My dear farming friends, last month our Prime Minister inaugurated a fertilizer production factory in Orissa. The news was, as was typical, shared in different media. It is some news yes, but for farmers like us it raises certain questions?
What is the need for sinking so many crores for a new fertilizer factory? Already agriculture sector is quite sick and no government till now has been able to address the problems farmers are facing.
Next question which comes to my mind is: Do we really need this chemical factory when even the so-called developed nations are practising organic?
I agree that marketing is a huge issue in organic farming. But the reality is that even chemically grown produce do not fetch a good price either.
Agriculture being a government-controlled area, farmers cannot do much on many issues. But they can try to do things in their control, such as maintaining soil health, using safe agricultural practices which do not harm them or the environment or consumers etc.
As I had previously mentioned in my columns, agriculture is a government-controlled vocation and by and large not transparent. The local agriculture department in our state or practically anywhere in the country is just a name board with nothing worthwhile inside. So what do we do?
Do we depend on the department for our everyday needs? Or do we depend on the retail shop selling inputs?
The inputs do not come free. We have to pay the retailer or grease the hand of the agriculture department staff to get the government-supplied seeds, inputs etc at a subsidized price.
But all this doesn’t doesn’t seem to bother P Alagesan, a postgraduate farmer from Sankagiri in Salem.
He identifies himself as “All in all Alagesan” and has developed an effective liquid manure manufacturing technology from local cow dung and cow urine. Called manure factory, it is now becoming popular in and around the district.
We don’t need any big investment to put up this manure factory. All we require is a minimum of Rs 1,000 for buying a plastic barrel and two plastic gate valves. The rest of the inputs can be easily sourced locally.
The plastic gate valves are fixed, one below the top of the barrel and the second at the bottom, behind the barrel.
Fresh dung and urine from a desi cow is mixed well with water in the barrel and allowed to ferment for a day. We can add jaggery, kitchen waste, rotten fruits, or practically any kitchen waste to it. The mouth is closed using a thin piece of cloth. After a week we can open the valve at the front to allow the fermented solution to flow freely along with irrigating water.
Once a week we can add water to increase the solution level in the barrel and use. For an acre we can place four to five barrels in the different places inside the field.
I have been using this method for the last four years and, believe me, friends, I have been saving a considerable amount from purchasing some organic inputs or labour for my vegetable garden. I have also found that this technology increases the water holding capacity of the soil and improves the beneficial micro-organisms present in the soil.
Alagesan, an educated farmer, has developed this method and has been benefitting from it. I have seen it personally and recorded it and have been using it in my garden. My friends after seeing me have started using this simple technology. Farmers are visiting Alagesan to know and see it personally for themselves.
Then what makes the rest of us to simply sit glum? Those who have used this can also start using this method and spread the word to your fellow farmers.
An absolute, low-cost indigenous proven technique is what is required now for us and Alagesan’s method suits us to a T.
Alagesan was introduced to me by Dr K Alagesan, programme coordinator, MYRADA KVK in Gobichettypalayam who have documented several interesting case studies. They are the best KVK in Tamil Nadu.
For personal visits and more details readers can contact P Alagesan, email:firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: 9944635117.
Like Alagesan, I will meet you next week with something interesting. Till then its bye.