Andhra Pradesh

As a teen, he went to a field instead of a college

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At a time when zero-budget natural farming (ZBNF) is yet to catch up in drought-prone Chittoor district, here is one person who bid goodbye to his studies more than two decades ago to devote himself to natural farming.

Jagadish Reddy, 42, of Dhanduvaripalle village of Bangarupalem mandal had but two options — to continue the family’s traditional agriculture or his studies in a polytechnic college — when the time had come for him to shoulder the family’s responsibility, a quarter century ago. The teenager with a heavy heart left college to till the soil. Though he thought of continuing education by shifting to Intermediate stream, his love for natural farming prompted him to devote his full time to cultivation.

As he looks back on the terrain sprawling over 30 acres, Mr. Reddy feels his heart throbbing with joy. "At the age of 17, I cherished the dream of natural farming, to stay away from chemicals and fertilizers. For about a decade, it was a Herculean task to continue the adventure in the face of discouragement from farmers surrounding my fields. It was totally an alien subject to me, but it was my dream," Mr. Reddy said.

At 20, he started cultivating small patches using cow dung and other organic stuff such as leaves, powder of tree barks and the like. Later, he learnt the rudiments of natural farming as to how the Jeevamrutham (a natural spray made out of cow dung, urine and jaggery) could be made and utilised.

Experiments

In 2011, Reddy had the opportunity to meet Subash Palekar, the ZBNF visionary. This changed his mindset once and for all. Since nine years, Reddy could make multitudes of experiments with natural farming.

"For cultivating 30 acres, all a farmer needs is one desi cow. Its dung and urine, processed into two types of contents — Jeevamrutham and Ganamrutham — will work wonders. The entire soil will be healthy and beautiful. Earthworms will just hack their way through layers of soil and enrich the surface," Mr. Reddy maintained.

Award

His association with the New Delhi-based Nutrition and Natural Health Sciences Association as its member was a turning point in his career as a natural farmer. During a span of a decade, Mr. Reddy travelled all over India, visited some of the premier agricultural universities, institutes of health and nutrition. In recognition of his services, he received the best natural farmer award from the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

So far, about 50 agricultural scientists from all over India and South East Asian countries visited Mr. Reddy’s farm to observe the methods of natural farming.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 2:16:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/as-a-teen-he-went-to-a-field-instead-of-a-college/article30066917.ece

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