The views of the renowned Organic Agriculturist Nammalwar and the views of the Father of Zero Budget, Subhash Palekar used to concur on one point most clearly and that refers to the fact that a perfect blend of organic farming and integrated farming would never let down any agriculturist owning farms.
With minimum expenditure on fertilizers, maintenance cost, less manpower, enough harvest, debt-free life etc. the farming agriculturists would be devoid of such issues of disappointment and failure in their life.
Dhandapani’s life is one such that is typical in respect of the above features. He owns ‘Sumathi Pazhathottam’(Fruit Garden) at Varalotti village which is situated between Virudhunagar and Mallanginaru in about 6 kms distance.
Dhandapani finished his graduation in B.Com but straightaway plunged into his own agricultural operations in his 5-acre land with a small farm where he started rearing cattle, sheep and other domestic animals which was even otherwise his fond hobby. His land was originally white rock beneath 3 ft.depth and so he could not cultivate anything regularly and seriously. In 2004, Dhandapani took it as a challenge in cleaning up his land by removing the carpenter trees and trunk trees and then he made it ready for cultivation of kanjan type nelli (gooseberry) in 1 acre, zapota in 1.5 acres, Lucknow-49 type guava in 1 acre. He further planted red lady type papaya a year ago. From 2007 onwards he has been maintaining a poultry farm also.
Dhandapani had an opportunity to attend a seminar on ‘goat farming’ arranged by Pasumai Vikatan in December 2013 where he decided to start one in his village. Based on the suggestions given by his friend Balamurugan of Coimbatore and Sadasivam, owner of ‘Amman Goat Farm’, Dhandapani started his own goat farm which he has been successfully running for the past six months. Understandably, his hands are now almost full. Let us see in the foregoing essay how he cultivates all the different varieties of plants and also manages the farm:--
Yield in two years:-
- As far as nelli(gooseberry),zapota, Guava and Papaya, they can be planted as small plants with one plough in the Tamil month of Purattasi.(Sept-Oct)
- A distance of 18 ft. is required to be given between two pits in the case of Nelli, Sapota, Guava and as regards Papaya, 8 ft. distance is enough.
- In each pit, we must put 2 plates red soil and leave it to settle down for one week.
- Then we must put 1 plate sheep worm and cow dung so that when it rains in the month of Ippasi(Oct-Nov), it will be useful.
Dhandapani further adds:-
- In 1 acre, 125 Nelli, in 1.5 acre, 170 Zapota, in 1 acre 125 Guava and in 1 acre, 1,000 Papayas can be grown
- On the third day, we must pour organic mineral water
- During the first three months, we must pour one-time water every week
- Afterwards watering should be done based on the moisture of the soil.
- Dhandapani waters guava and papaya plants once a week, zapota once in 10 days and nelli once in 12 days through canal irrigation.
- Once in three months thozhu uram (organic manure) should be put at the ratio of ½ plate per plant
- Added advantage is Dhandapani owning his own goat and cattle farm from where he deposits their wastes and utilises the same for organic manure for all the plants
- Due to this organic farming diseases through insects are not caused to the plants
- In two years’ time, nelli, sapota and guava will start giving fruits
- As regards papaya it will start giving fruits from the ninth month itself and continue to give income up to 2.5 years
Income from Poultry:-
Poultry farming is highly lucrative. Each chicken requires only one sq.ft. and according to the number of chickens, we can erect a shed for their shelter. Dhandapani has built a shed 30 ft.length and 18 ft.breadth with a total area of 540 sq.ft. which can accommodate little above 500 chickens. As of now, Dhandapani has been rearing 250 country chickens, 150 giri raja chickens, 15 ducks and 20 ginni chickens in his shed. The rearing procedure is the same for different poultry including ducks and ginni chickens. Their main intake is the mixture of 1 kg bran with 50 gm. groundnut cake which will be mixed with water and this substance will be kept in six different places in the shed for the poultry.
In addition to this, the left-over leaves of cabbage, cauliflower can also be given to the chickens. The chickens themselves will access small insects, lizards, beetles etc. which is a point of advantage for the owner in terms of saving money by not spending on insecticides for the farm. Their residues are natural manures for the plants. As a preventive measure, small onions can be given to the chickens once in a fortnight at the time of the beginning of rain season.
