On a Panchakavya mission
BORN INTO a farming community in Tamil Nadu and a doctor by profession, K. Natarajan, moved by the series of suicides committed by farmers in Andhra Pradesh, has come to Guntur district on a mission to popularise the use of Panchakavya an alternative for chemical fertilisers and pesticides minimising their input cost.
Panchakavya, a mixture of indigenously available bio-products mainly comprising products of cow's milk, dung, urine, toddy, banana, sugarcane juice and tender coconut water, it costs Rs.300 per acre if purchased, and costs literally nothing for a farmer who has cows among his cattle, says Dr. Natarajan.
A few enterprising farmers from Anantavaram in Vatticherukuru mandal have arranged for a demonstration on the preparation of Panchakavya on Tuesday.
Dr. Natarajan, who popularised the use of Panchakavya in Tamil Nadu since 1998, said the formula was now being used with some minor modifications for animal husbandry and even for treating the human physical ailments. At his demonstration farm at Kodumudi in Erode district, he had been growing turmeric, banana, paddy, vegetables, and sugarcane, with significant change in the growth of the plants. "There is a significant increase in the leaf area giving scope for enhanced photosynthesis and higher yield," he pointed out.
In Guntur district root bore and stem bore on the cotton plants can be prevented by treating the seeds with them before storage and it can be sprayed on the leaves in the fields. The farmers can prepare the mixture on their own at home and wait for seven days for Panchakavya to be ready for use and it had a shelf life of six months under normal conditions, Dr. Natarajan explained.
The mixture could be used in the treating the seeds 30 minutes before planting by soaking them in them in it for 20 minutes and was found useful in rhizomes of turmeric, ginger and sets of sugarcane.
Cottonseeds treated with this would yield 20 quintals per acre, a quantity farmers do not dream of even with the best of the BT-Cotton seeds. In chillies the length of the fruit increases with a distinct enhancement in colour (red), he observed. Periodicity of application and other details could be had from Dr. Natarajan contacting him over phone no. 0424-261815 or through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tamil Nadu Government had recommended this preparation to the farmers and this covered about 20 per cent of the crops, he said. The Minister for Agriculture, Raghuveera Reddy, had recently visited their farm in Kodumudi. The Rural Community Action Centre established by Dr. Natarajan proposes to improve and popularise Panchakavya to help reduce infertility in humans and animals.
By Ramesh Susarla
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