Sunday, March 11, 2012

Use of right crop and fertilizers can improve farm productivity in India

Indian farmers demonstrate their innovative capability.

The articles below from Deccan Herald and The Hindu clearly illustrate that Indian farmers can be innovative given the knowledge encouragement and assitance. These people are hard working and dont ask for much. High level cash crops need to be encouraged along with use of right amount and type of fertilizers. However since it is only one crop one needs to encourage the growing of other oil crops such as Thyme, ginger, rose, mint etc so that oil can be extracted. These oils are used heavily by cosmetic industries such as fragrance, aromatic oils, soaps etc and pure oils fetch as much as 8 dollars per 25ml of oil in the west. Encouraging farmers to grow these types of crops which allow them to get good profit. This inturn has a huge economic benefit as these farmers lives improve and they will send their kids for further education. Farmers are suffering due lack of agricultural centers in rural areas. In India agricultural officers have to be placed close to rural areas like in the west. One can't have agronomists located in cities. Schemes like "Bhoo Chethana" are heading in the right direction as they are encourging use of different fertilizers not just nitrogen based ones such as Urea and has demonstrated clearly to farmers that they can acheive good production out of crops including paddy. Indian agricultural growth can easily reach 10% if this kind of initiatives are used. India can become self sufficient and can even begin to export in a serious manner.

Aromatic crops provide good returns in hilly regions

M. J. Prabu
The Hindu

The fragrance from these aromatic plants keeps wild animals at bay
Experiencing unexpected losses in agriculture due to adverse climate or pest attack is a common feature in the life of farmers. Even the best technologies fail when they have to gamble with adverse climate. The problem is all the more acute for those living in hilly regions bordering reserve forest areas.
Because apart from the vagaries of climate, farmers also have to keep track of movements of wild animals in their fields which cause sudden and disastrous loss both to the crops and sometimes to human lives.

Mrs. Puttiyamma, is a lady farmer of Bargur hills in Erode district of Tamil Nadu, successfully proved that all the above stated facts are not a deterrent when it comes to growing crops in the hills and successfully marketing them. Mrs. Puttiyamma owns about 4 acres of land and is presently growing Rosemary in about half an acre.

Rosemary group
“I was growing ragi and double beans and reaped only a minimum margin. With no alternative I sought other casual jobs to meet my family’s basic needs.
“I heard from sources in my village about MYRADA KVK (Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency — Krishi Vigyan Kendra) which is encouraging farmers in our area to grow Rosemary (an aromatic herb) and are also helping them to market the same produce by forming the rosemary group (Group of farmers with common interest being to market Rosemary),” she explained. She joined the group and started cultivating the crop. Rosemary thrives well both in irrigated and dry land conditions and is not disturbed and grazed by any wild animal because of its aroma.
As it is a perennial crop there is no need for investing money for seeds and land preparation every year and the crop provides a stable income.

Harvesting tonnage
Mrs. Puttiyamma harvested around 2 tonnes/year of fresh leaves and earned about Rs.20.00 per kg of fresh leaves in the past three years. “I have earned about Rs.40,000 per year from 1/2 an acre of land under rain fed condition whereas the returns from rest 3.5 acres of Ragi crop and beans have been only half of this income. My income kindled the interest of other farmers who also started growing the crop,” she said.
Oil extraction

As there has been an increase in the number of farmers who took to Rosemary cultivation the District Rural Development Agency, Erode funded the establishment of an oil extraction unit nearby.

The unit reduced the herbage loss during transport and has been able to increase the income to about Rs.3,600 per acre besides providing employment to the rural youth.
The tribals of this region grew crops such as ragi, double beans, tapioca, turmeric and some fruit varieties. But due to constant incursion by wild animals from the bordering reserve forests many of them could not succeed in their farming operations, explained Dr. P. Alagesan, Programme Co-ordinator, Myrada Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
“When some of the tribals approached us for guidance our team visited the area and after careful study realized that aromatic crops can be safely grown there as the climate is cool and favourable and also the fragrance emanating from these aromatic plants will keep the wild animals at bay,” he says.
Clear understanding
Myrada krishi vigyan Kendra encourages group approach to get fair price to the product. A clear understanding between marketing agencies and growers committee is ensured. The tribals are made to interact with officials Hope — an organization in Nilgiris — are pioneers in the cultivation and promotion of the crop.
In order to get additional revenue in the rosemary field/garden, other long term crops such as Tea, Eucalyptus citridora can be encouraged as a border crop, says Mr.Pachiappan, of the Kendra. The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University conferred an award on the lady farmer.
To speak to the farmer readers can contact Dr. P. Alagesan, Programme Co-ordinator, Myrada Krishi Vigyan Kendra, No.272, Perumal Nagar, Puduvalliyampalayam Road, Kalingiyam – Post, Gobichettipalayam – 638453, Erode District, Tamil Nadu, e-mail :,, website :, Phone : 04285 241626, 241627.

