We’ve heard of banks, piggybanks and blood banks … but a goat bank? Here is a farmer who has launched one to promote integrated farming among fellow farmers to up their income.
P. Ramesh, the promoter of the goat bank concept, is a small farmer, who has three-and-a -half acres of land in Rangasamudra village in T. Narsipur taluk of Mysuru district. He believes farmers must cultivate multiple crops and take up various components, including animal husbandry, to rein in profits.
“I formed a group of 23 young marginal farmers and gave them one young female goat for free. In return, they have to give me a kid, when the goat gives birth. The goats usually breed once in six months, and every time they give birth to three kids. It is mutually beneficial as each of these 23 farmers have now got about 20 goats,” he says.
He says the concept of a goat bank has helped farmers get an assured additional income as each goat sells for around Rs. 4,000 once it is six months old.
It was his own life’s bitter experience that made him focus on integrated farming. Mr. Ramesh, who has done M.Ed. and even worked as the principal of a private school, said: “I neither got enough remuneration nor was my job confirmed. The only option was to take up agriculture on my small ancestral farm. But, as the farm size was too small, I focussed on integrated farming,” he says.
He now grows sugarcane, banana and paddy, besides taking up agro forestry on the farm’s border. He also grows coconut, is involved in animal husbandry and poultry, among other things.
But, his hallmark is that he does all these things in an organic way. Not only that, he is also experimenting with direct marketing of the organic produce grown by him to 20 families in Mysuru. “Direct marketing helps in getting remunerative prices. I am against the concept of unnecessarily over-pricing organic produce unless the situation demands it. So, my customers are happy,” he says.
Mr. Ramesh was honoured for his innovations by the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bengaluru at the Krishi Mela on Friday, with the ‘Best District-level Farmer Award’. He is also trying to conserve and promote the Bandur sheep, a famous breed of Old Mysuru region.