Natural method:Farmers of Bahour make their own fertilizers in the form of ‘pancha gavya.’
“It has been ages since anybody bought chemical pesticides from the nearby outlet run by the government,” said Bahour farmers.
This group of farmers proudly say that they have not used chemical pesticides for over 15 years as they showed around their lush green fields where paddy, urad dhal, sesame seeds and vegetables are grown.
Called the Iyarkai Vivasayigal Sangam, the group was formed by the Pondicherry Science Forum.
At least 100 acres in the village is cultivated using natural pest repellents. “We make poochi viratti using a decoction made of neem leaves, veli kaathaan, nochi and adathoda leaves. We soak the leaves in water for a month and then spray the liquid on the plants,” explained P. Murugan, a farmer.
The farmers don’t stop with what they have learnt from organic expert Nammalvar.
“He told us how our forefathers were only into organic farming and that we should not consume poison in the form of chemical fertilizers. I have sown paddy in the traditional method and also using a planter… in a third field I have sown a native variety. I want to see the harvest from each of these fields,” said P. Amirthalingam, another farmer.
The farmers also make their own fertilizers in the form of ‘pancha gavya’ where jaggery, cow dung, cow urine, bananas and country liquor (or curds) is mixed and kept aside for a month (it is turned over once in 15 days) and used instead of urea.
“We spray it on the crops so that the pulses grow larger. Using cow dung and coconut fibres we make organic fertilizer, which is used in the fields,” explained R. Pavadai, who showed other farmers around his farm where he cultivates mushroom using cut straw.
T.P. Raghunath, Centre for Ecology and Rural Development of the Pondicherry Science Forum, said the Forum has been providing them intensive training programmes.
“We have tried to change the typical approach to agriculture, which is input and output. We want them to see it as a wholistic system where farming is linked to our lives,” he explained.