Power cuts, fertilizer shortage, high input costs, absence of reliable marketing channels and labour shortage are plaguing most of the country’s agriculture scenario. Farmers are desperately looking for alternatives which are pocket friendly and at the same time require less labour.
According to Dr. G. Nammalvar, organic scientist, today a small farmer cannot grow any crops using chemical fertilizers in his 2-3 acres land profitably without burning his fingers. The high cost of these chemical inputs makes it practically impossible to make some profit.
“Like refugee influx, several farmers have started abandoning agriculture and moving into towns and cities to seek better alternative jobs. But what can the city offer them?
When even educated youths find it difficult in landing good jobs, where will the poor middle aged farmer find himself? This situation is growing in a slow and steady pace and if left unchecked will lead to serious repercussions,” he says.
It may be true but faced with no alternative what can a farmer do?
“No it is not true, agriculture is one profession which if done correctly can bring loads of profit.
The sad thing today is with a view to increasing yields, chemicals have been dumped continuously over years and have made the land infertile, leading to yield losses. But if a farmer instead starts practicing natural ways of farming then he will surely realise how profitable his vocation is,” explains Dr. Nammalvar.
For example for growing paddy in an acre using chemical fertilizers a farmer spends about Rs. 3,000. If there are about 1,000 acres then the total cost will work out to Rs.30,00,000 (thirty lakhs). Where does all this money go?
“Definitely not into the farmer’s pocket, but to the chemical manufacturing companies. Suppose if the same farmer uses organic inputs, he can grow the same crop in an acre for as less as say Rs.500. He is thus able to save Rs. 2,500 easily,” he says.
For example Mr. N. Gopalakrishnan, a progressive farmer has developed a plant growth hormone called egg lime formulation (called as muttai rasam in Tamil) and has been successfully using it for his crops and is also training other farmers in preparing it.
Giving details on how it is prepared, Mr. Gopalakrishnan says, “take about 20-25 limes and squeeze the juice into a bucket. Take about 250 gm of jaggery and mix it well with the lime juice to form a solution.”
“Then take about 10-15 chicken or duck eggs and place it in the bucket containing the solution in such a way that all the eggs are well immersed inside the solution. Close the bucket with an air tight lid and keep it in the shade for about 10 days. On the 10th day, the eggs along with the shells inside the solution would have become rubbery, like a rubber ball.”
“Use your hands to mix the eggs (along with the shell) with the lime, jaggery solution. After thorough mixing, add jaggery solution again in equal measure to the lime jaggery solution.
For example if there is 2 litres of the solution, then add 2 litres of jaggery solution, if it is 3 litres add 3 litres of jaggery solution and so on.”
“Then close the bucket tightly for about 10 days. After the 10th day the formulation can be used as spray for the crops. About 10 to 15 ml of the formulation can be diluted in one litre of water and sprayed. The concentration varies according to the area to be sprayed.
On what crops can this spray be done?
“This formulation can be sprayed for any crops such as paddy, wheat, banana, vegetables, greens and fruit trees. It is important that the spray be done either in the morning or late evening.”
According to Mr. Gopalakrishnan, this solution helps in good plant growth and can also be mixed with Panchagavya, vermiwash and sprayed.
“It is advisable to drill small holes in the lid to facilitate escape of gases which emits from the solution. The solution can be stored for about 6 months,” he says.
For more information readers can contact Mr. N. Gopalakrishnan, mobile: mobile: 94431-48224 and 99421-67789, email: email@example.com, no 19 Akhila nagar, first cross street, Ganapathy nagar extension, Mampazham salai, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu 620005.