Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ORGANIC FARMING – STEP TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

For a mankind to survive, FOOD is pre-requisite. Indians are proud about our good proportion of Intelligence at forefront. Even if we fly high, do a space walk and make an expedition to Antarctica, we should not forget about the fact of sitting down to EAT. Hunger is the most serious problem than corruption and poverty. When people are fed properly, the ethics and morale of the society increases and standard of living is in good trend. The policy makers are more concern on the industries and IT sectors for its economic development, forgetting that ignoring farming and development of agricultural livelihood would end up in dependence on the FOOD PRODUCING countries. If agrarian community is least bothered, the day of dependence on alien land for all its inputs will force INDIA to days of SLAVERY. The solution for the situation is encouraging farmers in an Organic Way, a low cost, eco-friendly, easy and convenient practices, in a long run helps more than 70 percent of the population to live with DIGNITY and in tune with NATURE.  

Organic Farming: First Profession of Mankind
Organic Farming is a method of cultivation done in line with nature. Food, fodder and livestock are raised in an integrated way. Natural balance remains undisturbed even after many years of Organic Farming. In other words, the web of life is integrated which results in conservation of Biodiversity. Indian farmers were cultivating and “Farm Husbanding” using natural way of cultivation for generations, which are evident from the remains of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. A typical Indian farmer had a minimum of 50 pairs of livestock. Some of them used to help with the farm activities like ploughing, pulling carts, water lifting and so on. Some of them supplied milk and meat. The farm wastes were converted to farmyard manure. The goats and sheep were their mobile banks (could sell whenever they need instant money). The value of a farmer was estimated with the herd they possessed. The hens gave egg and meat. Vegetable were grown in their backyard. People ate farm-fresh food so remained hale and healthy. There was a network of LIVES.

Technological Advancement and its Adversity:
In the post World War era, the use of fertilizers and plant protection chemicals were introduced. With modernization and mechanization we lost our treasure. With the entry of tractors, the farmers preferred to lose cattle. The microbial load of beneficial microorganisms was not fed to the fields. The minimum microbial load present in the Indian soil was killed with the fresh supply of chemical fertilizers which was introduced in the name of Green revolution. Chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals first pollute the environment (air, soil and water) then it enters the human system and creates health hazards, yielding to ailments, prolonged sickness and even death. Presence of elemental residues causes various diseases ranging from nausea to neurological toxicity, Alzheimer to cancer. Over years of advanced agriculture, we lost our traditional varieties which were pest resistant, disease resistant, salinity resistant and which could withstand water stagnation and all possible natural vagaries. Yes, OUR rich and varied collection of gene pool was lost as farmers are forced to cultivate short duration varieties and high yielding varieties.

Overcoming the Adversity – Organic Way:
Microbial load can be brought back by Organic Farming techniques (Below ground changes) like Crop Rotation, Organic Fertilizers, Seed Treatment / Bio Priming (Treating with Pseudomonas and Trichoderma), Biofertilizers including VAM & AM – Biofertilizers (induces Phosphatic utilization – Fungus & root symbiosis) encourages the multiplication of beneficial organism and they naturally control the growth of harmful organisms. Multi Crop Concept (Above ground changes) involves many corps to grow in and around the field to get maximum biological activity. Growing right Border Crops according to the selected farm activity acts like an army to save the crop. Example is growing Bhendi (Okra / Lady’s Finger) in the border of Paddy fields acts as yellow sticky trap. As the bright yellow flowers attract harmful insects provided them food (pollen and nectar) and shelter and protect the food crops from the harmful pests. Some of the attractant flowering plants are Marigold, Gingelly (Sesame), and Sunflower. Some trap crops are Mustard and Castor. Occimum spp plants are repellent crops including Tulsi (Hence it is known as mosquito repellent plant).

