On Sept 13, 2014, Chetna Organic farmers from Maharashtra and Odisha arrived in Jannaram for an exposure visit to the farms, research centres and to learn about other organic activities being executed by Pragathi MACS – an associate of Chetna Organic Farmers Association in Telangana.
Farmer Field in Movada
The 26 member delegation began their tour of the area by visiting farms in the tribal village of Movada in Asifabad block where they saw organic agriculture in action- much like in their own clusters but adopting a slightly different package of organic practices.
Here they saw organic soil management with manures and bio mass, locally adopted crop varieties, cotton quality with super high staple length organic manures, botanical extracts units prepared and stored with every farmer, multiple/mixed cropping, intercropping system suitable for drought prone legumes (redgram, blackgram, green gram, field beans) and cotton inter-crop with red gram, black gram, castor, corn, jowar, marigold and vegetables.
Eco –Centre in Belgom Village
The delegation then moved to Chetna Organic’s Eco –Centre in Belgom village where a farmer owned barred plot of 2 acres has been converted into a demonstration plot to show case integrated organic agriculture practices. Here they saw how a live stock centred approach to agriculture can result in increased income for small holder farmers in rainfed conditions.
The site here features a cow shed for 15 cows complete with drinking water and fodder channels, a bio-gas Plant: with digester tank, slurry tank, bio gas light and one gas stove, a vermi-Compost Unit roofed with palm leaves, roof water harvesting tank, rain water pond with a coracle and bamboo fencing, fodder cultivation, cotton varieties plots, mini poultry unit, rabbit unit, nursery saplings production, vegetable cultivation, fisheries, bio mass plants, fodder trees, fruit plants, floriculture, green manuring and green leaf manuring, efficient irrigation methods, soil and water conservation structures, forestry, and liquid manure units.
Farmer Field, Parda
M Somu and M Mahadu’s 7– acre plot is a manifestation of Chetna’ s vision.
In four acres following intercropping and mixed cropping patterns they grow a combination of food crops and cash crops like cotton, wheat, maize, ground nut and millets like Sorghum.They grow legumes, vegetables and oil seed crops - all organic. In one acre they have a Teak and Henna plantation. In the same plot in the remaining one acre they also have an orchard where they grow Mangoes, Guava, Custard Apple, Berries and orange. They use their open well for irrigation and grow crops in both cropping seasons of the year. There are Glyricidia, Pongameia and neem which serve as bio-mass. They use only organic pesticides and organic manures as recommended by Chetna Organic. The entire family of Mahadu (4 daughters and 3 sons) contribute their time and effort to the farm and are self sufficienct for food. With technical support from Chetna Organic, the family today grows a wide range of vegetables like Tomato, Brinjal, Chilli, Gourds, Beans, Onion, Garlic and leafy vegetables that take care of their food requirements for the entire year, leaving enough surplus that can generate a handsome income from the market.
Pragathi Eco-Centre, Sirpur-U mandal
The next stop for the delegation was the recently set up Eco-centre in Raghapur on a spread of six acres land purchased by the Pragathi MACS. This eco centre was set up asa demonstrative project for the organic farmers on how to utilize the organic outputs from livestock for their organic farming.
The centre has been set up as a one stop shop for the entire spectrum of organic practices where farmers can learn everything from seed to harvesting.
Here they witnessed the following practices:
- Soil and water conservation structures and soil fertility mesures like Mini NADEP Unit
- Mini vermin – cost unit
- Amruth Jalam unit
- Amruth Compost production-Unit
- Fish Tonic unit
- Liquid farm yard manure unit
- Top Ten Preparation Unit
- Panchakaya Unit (mini)
- Dobolkar method under soil fertility improvement- on shallow soil patch
- Green manuring and insitu
- Bio mass plants
- Farm pond.
- Vegetable cultivation and Fruit plant cultivation
- Sunhemph seed production, fodder crops,
- Mixed cropping and Multiple cropping system,
- Medicinal crops like Aswagandha, Alfalfa
- Seed Production
- Sapling production-Nursery unit
- Botanical and organic nutrients preparation and application
- Rain water harvesting
- Efficient water using methods (Drip, Sprinklers) mulching
- Drudgery reduction tools
- Floriculture Agro forestry plants - teak, bamboo
- Vegetable nursery
MAAD Activities, Mahagaon School
The farmers also met the children of Mahagaon Tribal Residential School where the Chetna –Peace by Peace cotton project – MAAD- is being executed. The visitors were treaded to a enthralling dance performance by the girl students of the school which reflected the local culture of the region. This was followed by a visit to the vegetable garden and art classes and the laboratory supported by the PBP cotton project.
100% Organic village, Patelguda
The last stop for the delegates was the 100%organic village of Patelguda where they visited yet another organic farm and intereacted with farmers. The exposure visit culminated at the Pragathi Eco centre where the Cooperative members hosted a dinner in the farm for the visiting farmers.