All the farmers, especially the farmers in the modern generation are interested in adopting innovative techniques to increase the production of their crops or to reduce the cost of production.
For which either they follow the advise of agriculture experts or simply emulate the agriculture practices of the progressive farmers in their area. Though many among them will try to to develop their own techniques but, very few among them can only succeed in their attempt.
Aji Thomas of Kunnel,42, a marginal farmer at Ambalavayal in Kerala's hill district Wayanad, is belonging to the latter section of farmers .
The innovative method developed by Mr. Aji is most promising at a time the world is focusing on aerobic rice production, P.K. Abdul Jabbar, Assistant Professor (Agriculture Extension) Krishi Vijnan Kendra at Ambalavayal under the Kerala Agricultural University says.
'This method is a promising one in providing climate resilience to the rice farming sector, Dr. Jabbar says adding that productivity of many of the traditional varieties can be increased many fold by applying the unique technique.
Mr. Aji has developed the bio slurry pellet method of cultivation, a combination of direct way of sowing seeds, and the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) after conducting nearly 15 trial and error experiments on his 40 cents of land.
He had started the experiments nearly two years ago by inserting two or three rice seeds in a specially prepared mixture of cow dung with bio control agent (Pseudomonas) and bio fertilizer (Azospirillum, a Potassium mobilizing bacteria).
The mixture was tied in small cotton pouches and in turn the pouches were attached to gunny ropes at definite intervals. But his first attempt was in futile after birds destroyed the gunny bags laid on the field.
Later he conducted nearly 14 different experiments with a financial assistance provided by the NABARD for the project and finally he developed the bio-slurry pellet method.
In this method he used a rubber mould with 64 holes to make pellets for the purpose. Wherein each hole was filled with 25 grams of the enriched bio slurry mixture and inserted one or two rice seeds on it before it was set. He also added 25 gram fenugreek paste (for bonding the mixture) as well as 5 gram each of Pseudomonas and Azospirillum with a kg of bio slurry.
He discharged the dried pellets in the field, after drench it nearly six hours, at a distance of 25 x 25 cm spacing. He used as many as 64,000 pellets on an acre of land for the purpose.
“The pellets can be sown manually. Rows are made facing east to west so that the germinating plant gets ample air and sunlight. This method saves both time and money and the need to prepare a nursery for paddy plants does not arise,” he says.
'By adopting the conventional nursery method, paddy crops take approximately 160 days to mature while using this technique it takes only about 140 days. The average yield of rice from an acre in the area is 1,400 kg. But under the innovative method it has increased to 22, 000 kg from an acre, Dr. Jabbar says. The manual labour have come down to six persons an acre as against 25 manual labour an acre ,including transplanting rice plants and weeding, in traditional agriculture practices, Dr. Jabbar adds.
The pellet method will be a boon to the members of the Self Help groups of women who cultivating rice on leased land, Dr. Jabbar said adding that the KVK would train women Joint Liability Groups under the 'Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana' project to scale up this technology in leased land rice farming. Mr. Aji was conferred the best farmer scientist award by the Kerala Agricultural University in 2008 for his invention of a device to tap rubber plants. For More details contact: Mr.Aji Thomas, Kunnel house , Malika, Ambalavayal P.O, Wayanad district, Kerala. Pin code-673593.Land number-04936261291,Mobile number-+919495788460. Caption- Aji Thomas and his family members engaging in making bio slurry pellets. 2) Aji Thomas counting tillers of a paddy plant cultivating under the bio- slurry pellet method.