Creation of an ideal model of organic farming in Vidarbha
The left bank canal of the Isapur dam flows near Dahagaon in Taluka Umarkhed of Yawatmal district. It is on the bank of this canal that Babarao Uttamrao Jadhav (Patil) has his 5 acres and 30 gunthas of farmland. This farm has earned quite a bit of recognition in the area as an ‘organic farm’. After passing the SSC examination in 1968, Babarao decided to go into agriculture, which was the family profession. During the period of the Green Revolution, he used chemical fertilizers and got bountiful produce. In the beginning, the land was extremely fertile, and the production kept on increasing. Later, however, the adverse effects of the uncontrolled use of chemical fertilizers became evident. This led him to consider organic farming techniques. In 1997, he received training in organic farming technology at a workshop in Hyderabad. He observed the products of Organic farming in the malls there, as well as the customer response for these products, and then adopted organic farming methods. He started a vermiculture project. For this, five beds of 2542.5 feet were made in 2004 and later, in 2007. About 7 tons of worm fertilizers are produced every 70 days from this project. He also buys farm manure from outside as needed. In addition, he uses grass waste, weeds, plants and buffalo dung manure as raw material for producing worm fertilizer. Worms of the Eugenia Eudrilist variety are used in this. The remaining worm fertilizer is sold to farmers at Rs. 400 per quintal. The worm fertilizer is sold in bags of 50 kg each. For this, he has also bought a sewing machine to stitch these bags. Farmers from areas such as Hadgaon, Mahagaon, Umarkhed etc. purchase the fertilizer and take it directly from Babarao’s farm. From this, he earns about 60 to 70 thousand rupees annually. Babarao used the worm fertilizer produced in his own vermiculture project for his farming, and popularised his farming as ‘organic farming’. Along with the worm fertilizer, he also uses the grass fertilizer of dhaincha, boru, as well as the waste from the production of black gram, green gram, soybean, etc. for fertilizers.
Use of mixed crop method of farming
Organic farming did not yield satisfactory production in the beginning. But as soon as the land productivity and quality improved with use of organic and worm fertilizers, the production grew quickly. Babarao has adopted the mixed crop method. In 2001-02, he produced as much as 68 tons of organic sugarcane per acre.
He used intercrops of okra, onion, cluster beans etc. and earned a net income of 30 thousand rupees. From 2004, he started producing organic wheat crop, producing 43 quintals of wheat in 80 gunthas of farm land. Last year, he produced 29 quintals of wheat in 1.25 acres of farm land, out of which he sold 22 quintals at the rate of Rs. 24 thousand per quintal. A number of customers had made bookings for the wheat, including the district collector, district agricultural superintendent, etc. This year, organic wheat has been sown in three acres of farm, and all the production has been booked in advance. The wheat is made available to the customers in packs of 10 kg and 50 kg. Neem powder made on the farm is used to prevent decay and diseases to the wheat. Last year, 2 varieties of Bengal gram were sown in two acres of land, which yielded a total of 28 quintals of Bengal gram. Seed sales fetched a rate of four thousand rupees per quintal. 3.96 quintals of a local organic variety of tur (pigeon pea) was produced in eight gunthas of farm land, and the pulses produced from it were sold in the market. The grains are tasty and also cook quickly, which is why customers prefer this tur dal. There is a good demand for organic green peas and black gram as well. This year too, the local variety of tur (peagon pea) has been sown in 15 gunthas of land. Customers have already made bookings for these pigeon peas. At the same time, the intercrops of black gram yielded 1 quintal, and those of green gram yielded 75 kg. Organic sesame, sown as an intercrop with soybean, earned a per quintal rate of 4500 rupees. Intercrops of fenugreek and coriander also proved financially profitable.
Every year, Babarao sows Tinda on a large scale after the Bengal gram crop is harvested. He earns an income of 67 thousand rupees from Tinda in ten gunthas of land. It has a very high demand in markets at Umarkhed, Mahagaon, Pusad, Yawatmal etc. Cauliflower was produced in five gunthas last year, and the weight of each cauliflower was four kg. The rate earned by cauliflower was ten rupees a kg, and the income earned was 17 thousand rupees. 140 quintals of very tasty carrots were produced in 17 gunthas of land, earning two lakh ten thousand rupees as income. Customers love his organic vegetables such as carrots, garlic, cauliflower, eggplant, tomato etc. He was felicitated for his organic farming by the then chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh. He earns a net income of two-and-a-half to three lakh rupees every year from the organic farming, which has led to a significant improvement in his financial condition.
“Babarao Jadhav, a progressive farmer from Dahagaon in Yawatmal district, has been making his farming profitable by using organic farming technology. There is a lot of demand for a variety of farm products produced by him. Recently, the Maharashtra govt. lauded his activities by awarding him the Krishi Bhushan (Organic Farming) award.”-Dinkar Gulhane
Major points about Babarao’s farming
- Babarao has a milk production business in addition to organic farming. He has five buffalos, out of which three yield 11 litres of milk daily. It is sold to domestic customers at Rs. 35 per litre. The entire family helps him with organic farming, including his wife Mrs. Salokata, sons Uttam and Vivekanand, and daughter Anupama. He has 40 trees of drum stick (shevaga) which earn him about 10-12 thousand rupees. He also has teak trees as well as trees of tamarind, guava, sweet lemon etc.
- Babarao believes that the use of organic fertilizers helped improve the quality of land, which had been completely lost because of the uncontrolled use of chemical fertilizers. Earlier, wheat had to be watered six or seven times, whereas now, it only needs to be watered five times. The land quality and fertility has improved, as has the water retention capacity of the soil. His farmland has become very soft from the use of worm fertilizer, and so has become very easy for tilling. Only one pair of bullocks is used for tilling the land. Organic farming has resulted in a 35 per cent reduction in expenses, and 10 per cent of reduction in labour payments, he says. The normal well and the tube well have sufficient water. For now at least, he manages his water supply in the conventional manner. But he understands the utility and value of water, and therefore wishes to adopt drip irrigation for his organic farming.
- For his organic farming, Babarao has received a fellowship of the M. S. Swaminathan Foundation, Chennai, on behalf of the Jamshedji Tata National Virtual Society. He has conducted numerous agro-schools and has trained over a thousand farmers. He has also focused on the training of Savings groups. He insists on using seeds produced by himself along with foreign modified seeds. Numerous farmers have visited his organic farm.
- Babarao has been into organic farming since 1998. Only these varieties of fertilizers are used: worm fertilizer (production up to 50 tons per year), grass and weed fertilizers: wastes from crops of dhaincha, black gram, green gram, cow pea, soybean, biodynamic compost fertilizer. For protection of crops: extract of neem (home produced), cow urine, extract of dashparni plant.
Babarao Jadhav: 8007181897
Uttam Jadhav: 9404141948