Marutham and Kalanjium back to Bio farming are self help groups farming units for a decade they had switched over to chemical farming and realizing that they are back to Bio farming. Agriculture requires three major resources, land, water and energy. Land, being a fixed resource, agricultural productivity could be linked directly to the availability of water and energy inputs. Land preparation, irrigation, harvesting, threshing and transportation are the main tasks dependent on mechanical energy apart from manure input, seed etc., and a sound package of eco-friendly technologies to grow rice is being successfully adopted by a few progressive women farmers in Pettavaithalai and Amoor area villages in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu. The land was affected by seasonal flood and it has been enriched with bio-input for normalizing the soil conditions of PH value, N-Nitrogen P-Prosperous K-Potash. "The technologies work well with indigenous rice varieties such as Samba. The cost of cultivation is substantially reduced and the organic rice fetches a premium price in the market," say the Marutham and Kalanjium SHG women federations, a pioneer SHGs in organic farming in Trichy District."We grew a medium-duration Samba rice in about 165 acres. The seeds were treated with Panchakavya, and the nursery was treated with plenty of tank silt and Vermicompost as basic ingredient for successful organic farming. Liberal quantities of tank silt were applied and green leaf manure was incorporated a few days ahead of the final ploughing. Biogas slurry was applied through irrigation when the seedlings were just establishing in the main field," SHG women explained.
From beginning, Panchagavya and vermicompost can be effectively used to supply essential nutrients to the trees and prevent pest infestations. Vermicompost is prepared by using earthworms. Vermiwash is the liquid collected after the passage of water through a column of activated earthworms. It is very useful as an organic spray for paddy crops. One round of spray with 3 per cent solution of Panchakavya was given 20 days after transplanting. On the 30th day, a combination of coconut milk and butter milk, mixed in equal volume, in ten times their volume of water was sprayed on the crop to promote active plant growth and tillering. On the 40th day, another round of spray with Panchakavya (3 per cent solution in high volume spray) was given. A bio-insect repellent was sprayed on the 45th day of transplantation. The crop was regularly irrigated, and a grain yield of about 6580 bags each bag of 75 kg from the 165 acres of paddy field. They were also assured of high quality straw for their cattle. The cost of cultivation worked out to Rs. 14,000 per acre. "I sell the output as organic rice at a rate of Rs. 30 per kg, and it makes organic rice cultivation more rewarding economically as well environmentally," pointed out SHG women. They are championing the cause of organic farming in Trichy District of Tamil Nadu.
Eco-friendly method of setting up vermicompost unit promoted by SEVAI played a vital role as Vermicompost established with the support of OFI initially and subsequently for revolving FPV is the basic ingredient for this successful organic paddy farming. In Marutham organic farming Resource Centre, more than 85 per cent of organic crop cultivation depends on vermin compost. Marutham has a unit with a roof with thatches as a cover for their vermicompost manufacturing unit.Murungai, Coconut trees have been planted around the vermin compost yard. “The tree trunks absorb the moisture from the compost unit and grow as individual trees,” K.Devendran the promoter of eco farming says. For the roof, he has used the climbing tendrils of vegetable plants growing near the compost unit.
The plants grow well, absorbing the required moisture from the unit and their leaves provide shade to the manufacturing unit. “In addition to making the compost which they sell at Rs 5-8 per kg, by doing so, he could get double income from the compost unit and the vegetables.” Vellaiammal, a SHG woman farmer says that even if some critics say that organic farming cannot provide the same high yields as chemical farming, the organic farmers argue that at least their land is safe; that they have not invested in buying the chemicals and increasing their cost of cultivation.“If you look at the suicides by farmers in Andrapradesh, then you will understand that all those farmers who committed suicides have built up huge debts. The debts kept growing because of borrowing at high interest rates for buying these chemicals which promised to increase the yield. In the end, it only increased their debts,” she explains. “If only farmers use safer and natural pest repellents and manures then where the question of debt and suicides is,” she enquires. She has been using only organic manures and bio-repellents made from locally available resources. “Chemical control methods have not been found successful in controlling this infestation, compared to organic methods,” K.Devendran explained. “I had purchased the suckers from known sources and from healthy trees. The suckers, before planting were dipped in a solution of 10 per cent Panchagavya and 50 gm of pseudomonas for 3-5 minutes.
For an acre, about 780-800 pits of 8x8 (row to row and plant to plant) were dug and the suckers were planted in them. About 3 kg of farm yard manure (FYM) was also applied in each pit in banana cultivation. The FYM was applied a little distance away from the pit, because if it were applied directly into the pit or near the suckers it would spoil the plant growth due to heat generation. Panchangavya spray was done once every month till the crop was about 5 months old. Farmers were able to harvest his first yield in about 12 months after planting and this Ranipoovan can be maintained for two years.“One bunch is expected to be sold for Rs. 120-130 and the farmers would be able to get a net income of Rs. 80,000.“The expenditure for maintaining one tree comes to about Rs. 35 and after deducting the expenses for all plants the farmers will be still able to get a net profit of Rs. 50,000.” Devendran said.
Panchagavya is an organic growth promoter, which is prepared by mixing cow dung, cow urine, cow's milk, curd and ghee in suitable proportions, and is sprayed on the plants. It contains several macro, micronutrients, beneficial bacteria and fungi, which aid in growth promotion and act as effective pest repellents. It has been prepared by thoroughly mixing five kilos of fresh cow dung and one litre of cow's ghee in a plastic or cement tank or earthen pot. The mixture is stirred daily for three to four days."About three litres of cow's milk, two litres of cow's curd, three litres of sugarcane juice, three litres of tender coconut water and 10 to12 bananas are mixed well and added to the mixture. The entire concoction is allowed to ferment for fifteen days," said K.Devendran. –Etram News Service