Visit to Organic Farm in India Oct 2012 (1)

Last October, it was so fortunate to have a change visit to India organic farm along with some members from Consumer Association of Penang (CAP), members from Selangor Farmers Association and a freelance agricultural writer. Special thanks to YB Law Choo Kiang, Exco of Penang that kindly sponsor half of the expenses for me to make the trip. We do visit several farm in Trichy, Tamil Nadu and Bangalore, Karnakata.

2 days Farm Visit in Trichy, Tamil Nadu

In Trichy, we were hosted by a local farmer, Mr. Gopala Krishnan in a 2 days trip which we have been brought to visit his farm, 2 others organic farm, 1 sugarcane factory and 1 honey bee farm.

In Mr. Gopala Krishnan farm, we saw a practice of crop rotation, mix crop plantation, companion crop, mulching, green manuring etc that commonly will be practised by organic farmers. His main crop for the moment is paddy, and he usually does crop rotation between banana and paddy where the rational is water of paddy field can kill off banana disease. Others crop that he rotate is turmeric, yam, sugarcane etc to cut the circle of pest and disease and also to restore back the nutrient. Though they facing the drought problem frequently, water harvesting for them is very important, we saw he has a big deep well in every fragment of plantation land. Such water harvesting also serve to increase the ground water level.

Here is some suggestion pest control and soil fertility management suggest by Mr. Gopala:

– 3kg sand + small amount of gasoline, mix and spread equally to 1 acre of paddy field

– 2Kg of tamarind crunch then soak in water for some time and spread eventually to field

– Use of vermicompost, which have been added in Azospirilium bacteria and neem cake in the final stage

– Use of Azospirilium bacteria, add in final compost

– Neem cake add in vermicompost

– Plantation of turmeric that contain high level of VAM (Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas), a type of bacteria that good for growth of plant

 

In another 2 organic farm that practice Biodynamic and Permaculture each, we just able to have a roughly glimpse on it because of time constrain. Inba Seva Sangam community farm is a so-called Biodynamic farm, is a community farming project by NGO and supported by government. They was a community that have their own health care system, market, educational bodies etc, with around 300 acre of land works by 160 families, each have 2 acres of land, that they farm in organic way. Such farming community project also undergoing in another 30 villages. We do visit their 5 acres herb garden and mushroom cultivate farm that still under research.

Biodynamic is a holistic farming method that emphasize on integration between soil, plant, animal and cosmic power as a self-sustaining system. It was first introduced by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in early of 1920’. Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from the farm itself.

Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.

Both ideologies seen the spiritual, ethical and ecological effort to create a self-sustaining farm that thus contributes to sustainable environment, just the ways of doing it was different.

 

 

↑Mr. Gopala was explaining the mix crop system he use in the farm. Tumeric and onion is a good companian plants, tumeric contain high level of VAM (Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas), a type of bacteria that good for growth of onion; where onion provide shade and help to control weeds in the initial stage. After 65 days onion being harvested, turmeric already big enough to provided shade for itself until 9 months harvesting period.

Mr. Gopala’s paddy field, he used to rotate the paddy with banana trees, so that water soaked in paddy field would kill off diseases of banana.
For every 8 feet of paddy in a row, he will leaf a feet of path so that sunlight can penetrate in and provide more aeration. He use the solution make from neem cake, tamarind etc as the pest repellent.

Honey bees farm, the owner learned bees keeping technique form a NGO, and he is doing this for 3 years already that help him to upgrade his income and livelihood.

Rain water harvesting well in the farm. Water is a source of life, and they do face drought frequently, so rain water harvest is very important, as a supplies to crops and also to lift up water table.

 

 

 

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