B. Krishnaveni is in her early 50s. She is a resourceful farmer who never lets her two-acre land go vacant. Besides practising ‘Srivari’ cultivation, she also grows vegetables. Not only that, she has stopped using ‘masala’ (fertilizers) since the past few years and adopted the non-pesticide management (NPM) practice.
“We came to know about NPM few years back but it has changed our lives for the better. About 160 farmers out of 350 are practising NPM. For me, it means not spending an additional Rs. 10,000 per year, which I needed to buy ‘masala’ in the past. Now we are able prepare the required fertilizer and pesticide in our own farm at a cost of Rs. 1,000,” said Ms. Krishnaveni.
Taking note of the practices being followed by Ms. Krishnaveni, many in the village have started cultivating multiple crops. At least 30 famers in the village have been growing vegetables by earning an additional income of Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,500 per week depending on the demand for vegetables in the market.
“We are also cultivating vegetables like tomato, bhindi, Hibiscus cannabinus (gongura), broad beans (chikkudu), coriander (kothimeera) and red gram (kandi) in addition to the main crop of turmeric. My annual income has increased by Rs. 20,000, which I am spending on the education of my children,” says I. Bhujangam.
Gangaram Yadaiah, another farmer and a follower of best practices, has been cultivating vegetables though his farm does not have irrigation facility.
He earns Rs. 22,000 for four months and pays Rs. 6,000 to the farmer who supplies water to irrigate his farm. Majority of the farmers in the village are small holding owners and many of them prefer not to opt for commercial crops.
“Under polyculture, we are assured of some income even if some crop gets dried up or is lost. We use the additional income to educate our children in private schools,” said G. Bebamma, another farmer of the village.