An organic and conventional way forward

By Times Of India on 12 Apr 2018 | read
TRICHY: At a time when more farmers are abandoning the conventional method and plumping for organic farming, a farmer from Lalgudi has taken the middle path so as to tap the positive aspects of both. A Vetrivel, 48, says a judicious mix of organic and conventional methods could work wonders in agriculture.
The BA graduate says this is particularly significant for agriculture produces like cereals. A BA graduate, Vetrivel has been engaged in agriculture for more than 20 years. He has been cultivating paddy, black grams and banana on his ancestral land of over 20 acres located in and around Lalgudi in Trichy district. “The problem with organic farming is that it would yield only 70 per cent of the grains and cereals that you get through the conventional method of using chemical fertilizers. Moreover, even all the manure stock in the country would be sufficient to meet only 30 per cent of our present fertilizer needs”, says the farmer.

Vetrivel says he has been using organic fertilizers, pesticides and green manure like neem oil cake, groundnut oil cake, castor oil, cow dung and Panchagavya, Amirtha karaisal (consisting of cow dung, cow urine, cow milk, ghee, jaggery, banana and water) for raising most crops as well as banana. “I always use neem oil on the 15th day after sowing black gram to control the pests affecting the leaves besides using Monochrotophos – a chemical pesticide. I also use cytozyme- plant tonic”, Vetrivel said. Farmers usually sowed black gram seeds on the paddy farm a day before the crop was harvested. They had to use 18 kilograms of seed per acre but the yield would only be three bags of 100 kg each, he said.

“Instead of adopting the said conventional method of sowing black gram, I started to sow it on dry land after harvesting paddy crop. To execute this method, we need only 10 kilograms of seed, but the yield will be eight bags. I adopt a new method, be it organic or conventional, only after examining the result”, he opined.

He has been cultivating banana, mostly Poovan and Elakki, on around 10 acres for the last 15 years. During summer he used to put goat manure fertilizer in order to prepare the land for banana cultivation, he said. “Instead of planting the banana corm in an ordinary way, I usually treat them by dipping in Pseudomonas, Viridi solution and keep them for a week covered in a gunny sack. This would help the corm to germinate without any disease. I use cow dung while planting the corm and spray Panchagavya on the banana bunch. It will give a good texture to the banana as well as weight so that we can get reasonable price”, Vetrivel added.

On water consumption, he said that they were using pump sets to irrigate all types of crops in Lalgudi area. He appealed to the agriculture department to help farmers from Lalgudi to use groundwater judiciously, in such a way as to prevent groundwater table from depleting.