Friday, February 10, 2012

The organic Couple: Bikash and Sulekha

Vermicompost chamber
Panitore is a small village of Basirhat Sub-division and is very close to Indo-Bangladesh Border. Most of villagers are either marginal farmers or day labours. For the last 5 years we are running ‘Krishi Pathsala- night school for farmers to spread sustainable agriculture practice’ with our NGO partner, Panitore Palli Unnayan Samity. Our main focus is to make the farmers independent on – seed, pest controlling and manures. One of our innovative farmers, Mr. Nandi Ranjan Sarkar took the leading role to campaign for ecological farming. Initially the farmers were in a dilemma to give up the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and hybrid seeds in their fields but last year both the Central and State Government lift up the subsidy from the fertilizers and pesticides, as a result the price of chemical fertilizers and pesticides became 2 times high. In that situation farmers (mostly marginal farmers) were looking for an alternative. Many of them came to our Krishi Pathsala to take hand held trainings on – Bio-composting, bio-pest controlling and folk seed conservation.
            1year ago, Bikash Sarkar (part time auto-riksha driver) came to our Krishi Patshala along with his wife, Sulekha. This family had 4 members but had no fixed income and  they had ~4 bighas farmland and also had 10 cutta lands adjacent to their house. They were frustrated and despaired as each year they were getting no return from the field. We send our staff, Anjana to his house to assess the situation and found that they were spending much behind the fertilizers and pesticides. Anjana made to fold plan with them –
1)      To make a small vegetable garden adjacent to their house along with a small country-chicken farm;
2)      To make a mixed vegetables plot in their farmland and rest part for the paddy production.

            Bikash and Sulekha took hand held trainings on – vermicompost and bio-pest controlling from us. They made one vermicompost chamber and bio-pest controlling unit adjacent to their house. When, our staff Anjana and Nani Gopal went to his house and found that the hamlet was low land and most of the areas were water logged during rain. They advised them to buy some plastic bags and filled them with soil and bio-compost and plant saplings/ folk seeds there. We gave them seeds/saplings of tomato, carrot, coriander leaves, cauliflower, onion, egg plant, flat bean, turnip, red beet, spring onion etc. We also advised them to plant some herbal medicinal plants like Holy Basil (Tulsi), Aloe Vera, Pudina (Mint Leaves) Pudina (Mint Leaves) Holy basil (tulsi)Pudina (Mint leaves), Indian pennywort, Andrographis paniculata(Kalmegh) etc. We advised them to spray Amrit Pani as nutrients and to use neem oil, compost tea and soap-garlic-kerosene mixture as bio-pest controllers. We also gave them some financial assistance to make a cage for the country chicken and to make trellis for the leafy vegetables. We persuaded them that country chickens had more immunity and they could tolerate the season changes and temperature variation. We also advised them to feed the chickens the unused vegetable leaves and stem.
They followed all of our techniques and implement these and felt the difference. They realized that vegetable could be produced in the low-land and also in water logged zone as well as dry zone. They got huge vegetables in the winters. They not only used the vegetables for their family but also sold a large part in the local market as well as to their neighbors.
vegetable garden
They also got success in the farm lands. This year they had produced paddy through system of rice intensification (SRI) methods. Also using some techniques like relay cropping, mulching, and mixed-cropping in their organic vegetable plots. On the other hand they also collecting and preserving seeds of the vegetables like, brinjal, flat bean, tomato etc.  
Their works had inspired many of their neighbors and sometimes Sulekha gave them trainings on bio-composting. They regularly visit our Krishi Patshala with their neighbors and living happily.

Reported by:
Sutapa Chatterjee,

  Andrographis paniculata(Kalmegh) Holy basil (tulsi) Pudina (Mint LeHoly basil (tulsi)  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

3rd quarter report - Oct-Dec, 2011 of Sustainable agriculture Department

Kindly click on the following web link to download the 3rd quarter report - Oct-Dec, 2011 of Sustainable agriculture Department, Swanirvar.