When habitat manipulation is done so as to encourage naturally farm friendly organisms, the beneficial organisms live in the flowers and protect the main crop from intensive sunshine and cold winds as it acts as barriers. When such crop situation prevails, it is found that the populations of farm friendly organisms like Bracon and Trichogramma (Parasitoids), Spiders and Reduviid Bug (Predators), Pseudomons spp and Trichoderma spp (Bio pesticides). Entomopathogenic fungicontacts the cuticle, forms appresoria, penetrates into the insect, proliferates, produces toxins and ultimately kills the insect. The proper selection of strains kills specific host range without disturbing non-target insects.  Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are lethal pathogens of wide variety of insects. Biological control with the help of EPN is a very efficient organic insect control method. EPN are viable alternative to chemical pesticides. EPNs have a single freeliving stage, the infective juvenile (IJ), carries bacteria in its gut. EPN and bacteria are harmless to humans and other organisms. EPN are also used as a foliar spray to control sucking pests and other foliar insects.

Such organic farming practices when done is a systemic manner we are ensuring the uninterrupted WEB of LIFE (Food Web). Inter-dependency of one organism feeding on the other and the balance results in conserving the BIODIVERSITY. As a result of the lives conserved at micro level (from microbes, insects) and macro level (rodents, birds, trees) the mankind get the economic benefits. The same principle may be applied to the forest ecosystems. When the small animals and birds are provided opportunity to live and multiply, the wild life will be conserves. Mere killing of rodents may result in the fall of the hawk population (which fed on rodents). Spraying of pesticides reflect in the fertility of men and immunity of mankind (as mother’s mild is found to have pesticide residue). A typical field has a good number of insects. There is a mix of beneficial and harmful insects. Beneficial insects include natural enemies, which kills harmful insects. A natural enemy is organisms which kill, harm and cause disease in other living organisms. There are three types - predators, parasites and pathogens. Predators kill other organisms. Parasites enter or attach to the bodies of their victims and feed on their tissues and fluids ultimately kill them. Pathogens are microorganisms which cause diseases. On application of pesticides to the field the farmers’ friend “beneficial insects” are the first where as the harmful insects get resistance to the pesticide and gains resurgence which require higher dose of insecticides to kill them. The pest management was wisely done by encouraging the natural enemies. Cow’s urine was used to manage various crop diseases. Herbal extracts like neem oil and neem based products were used to control pests and diseases. The use of Panchakavya dates back to Vedic era. These methods also helped in multiplication of the microbial load of the soil and made them fertile.

In an organic field, the role of earthworms is obvious. They are small tube like organisms who tirelessly work to turn the earth from lowest strata of earth to top. Worms tunnel deeply in the soil and bring subsoil closer to the surface mixing it with the topsoil. This makes the formation of multitude of linear tunnels minute in diameter but deeper below the subsurface. These tunnels lasts long even after the worms are dead. These tunnels facilitates infiltration of water into subsurface, reduces runoff, helps in harvesting rainwater. Such stored moisture is slowly released to crop at summer season. In this process of tunneling it also maintains the soil structure and enables the processes of aeration. Earthworm, the Farmers’ friend toils day long tillage in the fields. In the fields of organic cultivation we could see the reserve moisture throughout the year. The latent hard work of a large number of worms helps the crop survive when the other areas are parched.

Earthworms live on what we call WASTE. Yes, the feed on the vegetable wastes we throw leaves shed from trees and any form of organic matter available in soil, and living organisms such as nematodes, protozoans, rotifers, bacteria, fungi which are harmful to plant growth. Their intake per day is one third of their body weight. The organic matter it consumes gets digested in its body and it excretes in the form of casts, a type of soil aggregate rich in nutrition. Thus Earthworm facilitates improving soil fertility and deposits on the surface. Their role gains significance because they convert larger organic matter into simple accessible form. This is also Nutrition cycle. Slime, a secretion of earthworms, contains nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants. The sticky slime helps to hold clusters of soil particles together in formations called aggregates. These have greater role in porosity which helps in aeration and physical property of soil. The micro-tunnels provide good root growth as they are lined with readily available nutrients and make it easier for roots to penetrate deep into the soil.

