He leads the way in integrated farming
DHARWAD: It took a dedicated, retired agricultural scientist to turn around marginal land into commercially yielding mango orchards. V.S. Korikanthimath from Tegur village in Dharwad taluk adopted an integrated farming approach resulting in a bumper crop this year, even while there were complaints of low yield across Karnataka.
His work began some 17 years back when he began mango cultivation on 27 acres of land in Tegur. Mr. Korikanthimath, former director of ICAR Research Complex in Goa, wanted to do something for his village so that others would benefit from his knowledge and expertise. His inspiration was his mother Sangamma who had taught him to give back to society.
He bought some marginal land and began work in earnest. “There was no point in drilling a borewell. We hired water tankers to water the saplings. We also made arrangements for rainwater harvesting. It was a kind of “trip irrigation” as we had to pay for every trip of the tanker,” Mr. Korikanthimath joked. “As part of the integrated approach, tank silt and mulch material was used as the base on the fields. We started pest management as the plants began to grow. Strip cultivation of other foodgrains was done between two mango plants,” he explained.
He employed 75 per cent of organic farming methods. “Tank silt can substitute potassium and nitrogen, so we made use of it. Neem leaves help in pest management. Apart from mulching practice and effective weed management, proper canopy development was also done. This is what I would call an integrated approach,” Dr. Korikanthimath said.
This year he reaped 3 tonnes of Alfonso variety of mango per acre.
His methods have encouraged several farmers in the village to follow suit. “My village got its name Tegur for having large number of teak trees. My dream is to make it famous for growing mangoes and to get good returns for the farmers,” Mr. Korikanthimath said.