N.R. Chandrashekhar is a farmer bringing a green revolution in Nenamanahalli village in Kolar district, known for its drought conditions. Lying on the borders of Karnataka- Andhra Pradesh states, the district has been known for its thousands of lakes, among others. But presently, the lakes and the borewells have dried up and the ground water is at about 1200 feet below the ground. The district does not have any life line river, and thus it is impossible to grow crops without water. In such harsh conditions, Chandrashekhar is showing a way for sustainable farming by utilising the naturally available water and practising organic farming methods.
In his 30 guntas farm, (almost 0.75 acre) Chandrashekhar has grown 500 papaya plants, 300 mango plants, 1500 mulberry plants, 1500 tur dal plants and other inter-crops like beans, soyabean etc. As water in Kolar district is costlier than gold, he has created 45-50 soak pits measuring 3x3x3 feet. In the same way, he has planted ragi samplings in 2×2 feet model, using pit system. The water gets collected in these pits. To keep the moisture and fertility, he has planted Hebbal beans after every 4 pits. After finger millet is harvested, Hebbal beans will yield. In his 30 guntas land, he has constructed a 70x50x12 feet farm pond and collects water for emergency usage for plants.
He considers that each square inch of soil is important. He has also planted horse gram, jute, dhaincha and many such dicotyledonous plants to enhance the soil fertility thereby ensuring that water remains on the top of the soil. The horse gram leaves are spread on the farm land for enhancing the organic quality of the soil. This is the best model for those farmers who use chemical manures. He has also grown subabul, linseed, glyricidia around the contours of the land.
He spreads the leaves of these plants on the farm resulting in improved soil fertility and better yield. Most importantly, he uses the scarce water resources very efficiently. He feeds the plants through bottles. He buries a holed bottle 6 inches away from the plant, but near to the roots. In summer, he fills up these bottles and ensures that the water, instead of getting evaporated, reach the roots of the plants. For instance, if the mango tree were to be fed with water by way of containers, it would have required 300 pots of water to irrigate 300 plants. But using this novel way, he can now supply a pot of water to 26 plants. Overall, the mango plants consume a total of 12 pots of water, thus saving 288 pots. Time and effort is also saved here. This way, he has got maximum yield using minimal water. In 2010, he harvested a yield of around 20 tonnes during the season. He gets mango fruits after the papaya harvest. He is also practising honey bee culture on his farm.
Chandrashekhar has become a role model for organic farming in the region. He has put a stop to unwanted agricultural expenses but at the same time, has earned his livelihood through organic farming, without using chemical inputs. He has shown that if farmers followed a model like this, could reap benefits even under difficult situations. He says with pride that the future generation can live happily without further loss to the ecosystem.
N R Chandrashekhar
Organic farmer and progressive farmer
Kolar District, Karnataka
Tel: 08152 238971