Due to fertilizer scarcity farmers were ready to pay twice or thrice to purchase a bag of UREA and DAP which increased the cost of cultivation and toxicity to both soil and environment. They were running between pillars in search of the availability of fertilizers. Some innovative organic growers were in peace, not worrying about the fertilizer scarcity. They just scooped the vermicompost produced in their backyard and just spread (broadcasted) in the fields. Compared to the fields with chemical fertilizers organic fields were outstanding and the yield was comparatively higher. Vermicompost supplied many minerals need for the complete crop growth. The pest load was very less due to available farmers’ friends (natural predators and parasites) which took care of the pest control. The farmer had no need to go for any pesticide spray as the pests were below Economic Threshold Level. These were the visible advantages. Beyond this there were more advantages like the vegetables had longer shelf life, tasted better, and many more…In an organic field, earthworm multiplication becomes natural and nutrition cycle is in full swing and the field is not limited with any nutrition. The web of life is perfect in Organic Farming and Earthworm has a great role to play in. It recycles nutrients and supports micro-flora and fauna population. It also becomes a prey to birds and it goes on. The load of earthworm in a field is directly proportionate to the nature friendly living (ORGANIC).

Due to the chemical farming methods, the earth worm population is greatly reduced. As a trend to turn back to nature and regain the earthworm population farmers are rearing the valuable worms in Vermicompost pits, either with permanent structures or temporary structures made of Silpauline sheets. When vermicompost (the casts collected from the pit), a rich source of nutrition is applied to fields, the crop stand is very good due to supply of multiple nutrients. Often the field itself becomes a vermicompost units and the applied vermicompost contains inoculums of cocoons, from which earthworms’ population increases. Sometimes segments of earthworm reach the field with vermicompost as earthworms have the ability to regenerate lost segments, the population increases. After prolonged use of vermicompost the lost microbial load in regained and so the quality of food we get from fields.

Sustainable Development:
India is proud of its astronomical feat of launching 104 satellites is a single go. On the other side, many millions die of hunger, live in poverty and fight to meet their minimal basic needs. The gap between haves and have-nots are getting wider. Hence the livelihood of farming community is least bothered. White collared jobs are considered superior but the irony is the mean attitude people have towards the one who puddles with mud to feed the world. Ignoring the pain and cost of production of FOOD, the farmer could not fix price for his farming produced. The cost of all inputs, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides are alarming whereas the cost of farming produce is highly seasonal and not economical.

Organic Farming paves a way towards a sustainable development. When a farmer decides to turn down all the chemicals and mechanization the input cost gets drastically reduced. The net return is reduced harvest but of superior quality without polluting nature and harming the biodiversity. Hence it is time to seek old wine in new bottle - The traditional agriculture in the name of Organic Farming. Organic farming uses crop rotations and cover crops which help in balance of nutrient supply. Cover crops and composted manure are used to maintain soil organic matter and fertility. Balanced host/predator relationships were encouraged for pest and disease management without any external factor. Organic residues and nutrients produced on the farm are recycled back to the soil with the active participation of Earthworms and soil microbes. Organic farming protects the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, and optimize biological productivity.

Organic Farming is gaining importance to gain back what we lost - A healthy life, a sustainable economy and integrated development. In this age of globalization, an organic certification helps to reach the global market. The developed countries consume organic foods but sells to developing countries like India, genetically modified seeds, fertilizers and pesticides which they produce. It is time to get up and make use of this marketing game.

This article is also published in http://indianwildlifeclub.com/ezine/view/details.aspx?aid=1159

Monday, July 4, 2016

AGRO ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING

Agro Ecological Engineering is also Bio Intensive Integrated Pest Management. It is emerging new pest management strategy. It is an improved version of Agro – Eco System Analysis (AESA). It involves habitat manipulation of both below and above ground level.


Below Ground Operations – Rhyzosphere EngineeringLiving Soil concept
Organic Farming techniques like Crop Rotation, Organic Fertilizers, Seed Treatment / Bio Priming (Treating with Pseudomonas and Trichoderma), Biofertilizers including VAM & AM – Biofertilizers (induces Phosphatic utilization – Fungus & root symbiosis) encourages the multiplication of beneficial organism and they naturally control the growth of harmful organisms.





Above Ground Operations – Multi Crop Concept

It involves many corps to grow in and around the field to get maximum biological activity. Growing right Border Crops according to the selected farm activity acts like an army to save the crop. Example is growing Bhendi (Okra / Lady’s Finger) in the border of Paddy fields acts as yellow sticky trap. As the bright yellow flowers attract harmful insects provided them food (pollen and nectar) and shelter and protect the food crops from the harmful pests. Some of the attractant flowering plants are Marigold, Gingelly (Sesame), and Sunflower. Some trap crops are Mustard and Castor. Occimum spp plants are repellent crops including Tulsi (Hence it is known as mosquito repellent plant).

