West Bengal

: Jhargram is a small tribal area in Jamtara District, Jharkhand. Guided by Chanchal Biswas who initiated natural farming in the area under the guidance of SSIAST Trust (The Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology), the villagers have set up a model farm where crops are grown using natural farming techniques with little or no water.

To arouse the interest of the villagers in natural farming, Chanchal Biswas set out by talking to the tribal people in the area, conducting workshops on agriculture, creating awareness on natural farming, and organizing Satsang’s. In time, he was able to gain their confidence and they agreed to set up a model farm.

A half-acre barren, infertile piece of land full of stones was chosen for the purpose. The ground was dug and prepared for growing. With a small investment of just Rs. 5700/- indigenous seeds of vegetables were obtained. Mixed cropped technology was employed. Only cow dung and cow urine were used as natural fertilizers. Buttermilk solu- tion was used as a natural pesticide. To prevent animals from straying into the farm and destroying the crops, a pit that was 3 feet high and 2 feet wide was dug all-round the farm. Rain was their only source of water but in case of scarce rain, Jivamrutha was used which helped to grow vegetables even in scarce water conditions.

The farmers were guided at every step regarding the right time to apply natural fertilizer, the expected time of harvesting, and taking care of agri produce etc. The results were very encouraging. Within 20 days of sowing, they were able to harvest 1.5 quintals of cluster beans and 45 kg of ladies finger; the total production market value was Rs. 10,520/-.

In natural farming fertility of soil remains intact. Because of inter- cropping and mix cropping concept in natural farming, farmers never face a loss. Failure in one crop can be offset by better output in another crop, thereby making the farmers self reliant.

SSIAST aims to bring more and more youth into the realm of natural farming. It is engaged in organizing workshops, awareness campaigns and training in different parts of India including rural and urban areas. Farmers are also being taught to preserve and multiply indigenous seeds. In time, SSIAST aims to set up a model farm in each village to showcase the bounteous output of natural farming.

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