Increases finger millet production with self-developed method
“In one acre farm, with 1 kg seeds we can produce 18-20 quintal finger millet (ragi) through Guli method. It is a low-cost method that saves production cost immensely as we utilize only cow based manure. The seeds are treated with an exclusive solution to ensure high yield. The method is predominantly developed and used for ragi but can be proficiently used for foxtail millet (kanganee), pigeon pea (tur dal), sorghum (jowar) etc. I have developed this method 30 years ago and since then have trained many farmers. They are getting high crop yield,” asserts Mr. Mukappa Shivappa Poojar, farmer cum priest from Chinnikatti village, Haveri district, Karnataka.
Mr. Mukappa belongs to an agricultural family hence since childhood has been engaged in farming activities. He owns 2 acre farm and have taken another 4 acre on lease. Finger millet is the main crop while other crops cultivated are jowar, cotton, paddy etc. “These days I am concentrating on my spiritual growth and training farmers on using Guli method hence have given complete responsibility my farms to my sons,” he adds.
In Guli method, the farmland is prepared in the month of June. In one acre, 8-10 tractor load of desi cattle manure is fed into the soil. “We begin by making rows from east-west and north-south keeping the distance of 1.5 feet row to row and 1.5feet guli –guli (plant-plant). Guli is nothing but a pit in which ragi sapling is planted. Each guli is filled with cattle manure and in it 18-25 days old 2 saplings are transplanted. On both sides of the saplings, we use seed drill and leveler. It is done so to avoid weed germination. In one acre one kg seeds are sufficient,” he explains the method. The saplings are prepared in June 2nd week. “It is important to note that if we transplant more than 25 days old saplings than the yield would be less.” When asked about weeds growth in Guli method, he clarifies, “To discourage weeds germination we use rake between the rows and plants. As a result harvesting is delayed by 15 days than traditional method.”
Ragi is not affected by pests or diseases but for higher crop yield seed treatment is recommended. “1kg ragi seeds are first soaked in ‘sasyamrutha’ for half an hour. Next water is drained and seeds are washed with clean water twice and dried in the shade. Once the seeds are completely dried, proceed with preparing nursery plants. This practice ensures the plants are not affected by root rot disease, in which the panicle of plants dries up,” Mr. Mukappa elucidates. ‘Sasyamrutha’ is prepared by mixing cow dung, cow urine and lime water together. Quantity required is 1-1.5kg cow dung, 1 cup each of desi cow urine and lime water.
In order to stay connected with agriculture, Mr. Mukappa grows his own food on a small patch. “This is like my on-field laboratory where I keep doing some or the other experiment. I definitely grow ragi by guli method for seed purpose but along with it I also cultivate paddy, maize, seasonal vegetables namely brinjal, green leafy veggies. In one my experiments, I intercropped paddy (desi variety –budda) with maize. As both the crops are rain fed it gives an assurance that irrespective of good or poor monsoon one crop shall be harvested for sure,” he shares. Mr. Mukappa also sells desi ragi seeds at Rs. 50/kg. Many farmers in different ragi growing belts are using this method.
His future plans are to continue training farmers on Guli method and encourage them to use desi seeds as well as adopt chemical free farming. “Population of India is increasing every day and we are facing shortage of good grains. To feed our countrymen with healthy food we have to stop depending on MNCs and get back to our roots then only our country can grow and farmers will be able to earn good profits as our ancestors,” he signs off.
Mr. Mukappa Shivappa Poojar
Chinnikatti Village and PO, Byadagi Taluk, Haveri District – 581 106, Karnataka