When habitat manipulation is done so as to encourage naturally farm friendly organisms, the beneficial organisms live in the flowers and protect the main crop from intensive sunshine and cold winds as it acts as barriers. When such crop situation prevails, it is found that the populations of farm friendly organisms like Bracon and Trichogramma (Parasitoids), Spiders and Reduviid Bug (Predators), Pseudomons spp and Trichoderma spp (Bio pesticides). Entomopathogenic fungicontacts the cuticle, forms appresoria, penetrates into the insect, proliferates, produces toxins and ultimately kills the insect. The proper selection of strains kills specific host range without disturbing non-target insects.  Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are lethal pathogens of wide variety of insects. Biological control with the help of EPN is a very efficient organic insect control method. EPN are viable alternative to chemical pesticides. EPNs have a single freeliving stage, the infective juvenile (IJ), carries bacteria in its gut. EPN and bacteria are harmless to humans and other organisms. EPN are also used as a foliar spray to control sucking pests and other foliar insects.

Such organic farming practices when done is a systemic manner we are ensuring the uninterrupted WEB of LIFE (Food Web). Interdependency of one organism feeding on the other and the balance results in conserving the BIODIVERSITY. As a result of the lives conserved at micro level (from microbes, insects) and macro level (rodents, birds, trees) the mankind get the economic benefits. The same principle may be applied to the forest ecosystems. When the small animals and birds are provided opportunity to live and multiply, the wild life will be conserves. Mere killing of rodents may result in the fall of the hawk population (which fed on rodents). Spraying of pesticides reflect in the fertility of men and immunity of mankind (as mother’s mild is found to have pesticide residue)


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fish Culture in Paddy Field

Karaikal is a small coastal enclave which was formerly part of French India. Together with the other former French territories of Pondicherry, Yanam, and Mahé, it forms the Union Territory of Puducherry. Karaikal is bounded on the North and South by Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu state, on the west by Tiruvarur district (also belonging to Tamil Nadu), and on the East by the Bay of Bengal. The enclave is located 140 km south of the city of Pondicherry, 158 km east of Trichy and is known for its rich cultural heritage. Forming part of the fertile Cauveri delta, the region is completely covered by the distributaries of Cauveri. Covered completely by a thick mantle of alluvium of variable thickness, the lie of the region is flat having a gentle slope towards the Bay of Bengal in the east. (Source: Wikipedia)
Mr. Chandra Kumar, aged 38 is an engineer, resigned his highly paid job to do Organic Agriculture in Andoor Village of Karaikal District, Puducherry Union Territory. He wanted to take up SOMETHING DIFFERENT in Organic Farming. A social media video on Fish Culture in Paddy field of Philippines made him sleepless and made him search more on this. After exploration on this he decided to venture his own model. He dug trench of two feet around his field and filled with canal water. He introduced fish fingerlings from the canal; it was a mixture of traditional breed. Also he preferred to plant tradition paddy variety, Mappillai Samba, a red rice variety which can withstand standing water and do not demand chemical fertilizers. It responds well to organic inputs and gives good yield.
“Coastal saline soil extends from the main sea coast to a few or even 50 km at places interior to the main land. The ground water table under these soils is generally present at a shallow depth and contains high amount of soluble salts. These salts accumulate on the surface of the soil due to capillary rise of saline groundwater during dry periods of the year rendering the soil highly saline. Almost the entire area of the rain fed coastal saline soil is mono cropped in nature. The major agricultural crop of kharif is rice, grown during monsoon period when soil salinity is low. During the rest of the year, the land usually remains fallow due to high salt content of the soil.” This is how Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore details about the coastal ecosystem. 
Chandra Kumar’s trenches have helped to leach out salts from the field and get accumulate in the trenches and the salt level is not harmful to fishes. Advantageously, the fish fed on the organic inputs like farm yard manures, vermicompost, green leaf manures have turned the water into nutrient rich solution for the paddy to grow up on par with chemicals fed agriculture. The fishes grow into half to one kg in 150 days (duration of Mappillai Samba). He harvests the fish a week before paddy harvest and it is a bonus of double income.
video
Fish culture along with Paddy gives an emotional satisfaction of producing food (paddy and fish) organically. Due to this reason both paddy and fish fetch better price than others in that area. Being fully Organic, the cost of inputs are drastically reduced for the entire cropping season, except the trench making done at the time of land preparation. Economical utilization of land is done with which he gets dual income in an agricultural season. At the cost of sincere and personal attention every day as it is an innovation and have no other bench marks to look upon. 


