Kerala, where farmers are faced with prospects of poor yield and low income, could well take cues from the success story of a farmer who is earning a net annual income of Rs. 3.5 lakh from two hectares land by adopting integrative farm techniques and optimum resource utilisation.
C. N. Narayana Hebbar (43), hailing from Bela in Badiadka Panchayath in the district has set himself as a role model for the cash-strapped farmers in the State thanks to the synergistic integration of enterprises and optimum resource utilisation.
Mr. Hebbar has developed the farm in the sloppy undulating terrain by successfully adopting suitable soil and water conservation methods such as stone pitched bench terracing and digging rain water storage pits.
His traditional farm had crops like coconut, areca nut, banana and pepper along with a dairy farm.
However, the support from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), here helped him to go for integrating high yielding varieties of coconut, areca nuts, fodder grass, vegetables, cocoa along with bee keeping, vermin composting, biogas plant.
Mr. Hebbar incorporated the components in such a way that it enhanced productivity and profitability in relation to the farming system model practised earlier, KVK sources here said.
The most crucial intervention was introduction of fodder grass varieties Co-3, Co-4 and Co-GG3 in an area of one hectare of high yielding coconut garden with micro sprinkler irrigation system.
The practice has drastically reduced fodder expenses to Rs. 50 from Rs. 400 a day when he depended solely on paddy straw.
The complete switch over to organic farming became possible through effective recycling of crop waste to vermin compost, bio-gas plant and with the technology developed by CPCRI for which, he was trained at the KVK, Mr. Hebbar told The Hindu on Monday.
The dairy unit has 11 cows and produces nearly 75 litres milk a day.
Dairy farming plays a vital role in the sustainability of the system not only as a major income source, but by culturing soil and enhancing the nutrient recycling and meeting energy requirement for the household, he said.
He also has set up 10 honey bee colonies (Apis cerana indica).
The average production from this system is 90 nuts from a coconut palm a year, 1.7 kg of dried areca nut one kg of dried pepper per vine, 10 kg banana from each plant, 1.5 tonnes of vermin compost, 75 kg of honey, 110 tonnes of cow dung, 170 tonnes of fodder grass.
Mr Hebbar said he earned a net annual income of around Rs. 3.5 lakh as the integrative farming ensures 90 per cent of nutrient requirement through bio-mass produced in the farm itself, one of the basic ingredient of organic farming practices.
Senior KVK and CPCRI officials has lauded and termed Mr. Hebbar as a role model farmer worth emulating by farmers across the State.