Farmer takes the organic route to raise grapes

Collector V.Santha inspecting a vineyard at Esanai in Perambalur district.  

A farmer of Perambalur has successfully raised a vineyard by cultivating the ‘paneer’ variety of grapes adopting organic practices.

It was a successful return to grape cultivation for R.Perumal, 47, alias Surulirajan whose vineyard was destroyed in heavy rain and flash floods in 2005. He gave up the crop but has raised it again on about 30 cents on his four-acre land after attending a training programme on organic farming and sustainable practices organised by GREAT, a voluntary organisation, with support from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under its capacity building for adoption of technology initiative.

Mr.Surulirajan, Managing Director, GREAT Perambalur Farmers Producers Company, had taken up grape cultivation in 1999 after seeing vineyards during his travel to different parts of the state and country as a truck driver. “I had raised a vineyard then too though I had been using chemical fertilizers. Last year, I decided to cultivate grapes adopting organic methods. Not only the attempt was successful but fruits are also tasty,” he says. With vineyard located close to the Perambalur-Athur Road on Esanai, many people flock to his vineyard to purchase the fruits. He has used shade nets on the sides and bird nets on top of his vineyard. He had to make an initial investment of about ₹2 lakhs. There is not much recurring investment except for organic inputs and labour. He has installed a micro irrigation system to irrigate the crop from his well.

The crop can continue to yield up to 25 years if it was well taken care of. On an average, fruits can be harvested five times every two years. He has recovered his investment after two harvests. “I get a yield of about 2.5 tonnes and make a profit of about ₹2 lakhs after every harvest,” he said. He is going to raise the crop in another 50 cents. He says farmers can cultivate grapes by adopting organic methods.

Collector V.Santha, who inspected his vineyard and a fertilizer retail outlet run by the Great FPO, urged officials to sensitise farmers to organic farming.

Many farmers have come forward to take up grapes cultivation, said L.S.Naveenkumar, District Development Manager, NABARD, Perambalur. “We plan to support about 15 to 20 farmers on a project mode towards increasing area of coverage under the crop in the district,” he said.

NABARD has extended support two FPOs in Perambalur district and extended a grant of ₹11.4 lakhs each. The GREAT FPO has a fertilizer, seed and pesticide outlet at Esanai after obtaining requisite licences.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 10:15:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/farmer-takes-the-organic-route-to-raise-grapes/article32939813.ece

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