Paddy crop records a significant yield with organic inputs


The harvested grains being cleaned before weighing.

Given the multitude of problems in agriculture today, getting a substantial yield and a good market pose serious concerns for a farmer, but Mr. R. Kulandaisamy, organic entrepreneur and owner of Tari Biotech, Thanjavur says, “Increasing yield for any crop is not difficult. My newly developed Organic plus and other natural inputs can easily help a farmer increase the yield without spoiling the environment.”

Not paper findings

“My findings are not mere paper theories but practical experiments. I used my inputs in the fields of Mr. S. Ranganathan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association and Chairman, Centre for Cauvery Delta Development at Perugavazthan village, Mannargudi. We recorded more than two tonnes of paddy from an acre,” he says.

Mr. Ranganathan readily offered 30 acres for this experiment and during the harvest several farmers, district officials, and scientists from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University were invited see the process and results.

Good increase

While the scientists’ concern was more on how the yield increased using only organic inputs, the farmers paid attention to the number of gunny bags being filled. In fact after the preliminary introductions and explanations, the eager farmers expressed their astonishment and happiness to learn that the paddy yield recorded a fair increase.

“So far, for the last several years I could harvest 1 to 1.75 tonnes of grains from an acre. But after applying Mr. Kulandaisamy’s inputs I harvested about 2. 43 tonnes from an acre. It is 400 kgs more than the usual yield,” says Mr. Ranganathan. In addition he agrees that the cultivation cost also scaled down.

First time

Being a conventional farmer all these years, Mr. Ranganathan’s experience in organic agriculture according to him was not noteworthy. He says that “the media’s role in highlighting the awareness and importance of going organic urged me to try it.”

And he adds that “even now I am sceptical as to how the entire country can afford organic inputs, especially with dwindling land and cattle resources.

“But personally I am convinced and am planning to increase my acreage in the coming years to check whether it is sustainable. I always believe that organic farming is for health, and chemicals for greater production,” he says.

Many farmers who attended the harvest programme wanted the Government must make such practices popular in other areas of the state also.

Need of the hour

“As a farmer in the delta region growing paddy all my life, this is just what I need. Today for an acre of chemicals I need to spend anything between Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 as input cost alone. In addition, the labour shortage and low price makes it practically impossible for me to break even. But Mr. Kulandaisamy’s input for an acre costs Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,000 and I can hope to save some amount on the input,” says Mr. Ganesan, from Tirukatupalli village.

According to Mr. Kulandaisamy not only paddy but any crop can be grown well using this organic plus input.

“If farmers are able to follow my suggestion dedicatedly then I can assure that their yield can be increased. Those interested can visit my farm, factory at Thanjavur to see and get convinced personally,” he says.

University support

When contacted, the Vice Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Dr. P. Murugesa Boopathi expressed surprise on the yield increase and promised to help Mr. Kulandaisamy.

“It is the duty of the University and our scientists to motivate such persons,” he says.

Readers can contact Mr. S. Ranganathan on phone at: 04367-252170, mobile: 09442281037, and Mr. Kulandaisamy, website: www.tarigroup.com, mobiles: 98430-59117 and 98434-39909 to know more.

A formula to grow organic paddy successfully


Mr. Balaji Shankar in his organic paddy field at Sirkali, Tamil Nadu.

Organic farming is not something new to the farmers. Several types of organic farming are being practised all over the country. But, in recent years it has been getting a lot of attention from researchers, policy makers, scientists, and farmers.

Paddy farmers in the delta districts of Tamil Nadu predominantly use chemical fertilizers for cultivating their crops during the Kharif and Rabi seasons.
Several hardships

Of late, many of these farmers have been facing several hardships from unpredictable monsoon, decreasing or stagnant prices, ground water depletion, increasing labour and chemical fertilizer costs.

According to Mr. Balaji Shankar, an organic paddy farmer in Mayiladuthurai district of Tamil Nadu,in chemical farming, farmers increase fertilizer application hoping for a higher yield and profit.

They do not realize that by applying urea and potash, the soil becomes hard and loses its porous nature.

The same land requires more water for cultivation to make it loose and farmers dig deeper bore wells for getting water (deep borewells and urea increase soil and water salinity).
Reducing input costs

“What our farmers need to know is a success formula which reduces input cost and at the same time gives good yield,” he argues.

Outlining his paddy cultivation Mr. Balaji says, “I plant only Kharif (during Aug-Jan) and rice fallow gram. I do not plant Rabi. From April to August, the land is ploughed two times and Daincha is planted and used for in-situ ploughing,” he explains.

Only native varieties such as kitchidi samba or ponni (these are Tamil names) are cultivated.

These varieties are resistant to diseases and can withstand drought as well as floods and also give a good yield of 1,200 kg-1,400 kg per acre with very little inputs, he noted.

About 15kg of seeds are required for sowing in the nursery. The seedlings are transplanted early (when around 21 days-old instead of the traditional 30-40 days).

About two seedlings are planted in the main field at a spacing of 15×18 cm. (This reduces both seed and labour cost, while transplanting, according to Mr. Balaji.)

“Since I plant only Kharif, this allows me to plan my transplanting early before the monsoon.

Once traditional varieties are well established in the soil, even the worst flood cannot damage them. There may be some yield loss, but never a crop loss,” he says.
Manual weeding

After the seedlings stabilize, the field is allowed to dry (to facilitate tillering). Manual weeding is done once after 30 days of transplanting and whenever necessary. After harvest, the produce is not sold as paddy, but dried, stored, milled on a monthly basis and sold as raw rice to customers.

Organic paddy has higher out turn (60 per cent) and about 900 -1000 kg of raw rice is milled from an acre’s produce.

“I am selling my organic rice at Rs. 29 per kg, which gives me a gross revenue of Rs.29,000 per acre. My expenditure for an acre is: cultivation: Rs. 3,000, harvesting: Rs. 2,000, processing & despatch etc: Rs. 4,000.

This gives me a net income of Rs. 20,000 per acre. If a farmer has six acres, he can sell500 kg of raw rice per month, and get a monthly income of 10,000 per month,” he says.
Marketing

Other crops such as maize or sunflower are cultivated during the rabi season. The organic rice is sold though the several organic outlets in and around the districts, according to him.

Balaji Shankar can be reached at No 2/12 Tirupura Sundari Nagar, Then Pathi, Sirkali: 609 111, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, email: balaji@earth.org.in, Phone: 04364-271170.