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Integrated farming pays off

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RICH HARVEST:Kudi Srinivas Bhat lat his farm at Kudi village in Udupi district.
RICH HARVEST:Kudi Srinivas Bhat lat his farm at Kudi village in Udupi district.

Staff Correspondent

A small farmer from Udupi wins national award

Kudi (Udupi District): In these days when agriculture is in the news for all the wrong reasons, a seven-and-a-half acre (three hectares) farm at Kudi village, about 18 km from Udupi, shows what a difference a determined farmer using organic farming can make.

The owner of this farm Kudi Srinivas Bhat was among the 101 small and marginal farmers felicitated by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in New Delhi on February 26, for adopting new and green technologies in cultivation.

The change began in this farm about seven years ago in 2000, when Mr. Bhat decided to adopt organic farming technique for the cultivation of bananas. When he found that he had grown more bananas than usual, he was hooked to organic farming. “I adopted it completely in my farm in 2002.”

Mr. Bhat, who follows inter-cropping, grows coconuts, arecanut, bananas, on two acres of land, paddy, pepper and cocoa in one acre and vanilla in half an acre. “I follow organic farming using modern techniques. Organic manure, if given scientifically to the crops, does 10 per cent of work, the rest 90 per cent is taken care of by soil, water, air and sunlight,” he says.

He rears 5,000 hens in his poultry farm. By mixing milk with poultry feed, he has increased the Feed Conversion Ratio and reduced mortality of birds. He does bee keeping. “Honey bees help in pollination of plants,” he says.

As manure for his farm, Mr. Bhat uses poultry manure, bio digester slurry, vermicompost and Japanese method of composting. Vermicompost enriched the soil, while bio digester helped improve plant growth.

He dug trenches in his farm, which helped recharging water for his borewell and an open well.

“Sprinklers and drip irrigation help in optimum use of water,” he says.

By using integrated organic farming, Mr. Bhat's net income has gone up to Rs. five lakh an hectare a year. This is nearly two-and-a-half times more than what he earned earlier.

Mr. Bhat believes that a farmer could be successful when he added dairy farming, honey bee rearing and poultry farming as they compliment agriculture and horticulture. “Integrated farming approach helps a lot,” he says.

As General Secretary of Udupi Zilla Krishik Sangha, Mr. Bhat is active in organising farmers.

He gives practical demonstration of his organic farming techniques to farmers who visit his farm.

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