Successful the natural way, they guide others...
It is no exaggeration to say that organic farming is flourishing in all parts of the State, thanks to activists and volunteers, who take up this cause with a sense of responsibility towards the future generation.
There are many who practice organic farming successfully and interestingly, most of them are either young or middle-aged. Moreover, many are spreading the message about the need to go organic. A Tamil Selvan (27), a mechanical engineer by profession, is one of the volunteers of The Weekend Agriculturists (TWA) group, who work with small and marginal farmers of villages on the outskirts of Chennai.
At present, the group has taken over two acres of land in Alathur village near Thirunindravur and is cultivating paddy and other crops depending on seasons. They have a farm pond at one end to store rainwater that is used for irrigation during summer. Besides, it helps drain excess rainwater to the main canal, apart from sustaining the groundwater table.
“We are not experts in organic farming. We learn from those already in the field and inculcate the same to the others. Initially, the farmers here were reluctant, but now, they are showing confidence. Farmers ask us about organic farming since we do voluntary service. We are documenting our work in these two acres and keeping an account of the expenses incurred. We are planning to show it as a presentation to prove organic farming is feasible and good for soil,” Tamil Selvan said.
Around 15,000 enthusiasts are following the TWA group in the facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/ theweekendagriculturist/. The farm
ers in Alathur area are doubtful about marketing crops grown organically and to resolve that, TWA is working on a new project.
K Sabi Ashok (37), hailing from Nagapattinam, was a technical safety engineer in the Oil and Natural Gas Company in Abu Dhabi and drawing around `10 lakh per month. But now, he is practicing organic farming in 10 acres of lands in Nedungadu village in Tiruvarur district. “Of the 10 acres, I grow traditional fruit varieties — jackfruit, pomegranate, guava, mango, sapota and tea, paddy in four acres. In one acre, we have a farm pond and another acre, plantain trees. In a quarter acre, jasmine flowers. Though the income is very less when compared to what I got abroad, I get a good night’s sleep and good health. I took it up amid opposition from my family.”
S Thirumurthi (38), an organic farmer who owns 10 acres of land near Bhavani river at Satyamangalam, is quite successful too. “Despite severe drought, I was able to have 50 per cent yield. Had I applied chemical fertilisers, I would not have got this yield for one simple reason — whenever chemical fertilisers are used, the soil needs more water and in the absence of excess water, the crop gets withered.
“For producing one kg of rice, you need 3,000 litres to 5,000 litres of water. But for millets like Kambu, Ragi and Maize, only 250 litres of water is required. So, when you have less water, the farmers should go for millets. And since Tamil Nadu is a water-scarce State, it should turn to organic farming,” he pointed out. He said the government should not encourage hybrid seeds at any cost because they are responsive only to chemicals. He is also rearing traditional Kangeyam bulls.
Though the income is very less when compared to what I got abroad, I get a good night’s sleep and good health. I took it up amid opposition from my family K Sabi Ashok, farmer who gave up a job in the UAE