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Fertilizer shortage? Try organic farming Field notes

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bumper crop: Madhukumar (right) at his field.
bumper crop: Madhukumar (right) at his field.

Madhukumar feels natural farming is the best alternative

At a time when farmers are facing fertilizer crisis, Madhukumar, a progressive farmer of in Chitradurga district, by adopting natural farming has found an alternative and economical substitute to chemical farming.

A dentist by profession, Dr. Madhukumar ventured into farming a decade ago. Coming from a family of farmers, the field is not new to him. However, a critical need to find an economical alternative to chemical fertilizers introduced him to natural farming. “I incurred loss of over Rs. 40 lakh in pomegranate which I planted on a 16-acre land. Despite spending enormous money on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, I failed to earn any profit. This compelled me to search for a better option,” he said.

About three years ago, his search ended when he attended a lecture session of promoter of natural farming, Subhash Palekar. Impressed with the session, he decided to adopt the new and simple technique. “I used the new method in onion plantation which gave heavy yield with impressive quality. I earner Rs. 80,000 an acre which was higher than any other farmer who had used chemical fertilizers,” he claimed.

He said that while chemical farming demands an investment of Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 40,000 an acre for onion plantation, with natural farming the investment could be brought down to Rs. 20,000.

He said that the farmers dependent on chemical farming need to spend a substantial amount on soil changing, poultry and on farm yard manure. This amount could be saved in natural farming.

Dr. Madhukumar said that the vital ingredient of natural farming is “jeevamruta,” which is a mixture of cow dung, its urine, jaggery and water. According to him, one cow could excrete about 10 kg of dung and around 7 litres of urine every day. An acre of land needs only 10 kg dung, 10 litres of cow urine and 2 kg of jaggery. A total expenses including labour cost come around only Rs. 400 for an acre of onion, he said.

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