Special Correspondent

They are using innovative methods of farming They are using innovative methods of farming

  • Farmers from Neerumarga and Harekala are using natural farming techniques
  • District needs over 20,000 tonnes of organic manure for 35,000 hectares

    MANGALORE: Farmers in Dakshina Kannada district will use organic manure for the second application of fertilizers to the kharif crop.

    The kharif crop needed three applications as the rainwater continuously dampened the fields and the excess water washed out the fertilizers sometimes.

    But motivated by the model developed by Subhash Palekar of Maharashtra some of the farmers have taken to innovative methods of farming particularly in paddy cultivation this season.

    Nearly 93 per cent of farmers in Dakshina Kannada were small farmers and 7 per cent were big farmers with more than 8 acres arable land.

    In some pockets of the district such as Neerumarga and Harekala in Mangalore taluk, the farmers have gone in for natural farming. Sunny D'Souza, a farmer from Neerumarga had taken up Madagascar Rice Intensification method along with innovative "mulching". It did wonders to his paddy field.

    Mr. D'Souza attended a natural farming camp held by Subhash Palekar and inculcated some of the features of natural farming in his farm in Neerumarga and said the results were good.

    In the mulching method, the field is covered with green waste and water is sprayed when there is no rain. After sometime the green waste would sink into the ground.

    The farmer would then sow the soaked paddy seeds. They farmer might have to do weeding now and then. This method gave him two-thirds more paddy than with the conventional method of paddy cultivation.

    In other parts of the district farmers have seriously taken up production of organic manure. According to sources in the agriculture department, the district needs over 20,000 tonnes of organic manure to cover all the 35,000 hectares under Kharif cultivation.

    At present the total availability was less than 10,000 tonnes, which would give about 30 kg a hectare that would be sufficient for only one application. Hence the farmers would still have to use chemical fertilizers to some extent.

    According to Srinivas Rao Pailoor, Krishi Pandit of Kukkujadka village in Sullia Taluk, natural farming methods existed in Dakshina Kannada for a long time but have been given a scientific outlook by Mr. Palekar.

    The "Jeevamruta" mix obtained by mixing several natural ingredients such as cow dung, water, cows urine and limestone was ideal for growing paddy and vegetables.

    But since the monsoon was so vigorous, many natural farming methods need to be experimented and re-researched before the farmers could adopt them in Dakshina Kannada district.