Having achieved a yield of 12 paddy bags, each weighing 66 kilograms, from his 20 cents of land in Kulamangalam, farmer M. Tirupathi is a happy man.
A team of officials from the Department of Agriculture (Madurai West Block) and other farmers in the area converged at his place on Monday to see the organic farmer in action. “My family has been practising organic methods of farming for the past 50 years, and I realised that it was time those traditional practices were put to use on my land,” said Mr Tirupathi. He owns about four acres in the single-crop area.
Speaking about his farming methods, Mr Tirupathi said he planted ‘Kolinji’ which was ploughed back into the soil and used as green manure, together with other bio-fertilizers. “I also sow wild varieties of crops which need less chemical inputs but give a good yield. By using only organic methods, I also protect the soil,” he added.
Stating that he was involved in organic farming for the second year now, he said the yield these days was much more than what he used to get in the conventional method of using chemical inputs.
R. Selvan, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Madurai West Block, said despite farmers like Mr Tirupathi wanting to improve the soil conditions and resorting to organic farming, many others were hesitant to take it up. “There are only about 40 to 50 farmers who practise organic farming in small pockets in this region. Many are hesitant to switch over to this method since the yield for the first couple of years is not that promising,” he said.
“We are trying to motivate more people by telling them that the gradual improvement in the soil will lead to higher yields of good quality,” Mr Selvan added.