Article How farmers are coping with water scarcity ? Part 3

Discussion in 'Discussion Topics' started by editorialteam, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. editorialteam

    editorialteam Active Member Staff Member



    Aranyani Farm

    Manages water scarcity with intercropping and livestock waste

    “At our farm we are facing extreme water shortage. To cope up with it we are extensively into intercropping, mulching and conduct experiments consistently to look for alternative farming practices. Once such trial we have done is to grow paddy using dry technique with minimum water along with black gram. The paddy is grown just like the way sunflower, maize and other millets without any stagnant water. The yield obtained is cheering,” says Ms. Shilpa Gajjala. She owns Aranyani Farms located at Rampuram, 5 kms from Penukonda, Anantapuram district, Andhra Pradesh.
    Ms. Shilpa Gajjala

    The farmland soil preparation for paddy cultivation was done the usual way with farm yard manure and ploughing. The bunds to transplant the saplings were made at a distance of 50 cm. The paddy saplings were prepared from indigenous seed varieties namely mavara (black rice), aurokolya and Pakistani basmati. The saplings were transplanted on the bunds keeping the distance of 50 cm. In the between the two paddy rows black grams was sown. The irrigation was done once in 4 days. “We used to spray neemastra (mix of water, neem leaves, desi cow urine and dung) regularly on the paddy field to keep the pest away. As we are into chemical free farming for more than five years the pest population is almost negligible. We also sprayed jeevamrutham once in every 15 days in the entire cultivation process to improve the plant growth. In place of black gram any other pulses can also be grown,” she adds. In this technique it is mandatory to remove the weeds manually and promptly. “To improve the water retention in the soil, mulching was done in paddy cultivation area.” Paddy was harvested and hand pounded to process into rice.

    Speaking of ways to manage water shortage Ms. Shilpa explains,” We rear desi local breed of goats and sheep. During summers we pull the temporary fence on our farmlands and let the entire flock to rest in open after the daylong grazing. Animals’ excreta are dropped on the fields naturally and it sleeps on the same. Consequently the urine turns the soil soft and dung is pushed inside. We follow the same process till it rains. As a result the farmland is prepared for sowing the seeds/saplings post monsoon. The soil regains its fertility and microorganism population increases enormously. In addition animals are also relaxed sleeping in open.” Rest the farm has rain water harvesting pond, raingun, sprinklers and drip irrigation for efficient water utilization.
    “We have mechanized farming in the estate using animal power. And to improve the water retention or rather lessen the water requirement in the soil we do lot of mulching. In our sugarcane fields the water is used quite less as the complete top surface is always covered with thick mulch,” she adds.

    Aranyani Farm is an integrated farm having rich plantation of mango, sapota, jamun and coconut trees. Spread in 150 acres farm also has sugarcane, pulses, medicinal plants, cereals and seasonal vegetables cultivation. Livestock farming is intrinsic part of the estate. There are more than 200 desi breeds of buffaloes and cows namely gir, ongole, malnad gidda and many other breeds. Value addition of the produce is also done with jaggery manufacturing and aroma oil processing.
    Paddy intercropped with black gram.jpg
    Paddy intercropped with black gram

    “Our family was always engaged in farming but I was not involved in it. By chance I got introduced to natural farming in 2012 and then it was complete change over at our farm from using only chemical free farming inputs, replacing HF and jersey cows with desi breeds buffalo and cows, bringing in native varieties sheep and goat flock along with poultry birds. Initially it did seem as risky journey of one year to others but keeping the strong belief in my new learning on agriculture I continued to move on. The end results are phenomenal and encouraging. Today the entire farm is chemical free and sustainable inspite of problems like drought,” asserts Ms. Shilpa.

    All farm produce are sold to the direct consumers. “We have walk-in customers to whom we sell the products at market price. These buyers are repeat customers who buy from 1 kg to more than a ton. We do not have worries on selling,” she states.

    Chemical free farming was challenging in terms of managing the pests in the first year but with natural farm made crop protective extracts it got controlled significantly. “We used to make different kinds of extracts for pest control earlier but now we have natural predators so pests are almost reduced to zero. It is taken care off in the routine way,” she highlights.

    Sharing future plans she concludes, “Mulching has helped us largely in coping with water shortage. So we plan to use it more and more. This year again we are going to do dry paddy cultivation in larger area with still lesser water by using the rain guns.”

    Ms. Shilpa Gajjala holds B Tech and MBA. She is presently working as Chair Person of a non-government organization that provides education to under-privileged children. Natural farming is her passion and she is elated to be able to grow healthy and nutrition rich food!

    Contact details:
    Aranyani Farm
    Siva Sai Mandir, Penukonda 515110, Anantapuram District, Andhra Pradesh
    Phone: +91 99490 54972
  2. uday_chary

    uday_chary New Member

    Hi Shipla,

    Reading your message ,seems interesting ,This is Udayashankar G N,working in bangalore in Oil & Gas Sector,Being native of Kolar District,Purchased lands in Raichur & Bangalore surroundings.
    I am totally focusing my attention to Raichur Lands ,since its black soil & more cultivated for Cotton,Toor Dal,Chillies & Sunflower,But i am interested in making 365 days harvesting land ,for this i have decided to make 1 to 2 acres of land for Ponding & rest for farming.

    I wanted to know what's this "Mulching" advantages of this farming,Kindly reply or email to my id.

    Thanks & Regards
    Udayashankar G N
    Mob or Watsup : +91 8105268618

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