Astonishing Goat Farm:-
Dhandapani clearly quotes from his practical experience that it is better to rear the goat in an exclusive shed meant for them. He says that it would be ideal to allot 10 sq.ft.space for big goats and 5 sq.ft.for the small ones. The shed can be erected according to the number and the height needs to be 8ft.minimum from the floor level.
Dhandapani has allotted a space of 80 ft.length and 20 ft.breadth and 8ft. height at a cost of Rs.2.5 L for the goat farm. He says that in a row, 10 to 15 goats of big size or 25 to 30 goats of small size can be accommodated. Currently, Dhandapani has 47 Nos Thalaicheri variety, 20 Nos.Jamunapari, 60 Nos.country goats, 1 No.each of Beetle kida, Beetle sheep, Kobar kida and 20 Nos.Salem black goats and 15 Nos.semmari, thus totalling 165 goats. The residues of the goats can be easily accumulated and cleaned. Dhandapani says if it is a normal type of rearing the goats, it would easily require 3 to 5 persons to maintain and since his is an exclusive cattle shed, even one person can handle the entire work of maintenance.
Only for the purpose of food intake preparation for the goats, Dhandapani has planted agathi keerai in ½ an acre of land. Every morning, agathi, corn seed, velimasal are given to the goats. The mixture and powder form of Karukka bran, makka cholam, corn, walnut gray, dhoor gray, mineral salt, iodine salt in the quantity of 300 gms for big goats, 200 gms for big sheep and 150 gms for the small sheep respectively should be given.
While rearing the goats in this shed method, sometimes the goats may have indigestion problem. In order to prevent that, a fence of 100 ft x 50 ft.can be erected in front so as to enable the goats to have a stroll. This will help in the proper digestion. However, once in six months, necessary vaccination should be given to the goats with the help of the veterinary doctor. Last but not the least suggestion from Dhandapani is that there must be separate sheds for the small goats, sheep goats and pregnant goats.
By sale of eggs
3,600 x 9 months
(Rs.32,400 x Rs.10/-) 3,24,000
By sale of chickens
500 x Rs.400/- 2,00,000
Maintenance expenditure on
Rs.150/- daily x 365 days 54,750/-
Total amount 54,750/- 5,24,000/-
Net Profit 4,69,250/-
Annual Net Profit from the Integrated
Farming (Rs.13,44,000/- + 4,69,250/- = Rs.18,13,250/-)
What about Rabbits?:-
Rabbits are no less significant than poultry and cattle. Dhandapani’s wife Sumathy reminded him to mention about rabbits, pigeon, cattle etc.
For the past one year only, Dhandapani rears rabbits. Rabbits are being sold at Rs.300/- nad more per pair. The sale is constant. He has now 12 rabbits only on hand. Vegetables like cauliflower leaves, carrot, beans and cabbage are their food. Besides rabbits, Dhandapani has 80 pigeons which are also sold at Rs.160/- per pair. He has recently bought 2 Sindhi cows and he has plans to expand the farm with cattle, love birds, dogs etc. in due course, as confirmed by his wife Sumathi.
Fruits fetch lot more of profits:-
Dhandapani feels that except for Nelli, all other fruits are able to fetch him good deal of money in return despite the soil being not that fertile by nature.
As far as Nelli is concerned, he is able to do harvesting only twice a year. Each time he will have fruits for three months continuously. Quantity-wise, he will get 40 kgs.per day, 1,200 kgs. Per month and 3,600 kgs. per three months. With the selling price of Rs.25/- per kilo, he gets around Rs.90,000/-. As regards guava, he gets harvest twice a year for 3months. Quantity-wise, he will get 100 kgs.per day, 3,000 kgs.per month and 9,000 kgs.per three months. With the selling price of Rs.30/- per kilo, he gets Rs.2,70,000/- in all. In the case of Sapota, he gets the fruits twice a year for three months in all. He receives 90 kgs.per day and 2,700 kgs. per month and 8,100 kgs. per three months. With the selling price of Rs.20/- per kilo, he is able to get Rs.1,62,000/- in all. Regarding Papaya, with harvest twice a year for three months, he gets 120 kgs daily and for thirty days, he gets 3,600 kgs and for three months, he gets 10,800 kgs. With the selling price of Rs.25/- per kilo, he is able to sell them for Rs.2,70,000/-. On the whole, he gets a total revenue of Rs.15,84,000/-per annum and the total expenditure comes to Rs.2,40,000/- and thus he gets net income of Rs.13,44,000/- after deducting the total expenditure.
