Dayanand Appayyanavarmath of Kurgund village has succeeded in reaping rich harvests in a small plot of land by practising integrated farming.
On two acres of plant, he has planted fruit trees such as mango, coconut, guava, jamoon and jackfruit. He has built two gobar gas units that light up his house and generate a few units of electricity to maintain the fertigation unit in the farm.
Mr. Appayyanavarmath has built a hydroponics unit to grow wheat to feed the cows. He keeps honeybee boxes in the garden to harvest honey. He also sells bee boxes to farmers. He has built a greenhouse to grow vegetables and flowers. Four vermi-compost units provide chemical-free fertilizer for his crops and trees. A farm pond collects water from the borewell that irrigates the farm through drip and micro-sprinklers.
Being open to new technology and taking calculated risks have helped him face challenges, including erratic rainfall and uncertain pricing of farm produce.
“I don’t depend on one product. If I suffer losses in grain, I will make it up in fruits, honey, milk or vegetables,” he says.
It took him special efforts to convince the people of his village to connect the community toilet to the gobar gas plant. When I told them that human waste can be mixed with cow dung to produce gobar gas and, in turn, electricity, they ridiculed me. But now, “I am running my kitchen entirely out of gobar gas. I don’t have an LPG connection. Farmers from far off places come to my house to see the gobar gas unit and seek my help in building similar units in their backyard,” he said.
“Knowing that I was a Fine Arts graduate, my father in-law initiatly agreed to give his daughter in marriage to me. But when he learnt that I was a farmer, he hesitated,” he said. “I had to wait four years before I convinced him that a small farmer like me can be successful. Now, he is happy and goes around telling everyone how I am an inspiration to young farmers,” Mr. Appayyanavarmath said.