Mr. Chandra Kumar can be contacted through his mobile 98420 83083

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Birds in Pest Control

Birds are considered as one of the indicators of environment as they are sensitive to habitat change. Birds are known for its diversity in their bright colors, distinct voice (calls). 

Birds act as an important factor of biodiversity. Role to spread seeds result in plant dispersal results in increasing the forest cover. Likewise the role of birds as a pollinator plays an important role in fertilization and seed of many plants and trees (Eg. Humming Bird carries pollens from one tree to the other with its beak). We all know birds are flying creatures with various colored feathers. 

Are we aware of the fact that birds eat insects and keeps pest in control naturally? Yes birds often act as an Army at the border to protect the nation.  Birds in its glide, consume hundreds of insects, many of which are considered as pests.  Birds consume insects such as mosquitoes, beetles and moths to feed themselves and feed their young ones. Birds catch huge numbers of insects in their larval form, which are high in protein. Without birds, life would have turned miserable as many insects feed on plant and animals (from grains to human blood). Hence birds play a critical role in reducing and maintaining populations of insects in natural systems.



In a paddy field, the role of birds in pest control is enormous. Due to chemical version of agricultural practices, the network of birds in the paddy ecosystem has reduced. But we have scope of bring back the lost biodiversity.
Use of organic manures like farm yard manures (decomposed animal and plant wastes from a farm) to fields not only adds nutrients, improved the micro climate to multiply microbes and soil borne organisms like earthworms. Soil with rich micro-flora and fauna results in good quality soil (biological, physical and chemical properties). In due course of time the lost biodiversity can be rejuvenated.

Placing stumps of Palm or Coconut trees as bird’s perch in Paddy field have resulted in such a thing. Bird’s perch is a place made available for the birds who love to eat insect.  Birds have a feast satisfying its appetite from the paddy field and in return keep harmful insect in control. If enough bird’s perch are provided it acts like a warrior on duty. Cranes on the other hand do not need bird’s perch to do the military role, thanks a lot for the long legs they have.


In one of my field visit in Nedungadu village of Karaikal District, U.T of Puducherry, I found fields with bird’s perch. One field had many and found birds like King Crow, Black Bulbul, Mynas and sparrows sitting on the perches and feed on the larvae. This act greatly reduces the cost of pest control for the farmer and gives SAFE FOOD to people.


Birds are a part of the WEB OF LIFE. Each part of the web of life has a crucial role to play. When such interaction of biodiversity happens, the need for pesticides ceases and paves way for Organic Farming and GREENER TOMORROW.







Thursday, July 30, 2015

Excelling the PAIN

The monsoon rain started during November, 2014 – the initial rains were good. When the rain poured non-stop for a fortnight destroyed vegetable cultivation. So it happened to the kitchen garden of my neighbor too. The entire kitchen garden with Amaranthus, Okra, cluster beans, beans and gourds could not withstand the water stagnation. The papaya tree laden with fifty big papayas and fifty small papayas could no more stand straight. The tree fall with the fruit bearing tip broken. They were about to severe the entire tree, I happen to watch it over from my windows and stopped it. I immediately rushed to the plant and asked to find supportive poles and make the papaya plant straight as much as possible.

February 2015 gave me a surprise with three tine buds from the node little lower than the broken edge of the papaya tree. I was so excited and felt very much encouraged, as the tree spoke me to EXCEL THE PAIN. It became a non-voluntary action to see the plant every day in the morning. In the month of April, buds turned into branches but there were heavy infestations of Papaya Mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus). I asked them to remove the infected leaves often. They turned frustrated asking me is the bug coming to your house. Then I explained about the mealybug and could be controlled by manual removal of the leaves, luckily there were no infestation of the bug in any of the other plants nearby.