Continuous Magazool throughout the Year!
Vaigasi to Adi month (May-July) - Guava and Sapota first harvest
Avani to Ippasi month (Aug-oct) - Nelli first harvest
Karthigai to Thai month (Nov-Jan) - Guava and Sapota second harvest
Masi to Chithrai month (Feb-Apr) - Nelli second harvest
As regards papaya, it will start giving fruits from the 9th month onwards and will last for 2 ½ years at a stretch.
Dhandapani has 4 persons to pluck the fruits from his farm on a daily basis.
Dhandapani happily adds that he has his own shop at Virudhunagar market, selling natural fruits for which there is a great demand. People do not hesitate to come to his garden itself to buy quality fruits. Some of his relatives are also having their shops in the market and hence whatever quantity that is taken to the market for sale is being sold the same day without any redundant stock on any day.
Dhandapani has 150 Giriraja chickens only for eggs. In respect of country chickens, he reserves 100 big chickens and the rest of 150 chickens will be sold on a continuous basis. Whatever eggs he gets from the month of Thai to Panguni (3 months) he will not sell the eggs but preserve them for hatching. Calculation-wise, he says that one country chicken will lay 8 to 10 eggs and accordingly he will get 1,000 eggs from 100 chickens. Out of this 1,000 eggs, 700 to 750 will hatch and become chicks. 500 to 600 will grow into big chickens in future. A minimum of 500 chickens will be sold out at the rate of Rs.400/- per chicken. Per year he will be able to get a sum of Rs.2,00,000/- for sale of 500 chickens. Besides this income, Dhandapani has 400 chickens of both Giriraja and country chickens.
On an average, Dhandapani will get 120 eggs per day and 3,600 eggs per month. When he sells these eggs @ Rs.10/- per egg, he easily gets Rs.36,000/-. Thus he will be able to get Rs.3,24,000/-out of 9 months sale of these eggs through his own shop.
When it comes to commercials, Dhandapani says that he spends Rs.54,750/- per annum @ Rs.150/- per chicken. Whereas he receives a sum of Rs.5,24,000/- from the sale of both chickens and eggs. Obviously, if we deduct the expenditure of Rs.54,750/- from the total income of Rs.5,24,000/- he will get a net profit of Rs.4,69,250/- per year. Dhandapani ultimately gives a clear picture that he is able to get such a solid income of Rs.18,00,000/- per year from sale of fruits, trees and poultry alone. Income from rabbits and pigeons is separate and not included in this. He frankly admits that he is able to reap this kind of benefit only because he has the facility of direct sale through his own shops; else, he will be getting hardly 50% of the proceeds if the sale is through intermediary.
Regarding ducks, ginni chickens and sheep, Dhandapani has not so far sold on a commercial basis. He plans to start selling sheep alone once they grow little bigger after six months. As of now the market rate for live country sheep is Rs.250/- per kilo, Rs.350/- per kilo in respect of Jamunapari and Rs.300/- per kilo in respect of Thalaicheri sheep variety. Semmari sheep is being sold on the basis of numerical count only. Dhandapani feels he may positively start selling the sheep also in about six months and will be able to get income to the tune of Rs.50,000/- to Rs.70,000/- per month after meeting all expenses.
Dhandapani deplores to note that currently there is drought and is not able to get water even at 500 ft.depth as a consequence of which he is not in a position to cultivate and harvest vegetables and flowers. However, he has an unshakeable faith that if he concentrates more on rearing of cattle based on shed poultry farming he will be able to reap maximum returns.
Perseverence Pays Dhandapani Rich Dividends in his Integrated Farming!
(This article originally written by Karthikeyan in Pasumai Vikatan is now reproduced in English by P S Ramamurthy)