santosh Bhartiya

KRIPAL SINGH is a laborious and hardworking well meaning farmer of village ‘Dhaayalon ka Baas’. He owns four acres of irrigated land. He is not just hardworking but also open to innovations and the idea of ‘agripreneurship’. He is not just engaged in traditional farming but also grows roses and pomegranates and has a flourishing nursery business.

In the course of time he came to know about the organic farming initiatives of Morarka Foundation. He contacted the agent of the foundation and got acquainted with the methods and advantages of organic nursery development.

About three years ago, he also attended a meeting organized by the foundation along with the nurseries department of the government. He came to know about the funding programme of the department through the representative of the foundation. It was then that Kripal Singh was inspired to found a nursery as he always cherished trees and plants especially fruits and flowering plants. He got a loan of which 50 per cent was funded. The total cost of the nursery stood at Rs.7 lakh. At that time the area was bereft of any nursery and the farmers had to travel to Nawalgarh or Jhunjhunu to fetch plants. The foundation representatives encouraged this farmer to use such organic compounds as organic manure, vermiwash, vermicompost and herbal manure and Morarka inputs.

This small step taken three years ago, has now grown into a mammoth undertaking. Today this nursery has 43 species of plants and trees.

It also is home to 70,000 fruit bearing plants, 26,000 flowering plants, 25,000 shade plants and 2000 decorative plants. Kripal earns Rs. 4-5 lakh a year from this nursery.

Kripal is satisfied with the help he got from the foundation. The organic way to which he shifted under the influence of the foundation has made him not just a man of wealth but has helped this environment and this earth a better place to live in. 

The True Green Revolution
Usually it is regarded that using increased amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides results in higher output and this directly translated into higher income for the farmers. The government also encourages the farmers to resort to this sort of scientific agriculture but the science of this is just confined to the heavy infusion of fertilizers and pesticides.

If for such reasons that farmer suicides have become a common phenomenon in areas like Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Also, another dangerous fallout of this kind of heavy use of chemicals is that it renders poisonous the food grains, vegetables, water and milk by getting into the food chain. All this has put human lives in danger and incidences of heart attack, blood pressure, diabetes etc. are ever on the rise in India.

The chemical content of hazardous and life threatening elements has increased so much in our food that it has turned into slow poison. Due to such farming pattern the fertility of the soil too has been destroyed. It is so as such a heavy use of chemicals renders the fertility to artificially depend only upon chemical compounds. Resultantly, the chemical and physical characteristics of the soil have been altered and there is an increasing depletion of the humus content of the soil.

The moot question that arises is that whether or not there is a viable alternative to such farming method? Yes, there is and the answer is ‘organic-farming’.

The advantages of this new way of farming are many and tangible. Vermicompost has led to increased soil fertility. This way of farming is cost effective because the raw materials required are readily available to the farmer as they are all in-house. The farmer has easy access to dung for compost fertilizer and the leftover of the grains and fruits and vegetables like the leaves etc. provide for other kinds of healthy and natural fertilizers. The Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) provides for good quality organic fertilizer. Vermi-compost is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. It does not harm the soil or pollute the water table. Organic farming is low cost and gives healthy grains which are not harmful.

The Morarka Foundation has done commendable work in encouraging and popularizing such new experiments in agriculture and in almost all states, including Rajasthan, large number of farmers have benefited by associating with the foundation. It has been engaged in giving training regarding production of organic fertilizers from dung and worms, pesticides in the form of vermiwash and herbal spray (from turmeric, cow urine, neem (Azadirachta indica)  and garlic).

The Chauthi Duniya team surveyed some areas where organic farming has spread its roots and tried to separate the grain from the chaff about the matter so that the experience could be shared with the other farmers of the country and they too can benefit.  Such misinformation has been spread that organic farming leads to lower output but this is only half the real picture and only malicious in intent. The real time experience of farmers with organic farming says something different.

Farmers say the output decreases marginally only in the first year and thereafter, increases tremendously. Output by organic method have higher market value and thus it fetches Rs.200 more per quintal.

One such farmer, Omprakash, narrates that conventional farming with chemical compounds inflates the price of production and suppresses their real income . On the other hand organic farming being cost effective fetches higher returns. His income has gone up by about 50 per cent.
 

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