The high-tech precision farming started in the district last year is getting popular as more and more farmers in different Panchayats of Chittur are going for it due to its high productivity and good profit.
Last year 24 farmers were engaged in the new precision method of cultivation in a small area of just 2.25 acre. But this year more than 100 farmers have come forward for precision farming covering an area of more than 25 acre of area in the Grama Panchayats of Perumatty, Eruthiampathy, Vadakarapathy, Pattancherry,
Muthalamada and Nalleppully of Chittur taluk, a major vegetable cultivating area of the district.
They have formed precision farmers’ clusters to take up vegetable cultivation in large scale for selling it within the State and also outside.
They are also exploring the possibility of exporting these vegetables from precision farms in a big way.
The pilot project of precision farming was implemented by Perumatty Service Co-operative Bank last year by cultivating banana, chilli, brinjal, capsicum etc.
The capsicum is sold to Delhi by sending it by train in special trays daily. They are asking for the supply through out the year in huge quantity, the farmers said.
This year the farmers have added Tomato and Cucumber in their farms. They are also trying to produce these vegetables off season period so that they could fetch good price.
The Supervisor of the precision farm of the Co-operative Bank Mr. Ramesh said that from 52 cents of the farm they sold Chilli worth Rs.86,000. The cost of cultivation was around Rs.20,000. It took just five
months to finish the harvest of chilly that earned a profit of over Rs.60,000 in a period of just six months time.
The precision farming mainly in vegetables helps to maximize productivity. The whole exercise was maximum possible production in the given land with water resource and environment conditions.
Precision farming used Fertigation, an improved method of supplying nutrients through drip system with water soluble fertizers. By adopting this practice there is 25 per cent saving of fertilizers and complete utilization of applied nutrients by the plants, said K. Krishnankutty, a leading farmer of Chittur.
The nutrients were supplied in required quantities at critical phases of crop growth to maintain the vigour of the plants through out the crop period.
The uniform field stand of the crop helped the farmers to obtain 45 to 50 per cent increased marketable yield compared to conventional system of cultivation.
By using the drip irrigation method the farmers were able to save 40 to 60 per cent irrigation water when compared to surface irrigation in vegetables. Thus the farmers could increase the area under irrigation with the savings in irrigation water.
Therefore precision farming is most suitable in water starved and rain shadow area like Chittur, Mr. Krishnankutty said.