Mint leaves make farmer smile
Published in Deccan Herald , Kadur, Mar 10, 2012, DHNS:

Hardwork coupled with interest and knowledge on crops can help a farmer to survive even in drought affected Kadur taluk. This has been proved by Lokesh of Bantaganahalli in Kadur taluk. By growing pudina (mint leaves), he has become model for others and has been fetching income for his livelihood.
When the monsoon failed, he started growing mint leaves in his arecanut plantation with the help of borewell water and started earning good income.

Before planting the mint leaves, the land should be levelled and the soil should be mixed with the manure. The mint leaves can be grown between the arecanut trees. The mint leaves plants should be grown with a distance of 20 to 22 cm. One can plant during any season. The plant will start sprouting within 15 days. The plants should be watered at least four times in a week.

“By applying DAP 20:20, mint leaves grow faster. To check diseases affecting the mint leaves, one need to spray metacid. With less expenditure, pudina can be grown. The fully grown mint leaves can be harvested within two months,” he says. “One will have to spend a sum of Rs 9,000 for growing mint leaves in an acre land. However, after harvest, it will fetch Rs 75,000 per acre. There is great demand for mint leaves in Shimoga and Bhadravathi. One thousand bunches (each bunch will have 10 to 12 plants) is sold for Rs 600,” says Lokesh.
Mint leaves remind us of chutney. It is rich in protein, fiber, and iron.

Paddy production shoots up by 20 pc in Kodagu

Srikanth Kallammanavar, Madikeri, Mar 10,2012, DHNS:
Bhoo Chethana Scheme breathes new lease of life

With the implementation of the ambitious project of the state government ‘Bhoo Chethana,’ Kodagu district has seen 20 per cent increase in the production of paddy and 25 per cent increase in maize. The scheme has brought smile on the face of the farmers.
In 2011-12, as many as 58 villages in Kodagu district were included under the project. The government had implemented the project on a pilot basis two years ago. The scheme aimed at supplying nutrients and micro nutrients needed for the agriculture lands at subsidised rate through cooperative societies. About 17,000 hectare of land under paddy and 2,000 hectare of maize was included under the scheme.

The scheme covered 4,434 hectare paddy grown area in Madikeri taluk, 6,665 hectare in Virajpet and 6,000 hectare in Somwarpet.
Farmers were given 60 tonnes of dolomite, 16.5 tonnes of borox, 53 tonnes of zinc sulphate and 43 tonnes of organic manure through 47 cooperative societies. Owing to the scheme, the paddy production was 1,53,254 tonne while the maize was 20,844 tonne, said officials.
The scheme was implemented in the following villages. Madikeri—Maragodu, Hoskeri, Kantharu Moornadu, Makkandur, Napoklu, Ballamavati-Nelaji-Peroor, Kaggodlu, Makeri, Made, Katakeri, Bettageri, Heravanadu, Thavur.
Somwarpet—Ganaguru, Yalakanur, Masagodu, Adinadooru, Thakeri, Kiragandur, Yadavanadu, Yaduru, Kalkanduru, Soorlabi, Garvale, Chettalli, Nellihudikeri, Nanjarayapattana, Guddehosu, Koodige, Nidtha, Gopalapura, Shivaralli, Avaredalu, Huluse, Shanthalli, Thaltarashettalli, Kumaralli, Tholur Shettali and Doddatholuru.

Virajpet—Kannangala, Hosur, Kirugur, Hudoor, Thithimathi, Kanoor, Nittur, Devanoor, Ponnappasanthe, Kadangamaroor, Palangala, Betoli, Maithadi, Nemmale, K Badaga, Harihara, Porad, Hudikeri and Haisodlur.

Land selected
The success of Bhoo chethana has inspired the agriculture department to select 32,500 hectare land during 2012-13. This include 29,500 hectare for paddy and 3,000 hectare for maize.

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