From two hectares the farmer gets a net income of Rs. 3.5 lakh a year

An Integrated farming system assures livelihood security to a small farmer by integrating enterprise and resource utilization.

Mr. C.N. Narayana Hebbar an enterprising and dynamic farmer from Bela village, Badiadka Panchayath, Kasaragod, Kerala has around 2 hectares of land. He developed the farm on a sloppy undulating terrain by successfully adopting suitable soil and water conservation methods such as stone pitched bench terracing, and digging rain water storage pits.

Different crops

The farmer grew crops like coconut, arecanut, banana and pepper along with a well established dairy unit. He integrated high yielding, fodder grass varieties, vegetables, cocoa, bee keeping, vermicomposting, biogas plant etc.

Mr. Hebbar succeeded in incorporating all these components to enhance the productivity as well as profitability of the system as compared to the farming system model practised earlier.

“I grew fodder grass varieties such as Co-3, Co-4 and Co-GG3 in an area of one hectare of coconut garden, with micro sprinkler irrigation system. The amount spent for the purchase of paddy straw drastically reduced to Rs.50 per day, as compared to Rs.400 per day prior to fodder harvest,” he says.

The change towards organic farming became possible through effective recycling of crop wastes to highly valued vermicompost by adopting vermicomposting technology developed by the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute (CPCRI) for which, he got trained at KVK.

The dairy unit comprises 11 cows out of which five are in milking. The farmer sells around 75 litres of milk per day. The cattle shed is clean with rubber mats spread on the floor and milking is done by a milking machine.

Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry plays a crucial role in the overall sustainability of the system not only as the major source of income but also by improving the nutrient recycling and providing energy for household cooking purpose through two biogas plants.

The bio-gas plants of capacity of three cubic metre each, are built underground with the inlet pipe inside the cattle shed and the slurry is collected in a big tank outside.

“Bio-gas slurry is directly pumped to coconut, arecanut, and fodder grass after ensuring proper dilution. In this recycling model, even crop residues such as arecanut leaf sheaths serve as valuable, low cost source of nutrients for livestock,” explains Mr. Hebbar.

A chaff cutter installed near the cattle shed simplifies the workload in terms of cutting bio-wastes for composting and cutting fodder for cattle. Through the establishment of 10 honey bee colonies he aims at better pollination and higher yields other than honey production.

Production

The average production from this system is 90 coconuts per tree in a year, 1.7 kg of dried arecanut per year, 1 kg dried pepper per vine, 10 kg banana per plant, 1.5 tonnes of vermicompost, 75 kg of honey, 110 tonnes of cowdung, 170 tonnes of fodder grass besides household consumption of bio-gas.

According to him, the net returns from his farm of around two hectare area comes to about Rs. 3.5 lakh per year.

Self sustaining

“This is a self sustained integrated farming system model wherein 90 per cent of nutrient requirement is met through farm level processing of waste bio-mass produced in the farm itself, which is one of the basic principles of organic farming practices.

“Adequate irrigation facilities are provided through two farm ponds and one bore well whereas round the year household requirement is met through a suranga – the unique water harvesting structure of Kasaragod district,” says Dr.George V.Thomas, Director of the Institute.

This farm serves as a training resource for KVK trainees and farmers in and out of the district.

To talk to him readers can contact Mr. C.N.Narayana Hebbar, Chowkar house, P O Bela , Via Kumbla, Kasaragod, Kerala, Phone: 09446222192 , 04998247234.