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Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

These small-holder farmers in Jharkhand show how traditional knowledge of their ancestors can come handy in reviving their agriculture. Almost every house in Jhanji in Deoghar, Jharkhand has modified its cowshed to collect cow urine in a concrete pit. They use cow urine, diluted with water, as a pesticide to spray in the fields

Photo feature by Priyanka Pathak with inputs from Sanjay Kumar

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

The collected urine is also used to prepare other indigenous liquid manure and insecticides. One such insecticide is called ‘Brahmastra’. Made by mixing a prescribed quantity of neem oil, tobacco leaves, garlic, ginger and chilly paste, powdered soap, cow urine and water, Brahmastra is considered to be sure shot cure for any pest attack on crops

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Churwa Bedia of Dubla Beda village in Ranchi uses ‘Ausadhiya Matka Khad’ to control pest infestation and to supply nutrients to the soil. The manure is prepared by decomposing a mixture of cow dung, cow urine neem leaves, karanj leaves and calotropis leaves in an earthen pot. This has helped the farmer to get good market price. While this has brought down the input cost on fertilisers to zero, Bedia claims the yield has only improved for his crops

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Use of vermicompost has not only reduced the cost of production for most of the farming families in Dubla Beda village in Ranchi, but many farmers are also earning by selling vermicompost in the nearby weekly markets

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Biomass, collected as waste from the fields, is kept in a concrete pit and covered with plastic sheets for decomposing for about 25 days. Half-decomposed biomass from these pits and cow dung is then decomposed in a vermi-pit along with the earthworms to make vermicompost

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Kalicharan Beria of Bisa village has supplemented his income from his small field by livestock rearing including duck farming. To increase the growth of ducks and yield of milk from the cows, he cultivates azolla, an aquatic weed rich in proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. “The weed is very easy to cultivate; the only requirement are cow dung and water and a plastic sheet,” says Kalicharan.

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Several farmers have excavated five per cent of the land in their fields to create water bodies to provide emergency irrigation to the paddy and also to take second crop. This has helped the farmers get more yield by supplying water in the time of need. The bunds of these water-bodies are used for cultivating vegetable crops

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Sukhwa Bedia of Bisa Village in Ranchi has increased his rice yield by almost 50 per cent by making slight modifications in the cultivation practices. In the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), farmers sow at the most one-two seedlings at one place instead of 5-6 seedlings sown in the traditional method. Between each seedling, a space of 10 cm is left the sowing is done at least a week in advance. This gives the seedlings enough time and space to grow and multiply. “In the traditional method we used to hardly get 12 tillers from a hill. Now, each hill has at least 20 tillers.

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Farmers are also using plastic mulching used for optimum use of the water and reduce evaporation loss. This is method is applied where tomato cultivation was started in the kharif season

Environment
Organic way to a bumper crop
November 28, 2014
Organic way to a bumper crop

Local non profits, Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development and Pravah, provided initial training and financial support to select farmers for taking up these practices under the Sustainable Integrated Farming System project of German non-profit Welthungerhilfe. The farmers then shared their knowledge and experience with other farmers by organising farmers field schools in their villages


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