Now during July, I was amazed to see the papaya tree with three branches, all the three loaded with papayas big and small. What made me wonder is, “the plant which could not bear the load of a single plant is now capable of its triple bearing – from many nodes there are two, three or five papayas”. What a lesson the MIRACLE papaya tree taught me - ENDURE THE PAIN, WORK HARD and BE SINCERE, withstand all the odd situations and one day surprising results turn all the agony into glee.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Earthworms – Heroes of Organic Farming


Earthworms are hermaphrodites. Each worm has both male and female organs. They are small tube like organisms who tirelessly work to turn the earth from lowest strata of earth to top. Worms tunnel deeply in the soil and bring subsoil closer to the surface mixing it with the topsoil. This makes the formation of multitude of linear tunnels minute in diameter but deeper below the subsurface. These tunnels last long even after the worms are dead. These tunnels facilitate infiltration of water into subsurface, reduce runoff, help in harvesting rainwater. Such stored moisture is slowly released to crop at summer season. In this process of tunneling it also maintains the soil structure and enables the processes of aeration. This act makes EARTHWORM as a Real Farmer who toils day long tilling the fields. In the fields of organic cultivation we could see the reserve moisture throughout the year. The latent hard work of a large number of worms helps the crop survive when the other areas are parched.


Earthworms live on what we call WASTE. Yes, they feed on the vegetable wastes we throw; leaves shed from trees and any form of organic matter available in soil, and living organisms such as nematodes, protozoans, rotifers, bacteria, fungi which are harmful to plant growth. Their intake per day is one third of their body weight.  

The organic matter the earthworms consume gets digested in their bodies and gets excreted in the form of casts, a type of soil aggregate rich in nutrition. Thus Earthworms facilitate improving soil fertility and deposits on the surface. Their role gains significance because they convert larger organic matter into simple accessible form. This is also the Nutrition cycle. Slime, a secretion of earthworms, contains nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants. The sticky slime helps to hold clusters of soil particles together in formations called aggregates. These have greater role in porosity which helps in aeration and physical property of soil. The micro-tunnels provide good root growth as they are lined with readily available nutrients and make it easier for roots to penetrate deep into the soil. 



Three months back there was a fertilizer scarcity in our place as well as throughout Tamil Nadu State. Farmers were ready to pay twice or thrice to purchase a bag of UREA and DAP. The MRP cost of it was around Rs. 2000 (both). They were running between pillars in search of  availability of fertilizers. Some innovative organic growers were at peace, not worrying about the fertilizer scarcity. 



They just scooped the vermicompost produced in their backyard and just spread (broadcasted) in the fields. Compared to the fields with chemical fertilizers, organic fields were outstanding and the yield comparatively higher. Vermicompost supplied many minerals needed for the complete crop growth. The pest load was very less due to available farmers’ friends (natural predators and parasites) which took care of the pest control. The farmer had no need to go for any pesticide spray as the pests were below Economic Threshold Level. These were the visible advantages. Beyond this there were more advantages like the vegetables had longer shelf life, tasted better, and many more…

In an organic field, earthworm multiplication becomes natural and nutrition cycle is in full swing and the field is not limited with any nutrition. The web of life is perfect in Organic Farming and Earthworm has a great role to play in this; be it cycling of nutrients, micro-flora and fauna population. It also becomes a prey to birds and it goes on. The load of earthworm in a field is directly proportionate to the nature friendly living (ORGANIC).


Due to the chemical farming methods, the earth worm population is greatly reduced. The trend is to turn back to nature and regain the earthworm population farmers are rearing in the valuable Vermicompost pits, either with permanent structures or temporary structures made of Silpauline sheets. When vermicompost (the casts collected from the pit), a rich source of nutrition, is applied to fields, the crop stand is very good due to supply of multiple nutrients. Often the field itself becomes a vermicompost unit as the applied vermicompost contains inoculums of cocoons, from which earthworms’ population increases. Sometimes segments of earthworm reach the field with vermicompost as earthworms have the ability to regenerate lost segments, the population increases. After prolonged use of vermicompost the lost microbial load is regained and so is the quality of food we get from fields. 


