Simple tips he learnt by cultivating the habit of reading on farming could do the wonders for this farmer in the hilly terrains of Visakhapatnam.
Sunkari Appanna, a tribal belonging to Valmiki community, who hails from Malisingaram in Araku mandal, is most sought after for his ‘rajma’ beans grown with organic farming.
The beans were sold like hotcakes at the shandy conducted at Arakulova. ‘Sahukars’ – merchants from Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram bought it for supplying to Punjab and other parts of the country. Baked ‘rajma’ and curry are popular North India cuisine.
Taking up ‘rajma’ plantation for the first time this year, he could ensure a bumper crop and got the outstanding farmer award by the State Government at the Sankranti Puraskaram function. “I could know some tips by reading books on farming. The agriculture officials also gave the required guidance to help me grow more,” he told The Hindu.
In his 10-acre land, where only rain-fed cultivation is done, he planted ‘rajma’ in three acres, papaya in five acres and vegetables in two acres.
He spent Rs.4 lakh in total, of which half he took as loan from private lenders.
Appanna saved money on labour by engaging two members of his family. And when the harvesting started, he could earn a net profit of Rs.1 lakh from papaya, Rs.30,000 from ‘rajma’ and Rs.32,000 from vegetables during 2009. “He took up cultivation of ‘rajma’ and papaya for the first time and the result was very impressive. It was mainly due to line spacing,” M.V. Srinivas, Araku Mandal Agriculture Extension Officer, says.
Generally 70 to 150 kg of ‘rajma’ is produced in an area of one acre.
“With proper guidance from Agriculture Assistant Director T. Bhavani Shankar, I could get 500 kg per acre,” declares Appanna with a sense of pride. Rajma is grown across the 11 Agency mandals in the district in an area of about 20,000 acres.
On his success from papaya, he says he sought the help of horticulture officials and followed the dos and don’ts recommended by them strictly.