a magazine on ecological agriculture
a one stop treasure of practical field experiences

Innovations on the ground

Strongly believing that innovation is intrinsic to agriculture, Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), documented a compendium of innovations by farmers. Around 100 profiles of innovative farmers was compiled with a focus on individual farmers and entrepreneurs and simple, cost-effective yet imaginative solutions to common problems faced by the farming community. Here, we present profiles of a selected few farmer innovator.

 Dairy shed design and management

 Mr. Kailas Jadhav has 40 buffaloes on his farm near Pune in Maharashtra. He has designed a hygienic and naturally cooled dairy shed which provides good air circulation. The air circulates from top as well as from the sides. It also protects from sunlight and rain. GI sheets have been used for the roof-top. This model design helps in keeping the temperature low during summers. The model is cost effective and has a convenient design.

Around five acre of land is used for producing fodder. Different types of grasses are used as fodder to increase the nutrients in the milk. Also, Ayurvedic medicines are used for buffaloes in case of any health problems.

The model has resulted in better health of the animals and costs on medicine has reduced by 50 to 60 percent. There is a 20 to 30% increase in milk production as compared to conventionally managed dairy farms. Each buffalo gives around 9 to 11 litres of milk everyday. Milk is sold in Pune through their own outlet, at the rate of Rs. 50 per litre. Selling in own outlet also results in better incomes. Many farmers and entrepreneurs from all over India visit their farm.

This innovative farmer can be contacted at Raviraj Hitech Farm, AP Nere, Mulsh taluk, Pune district.
Mobile: 09822258378

Mixed Cropping of Banana and Papaya

Traditionally only one crop is being cultivated in Kamrej taluk in Gujarat. Mehulbhai Bhogilal introduced the concept of multiple cropping in horticulture crops. He planted 650 plants of Papaya and 1100 plants of Banana alternatively in one acre of land. The crops ripen at different points of time and it makes it easy to manage the cultivation process for both the crops.

Production increased more than 50% compared to regular crop. By raising multiple crops on same field, there was reduction in cost and increase in net returns. Cultivation of multiple crops on the same field also resulted in improvement in the quality of soil.

Mehulbhai sells produce in the local market. He has not taken any loan assistance from the government, and has made his investment by directly purchasing banana and papaya tissue plants from market.

This innovative farmer can be contacted at Dungra Post, Kamrej taluka, Surat district, Gujarat.

Jhaar Karela – A selection of wild bitter gourd

 Jhaar Karela is found on bushes on sandy area and considered as weed in south-western districts of Punjab. Shri Dalip Singh travelled wide, even to Rajasthan, for collecting the seeds of this wild variety of bitter gourd. He made the selection and developed a variety of his own. It has been 5 years since he is growing ‘Jhaar Karela’ on an area of 0.5–1.5 hectares annually. Jhaar Karela is a trailing crop and requires staking for successful cultivation. Dalip Singh has also developed a system of bamboo staking on concrete foundation to trail the vines.

The average yield produced is 75 quintals per hectare. Shri Dalip Singh has made a packing size of Jhaar Karela of 1, 2 and 5 kg. The Jhaar Karela is priced up to Rs. 50–60 per kg. The innovator gets orders from Ludhiana and Batinda. The farmer has earned a net return of about Rs. 2,00,000 per hectare. The plant has a medicinal value and is good for diabetic patients.

This innovative farmer can be contacted at Kothe Ramsar village, Post Dhilwan Kalan, Kotkapoora, District Faridkot, Punjab, Mobile: 09417929149

Leaves decoction as Bio-pesticide

 Shri Anand Singh Thakur has developed a bio-pesticide from easily available materials in farm like leaves and cow urine. The decoction is prepared using 5 different types’ leaves and other bio-materials. Five different types of leaves used are of Neem, Pongamiya, Custard apple, Ipomia, and Calotropis gigantia (Commonly known as Madar). One kg of each type of leaf is mixed with 250 gm garlic, water and cow urine. This mixture is then boiled till it reduces to half the quantity and then filtered.

Shri Anand Singh is making this bio-pesticide for his use in the land where he grows potato, wheat and other crops. Due to the use of this pesticide the yield of wheat increased from 10 quintals to 11 quintals. It also enhances weight and gives shine to the grains.

This decoction is very simple to prepare and use. All the components are easily available at village level free of cost, therefore reducing the cost of cultivation. This bio-pesticide is very effective for controlling the insect-pest (sucking pest, leaf feeders, etc.) of soybean and other crops. The use of this bio-pesticide does not harm beneficial insects. Also, by using this bio-pesticide, around 20% water can be saved. Shri Anand Singh also demonstrates this innovation to other farmers. Many farmers visit his farm and he provides consulting to them.

This innovative farmer can be contacted at Village Umariya Khurd, Post Doodhia, Tehsil & District Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Mobile: 09301301901

Value addition of Bengal gram

Mr. Nagesh Swami owns 3 acres of land. His family is dependent on farming. So for increasing the income he started to add value to his organic farm produce. Chana dal is the major product that he produces from chickpea. It is made by processing on hand driven rollers. He designed these rollers by redesigning its input space, in such a way that rollers produce the chana dal smoothly. As the rollers are hand driven he saves the electricity for driving rollers as well as for dryers. The innovation has also created employment for women in the area, who drive the rollers.

Homemade dal has decent demand from the traditional cultured customers. Customers pay more money and purchase it in bulk. He sells dal at the cost of Rs. 50 to 55 per kg. He sells his products from his home. He maintains the records of customer orders, based on which he decides his scale of production.

Mr. Nagesh Swami is not too profit oriented. He produces all the farm inputs organically so that he incurs minimum costs on external inputs. His wife also helps him in all the operations. She was awarded as ‘Progressive female farmer’ in 2011.

Mr. Nagesh Swami also provides consulting on this technique to many other farmers without any cost. Many farmers visited him and got inspired. This is best example of self reliance for small farmer.

This innovative farmer can be contacted at Shewade (Umbraj) Taluka Karad, District Solapur – 415109
Mobile: 09822848432, 09423341861

Source: Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), Krishi Sutra-
Profiles of agricultural innovations in India
, 2012, New Delhi.