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A N Anjaneya – Spread of an agroecological practice

Shri A N Anjaneya is a young farmer in Kumbaluru village of Harihara Taluk of Davanagere district in Karnataka. He shifted to organic ways of cultivation about 15 years back, when he was advised by doctors during his hospitalization, to refrain from agri chemicals, which was the cause for his health issues. Prior to that, he was following conventional agricultural methods using lot of chemicals and pesticides for his paddy crop.

Anjaneya’s inspiration to take up legume culture (Incorporating Green manure crops into the soil, before sowing main crop) was Mr. B N Nandish, a farmer from Shikaripura in the neighbouring district. Incidentally, LEISA India had earlier carried an article by B N Nandish and his experience on legume culture. Anjaneya’s contacts with institutions like SKDRDP, SAHAJA etc., helped him to get information on legume culture. Anjaneya practiced and got good results. Inspired by him, many farmers started adopting it with technical support from Anjaneya.

Having noticed this interest in farmers, in 2009, the Department of Agriculture offered to provide support to the local organic farmers group, Sarana Muddanna Savayava krushikara Balaga, for large scale expansion in the area.

Anjaneya on his farm
Anjaneya on his farm

Sarana Muddanna Savayava Krushikara Balaga, is a registered organic farmers group working for ecological agriculture especially on traditional paddy varieties. Balaga started to promote chemical free agriculture and do collective marketing. Balaga had around 300 farmers from Kumbalur village. Balaga is now involved in paddy processing and collective marketing.

In 2009, Legume culture was taken up in a big way by the farmers group with the support from the Department of Agriculture. The group members mainly used sunhemp, velvet beans, dhaincha and pillpesaru for green manuring. Anjaneya too expanded legume culture practice in his four acres of saline affected paddy area.

Area under legume culture increased year by year. From 40 acres in 2010; 150 acres in 2011; 400 acres in 2012; 600 acres in 2013 and 1,200 acres in 2014 – the practice had a great acceptance by the farmers in the region. The entire work was implemented and monitored by Sarana Muddanna Savayava Krushikara Balaga. Now, paddy growers in the village are demanding for 12,000 acres in the upcoming year.

The practice helped in reducing the cost of production by 20 percent, and enhanced the land fertility owing to increased soil carbon content. Farmers observed reduced incidence of pest and disease. Farmers stopped using chemical fertilizers to a large extent. More importantly, “the quality of health improved a lot over the period of 5 years” says Anjaneya and his team members.

For all his efforts, Anjaneya received “Krushi Pandit” award from the State government and many awards from civil societies.

Manjunath Holalu
Organic farming consultant
C/o Razaki building, Vinayaka nagar
Savanur Road, Shiggaon- 581 205
Haveri, Karnataka.
E-mail: manjubaduku@gmail.com