New technique: If humic acid is used, the cost of cultivation is about Rs. 1,000.
The farmer has made a net profit of more than Rs.50 lakhs last year
Farmers should change with the times and try to implement new technologies if they must succeed. Whether it is one acre or 100 acres, a farmer must be willing to try new techniques and learn from past mistakes.
Mr. V. Veeraraghavan, Mudaiyur village, Thirukazhikundram, (about 5 kms from the temple) Tamil Nadu, is a good example of how a farmer with only 2-3 acres as ancestral property, successfully grows watermelon in 120 acres.
“From childhood I wanted to achieve something big. After my diploma in mechanical engineering I decided to do farming. I knew that farming in 2-3 acres would not help.
“Luckily, I came into contact with Mr. Raja Inthren, a private agricultural consultant who advised me to take up large lands on lease and grow some short-term crops which fetch a good price.
After some initial hunting for lands Mr. Veeraraghavan took 120 acres on lease for cultivation and started growing watermelon.
Why did he choose watermelon when there are hundreds of other crops?
“Watermelon is a short term crop (60 days) and if done in large acreage a farmer can earn a good profit,” he says. Unlike the regular (red flesh) watermelon variety, the farmer is also growing yellow (mythila), also called next generation or ice pack variety, and orange (devyani) varieties.
“There is very good demand for the yellow and orange varieties, especially from star hotels, as the supply of these two varieties is low,” he says.
No particular season
The most distinguishing feature of these varieties is that they grow all through the year, unlike the red ones which are available only during summer.
Chemical fertilizers are applied in 100 acres and humic acid used in the remaining 20 acres to grow the watermelons.
“Mr. Raja initiated me into the beneficial effects of using humic acid. I decided to experiment in 20 acres and surprisingly found the yield increased from 10 tonnes to 12 tonnes per acre after using the acid. I soon plan to cultivate all the 120 acres using humic acid alone,” he says.
But what about the cost of cultivation using this acid?
“If a farmer cultivates a crop in 20 acres, the expense for buying the fertilizers and sprays comes to about Rs. 10,000. But if he uses humic acid, then he needs to spend only about Rs. 1,000.
“My expenditure in 20 acres after using the acid has drastically come down. Other farmers should also start using this acid and realise its benefit,” he emphasises.
Farmers can purchase the acid from Neyveli Lignite Corporation of India, phone: 0414-2257149 and Dr. Ilango, Senior lecturer, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, mobile: 9443208619.
The cost of a one litre bottle is Rs.25. It should be diluted in 2 litres of water and sprayed for an acre, or can also be mixed with the soil (diluted in about 10-20 litres of water) and sprinkled. The farmer also uses two magnet blocks which he attaches to the irrigation pipeline. By sticking the magnets he says:
“The physical property of water is altered while the chemical property remains the same. For example, during drip irrigation the nozzles in the drip tube get blocked after some time due to the salts (such as magnesium, potassium) present in the water.
When the magnets are attached to the main pipeline this blockage problem does not occur,” he says.
For those who do not have drip facility the magnets must be attached to the main pipe which delivers the water to the irrigation channel.
“The problem with our farmers today is they think their job is over once the crop is harvested.
“Farmers must become more aware about the marketing avenues for their crops. They should grow only those crops which have marketable qualities,” he stresses.
At present, along with his produce, the farmer is also sourcing from several other farmers. “Any interested farmer can contact me and I am ready to help him to market his produce,” he says.
In the last one year Mr. Veeraraghavan has sold nearly 10,000 tonnes of fruits and has made a net profit of more thanRs.50 lakhs.
For details readers can contact Mr. V.Veeraraghavan, Mudaiyur village, 603 109, Thirukazhikundram, Tamil Nadu, mobile: 9894145143.