Monday, November 3, 2014

Integrated Farming System ensures Biodiversity

Integrated Farming System (IFS) is a judicious mix of agricultural with enterprises like dairy, poultry, piggery, fishery, sericulture which is suited to the given agro-climatic conditions and socio-economic status of the farmers. It brings prosperity in the life of the farming as the web of life is sustained. As an advantage, the farm wastes are better recycled for productive purposes. It introduces a change in the farming techniques for maximum production in the cropping pattern and takes care of optimal utilization of resources. It turns out to be economical as the family labor is one of the major contributions. It facilitates a personal bondage to each life involved in the IFS. 





Mr. Sasidharan of Ilayankudy, Karaikal has a field and cultivates paddy and vegetables which feed him and his family. When he added cows to his farming system, he gets milk and dairy products from the cow. They produce around 70 liters per day and selling to near by factories and Milk Cooperative Society, Karaikal. The field gets a regular supply of cow dung and cow urine which are rich in minerals – used as manure as they have constructed the cow shed in such a way the wash outs of the cattle shed goes to the farm pond near by. The fish in the farm pond feeds on the microflora and microfauna. Hence fish is fed organically. Also the water quality of the farm pond is also improved (organically fertilized). It supplies sufficient nutrition which are needed for the crop cultivated, be it paddy or vegetable.  Cow urine has a lot of minerals and acts as growth promoter, pest repellent and elixir of life. The straw feeds the cows and also sustains the microbial load of the soil which is enriched with cow dung and cow urine. This micro-climate encourages the friends of farmers – earthworms, spiders and beneficial insects to act as bio-guard of the paddy field. He rediscovered an ancient rice-growing practice involving the use of ducks. Dozens of these birds, raised on the farm, patrol the paddy fields. They feed on insects and weeds, without touching the plants. Their wading oxygenates the water and stirs up the soil. Their droppings are natural fertilizer.

His field is located in the tail end area of Cauvery River; water scarcity prevails in most of the months in a year but receives more rain in two or three months. So he dug a farm pond in his field to harvest rain water. The water in the farm pond not only provides water for the agricultural fields, it also recharges the water table. Water table recharge provides good quality drinking water to the family and good quality water supply for agriculture throughout the year. He also decides to rear fish in the available water. The cow dung and agricultural wastes are the feed for fish and the fish provides extra income for every three months. The fish residues are used to prepare fish emulsion. Fish emulsion supply more nutrients and also supplies much more beneficial bacteria from the brewing process. Fish emulsions are good organic nitrogen sources, but they also supply phosphorus, potassium, amino acids, proteins and trace elements or micronutrients that are really needed to provide deep nutrition to your soil community and plants. One of the benefits of fish emulsion is that they provide a slower release of nutrients into the soil without over-feeding all at once. He built a wooden structure over the farm pond and rears stall-fed goats. Cultivation of fodder crops as intercropping and as border cropping results in the availability of adequate nutritious fodder for animals like cows and goat.

His farm house is surrounded with good number of trees which provides an aesthetic environment to live in and the temperature in his niche is 3 – 5o C than that of the village. Soil erosion is avoided and fertility is maintained due to the flora and its humus decomposition and its microclimate. The microbial load of the soil makes the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. This in turn increases the fertility of soil and enables life like earthworm and some beneficial insects. The availability of such organisms facilitates decomposition of plant residues and converts them into organic manures at rapid phase. Hence proper residue recycling and leads in sustainable soil fertility. Trees also meet the construction wood requirements.

Integration of allied activities results in the availability of nutritious food enriched with protein, carbohydrate, fat, minerals and vitamins for all the lives involved in this “web of life” including humans. Integrated farming helps in environmental protection through effective recycling of waste from animal activities. Reduced production cost of components through input recycling from the byproducts of allied enterprises makes him get regular stable income through the products throughout the year though one or two enterprise fail due to vagaries of monsoon. Integrated Farming system ensures financial security and biodiversity. When biodiversity ensured at farm, it is a beginning to conserve biodiversity in a longer perspective for a GREENER EARTH.


Mr. Sasidharan of Ilayankudy, Karaikal can be in touch with through mobile -9345766233