Other States

Organic farming gains ground in district

Modern approach: Kumaran, an organic farmer, nurturing his organically grown guava plant in Kaniyambadi in Vellore.

Modern approach: Kumaran, an organic farmer, nurturing his organically grown guava plant in Kaniyambadi in Vellore.  

Consortium of farmers demonstrates the value of making the switch from traditional techniques

Organic farming is steadily gaining traction among farmers in Vellore. In the last few years, many farmers in the district have started to move away from inorganic farming to adopt organic means of raising crops.

Started in the year 2016, “Thondai Mandalam Uzhavar Urpathiyalar Niruvanam”, a consortium of 350 organic farmers, has demonstrated techniques to earn higher yields from farmlands.

Farmers from 15 blocks of Vellore are part of the movement.

D. Kumaran, who also recieved inputs from Krishi Vigyan Kendra, a farmer welfare organization run by the government, reaped a rich Guava harvest on his farmlands in Kammasamuthiram in Kaniyambadi block.

“Nothing is impossible in farming. You have to invest your money, energy and perseverance. It will pay you rich dividends,” he said.

Multiple varieties

There are about seven varieties of guava being cultivated in the district. ‘Thailand Pink’, ‘Thailand White’, ‘Arka Kiran’, ‘Lalith’, ‘Allahabad Safeda’, ‘Lucknow 49’ and ‘Arka Mrudula’ , are all high yield varieties of guava fruits, according to him.

“Each guava produced at these organic farms weighs about 400-500 grams. Use of organic seeds and manure of nutrient value make the fruit bigger and tastier,” says Mr. Kumaran.

“Likewise mango varieties of ‘Bengalura’, which when made into juice produces a pulpy nutrient, is assured of quality and a longer lifetime, if preserved properly,” he adds.

“Consumers can purchase organic products at a lesser price than organic shops,” Mr. Kumaran says.

The famers expect a better price for their produce as there are no middlemen involved.

Apart from 30 acres of farmland with guava trees, 100 acres of mango and more than 400 acres of traditional rice varieties have also been cultivated using this method, says Kumaran.

The consortium also provides technical support to farmers who want to take up organic farming.

They are also guided in crop protection.

“We are ready to help farmers who want to get organic certification for their products and also help them in getting training in value addition to their produce,” he says.

Like him another farmer, C. Santosh from Baratharami says that they get technical advise from VIT-Vellore.

“Farmers can be sure of better market value for their produce, if the people understand the importance of organic farming,” says Santosh.

Inclusive project

Women from self help groups like ‘Mahalir Thittam’ are getting training in farming, reaping, segregation, value addition and packing.

“Thanks to the efforts of project director, A.R. Sivaraman, our members are able to get much closer to the buyers through the ‘Nam Sandhai’ market organised on Sundays at Vellore,” Santosh says.

“More support in the form of extending loans to the organic farmers would enable more people to venture into this scientific agri-business,” says Mr. Kumaran.

“Our aim is to turn farmers into businessmen, and once they establish regular contacts with the buyers, they would be encouraged to produce more depending on the requirements of their customers,” he adds.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2020 9:54:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/organic-farming-gains-ground-in-district/article29926236.ece

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