Annadana Soil and Seed Savers completes a year of operations in Bangalore on 14th June 2011. An integrated approach in holistic farming using low cost techniques is the mission. Seed saving being the centrifugal aim. In six acres at Ishana Farms, a unique agro ecology model is being translated on to the ground. The mantra followed here is "From soil to seed to plate". Be it from growing millet & cereal crops like ragi, oats, paddy, wheat, corn for farm consumption to around 65 vegetable diversity of organic seeds conserved within 9 months to aid farmers to take charge of their seeds.
Spectacular transformations commenced under the concerted efforts by my senior agronomist John Paul. John is a wonder man with a striking ability to achieve the impossible. One has to just bounce an idea, lo and behold it is implemented with such thought, precision with details and care. Rare quality to find. No wonder John commands enormous respect amongst the varied team he leads which comprises of a young enthusiastic biotechnologist to a team of dedicated hard working farmers.
Surprising isn't it and refreshing that in this day and age, farmers do not wish to give up agriculture! When a farmer is treated with respect and dignity given fair remuneration package and perks like children's education, medical expenses, insurance taken care off, then why would farmers wish to quit. Unfortunately, our government is so seeped in their own power & greed driven agendas that farmer's welfare is the last on their minds. Devinder Sharma for a decade now has been suggesting that farmers be provided with a fixed monthly income but it has gone on deaf years. With the recent spade of events, we have lost a golden opportunity when Baba Ramdev was striving to not just revive agriculture but set this corrupt house of government in order to bring transparency and economic progress for us Indians.
Well, let me not deviate but share some of our low cost innovative techniques:
1. Bio-Digestor - Immunity booster and a bio pesticide.The large tank is Fermentation tank which collects cow dung, cow urine along with weeds like Parthenium, lantana, calatropis and more along with medicinal and insecticide plants like neem, amla, adutoda. This is allowed to ferment for 30 days. After which the concentrate which is a bio pesticide filters into the smaller collection tank. Can be use both as a foliar spray or via Soil application. Cost of digging the pits, concrete rings with concrete base, plastering and four days wages of two farm help - Rs 5,000.
P.S - A large rectangle plastered & constructed tanks(quite expensive) can be seen at Bio centre Hulimavu. The original idea came from Dr Ramakrishnappa, Asst Director Horticulture, Karnataka. We adapted this with innovative design to suit farmers needs.
2. Fertigation is a process which applies organic growth promoters and natural fertilizers through irrigation water directly to the root zone. Immunity boosters such as amrit pani, panchgavyaa, bio pesticide and more mixed with irrigation water is channeled through this recycled plastic storage barrel to the main pipe line. This is a controlled method of applying fertilizer depending on the crop and saves manpower.
Cost - Recycled drum and half day wage
3. Vermi Wash - Recycled plastic barrel with broken bricks, sand, native soil, cow dung, earthworms and hay. This is left for 15 days. Thereafter 5 litres if water is introduced into this vermi compost which washes potent macro and micro nutrients."
Cost - Recycled plastic barrel and cost of one day labour rest inputs are INSITU