Andhra Pradesh

Chittoor farmer strikes gold with natural farming

Jagdeesh Reddy at his fields near Bangarupalem in Chittoor district.

Jagdeesh Reddy at his fields near Bangarupalem in Chittoor district.

Natural farming, though a much-talked about, but practically a non-starter to many farmers in Chittoor district, remains the lifeline of Jagadeesh Reddy (40) of Danduvaripalle village of Bangarupalem mandal.

A polytechnic drop-out, he found himself tilling the land like most farmers, dumping chemicals and fertilizers indiscriminately on the soil and raining fungicides on the crops. After several years of farming, Mr. Jagadeesh realised that “producing food with chemicals is a sin against humanity.” He took a vow never to dabble with fertilizers, but to make natural manure himself. After five years, his 40-acre land near Moghili ghat is thriving with bumper yield.

After meeting Subash Palekar, who authored Zero Budget Natural Farming concepts, in Tirupati in 2012, Mr. Jagadeesh bought two desi cows. In the initial months, it was a gruelling job — preparing the “jeevamurtham” (cow dung mixed with water) and applying it on the tilled land; and preparing fungicides and insecticides with neem leaves, jaggery and cow-dung. It started with low yields amid uncertainty, coupled with disappointing words from neighbouring farmers. An unrelenting Jagadeesh continued his crusade against chemical farming. Now, his produce includes naturally grown paddy, groundnut, millets and mangoes. “Natural farming is not expensive. Dung of one desi cow is enough to cover thirty acres,” he said.

Mr. Jagadeesh, who attended a number of seminars and symposiums of various national forums supporting natural farming all over India, maintains that natural farming is the right solution to end farmers’ suicide. “High cost involved in chemical farming is one prime reason behind the tragic scenario,” he said.

Once adoptive to natural farming, the farmers would soon realise that the soil would gradually start booming with new strength, inviting earthworms and micronutrients from beneath, Mr. Jagadeesh says, adding: “Beneficial organisms and friendly insects would replenish and trounce the harmful pests.” With the support of Nutritional and Natural Health Sciences Association (NNHSA), Global Outreach Health Summit and pro-natural farming forums, Mr. Jagadeesh conducted training programmes for young farmers, besides undertaking campaign to promote health consciousness among the public, involving IT professionals, medical faculty and university professors.

The NNHSA CEO, Nicky Dabbas, made Mr. Jagadeesh an active participant in research studies on nutritional values in natural farming.

. “My mission includes three objectives: practising natural farming, sharing the knowledge with co-farmers and general public, and to connect the naturally grown food from lab to people,” he says.


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Printable version | May 14, 2022 9:19:08 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/chittoor-farmer-strikes-gold-with-natural-farming/article19102279.ece