Gnanaprakasam is a pioneer farmer in his village of Narasinga Natham near Mayiladudurai in Nagapattinam district. His pioneering efforts in getting higher returns from his 1acre and 30 cents land with least maintenance has yielded him adequate success. He cites the example of forest lands wherein many trees are growing rapidly on their own without any external assistance or maintenance. He says that it is only the surrounding atmosphere that ensures steady growth.
Gnanaprakasam openly shares that the techniques followed by him in his land are nothing but the techniques of our forefathers only. He proudly calls it as ‘Tamizhar Velanmai’ or ‘Agri Management by Tamilians’. Gnanaprakasam plunged into agriculture soon after his college education. He is trained in traditional medicines also. He shares that like many agriculturists, he too started using chemical manures during the phase of green revolution but gave up within 4-5 years only to go back to the organic and natural method of cultivation.
He says that his land is predominantly made of clay earth and it is very fertile with the deposits of leaves and cattle manure for the past forty years. The rain water is safely collected and used in his land without any deviation and hence his land will ever be moist. This gives shelter for the earthworms and snails. The dead snails’ shells are a good source of natural manure for his land. Because of these natural features uniquely available in his land, whatever crop he cultivates ensures great success.
Gnanaprakasam strongly believes in the proverbial saying that if the water level in the furrow is sufficient, it will automatically enable increase the growth of paddy.. Accordingly, he has designed the furrow with 3 ft.height and 5 to 10 ft. breadth. This occupies 30 cents out of the total area of 1 acre and 30 cents portion of land. Further, he has constructed the upper portion of the furrow witha a slope of 45 degree so that the rain water will flow into the land . He gives the details of cultivation in that 30 cents of furrow as under:-
Coconut tree - 35 Nos.
Plantain tree - 100 Nos.
Drumstick tree - 20 Nos.
Neem tree - 20 Nos.
Nuna tree - 15 Nos.
Odian tree - 10 Nos.
Tamarind tree - 4 Nos.
Pink Lemon tree - 6 Nos.
Guava tree - 2 Nos.
Lime tree - 2 Nos.
Jujube tree - 2 Nos.
Mango tree - 2 Nos.
Jack fruit tree - 2 Nos.
Apart from the above, he has some amla trees, black jamun trees and vined tamarind trees and certain vegetables also. In the remaining 1 acre, he has been cultivating paddy crop.
He further says that he will put 15 tonne cattle manure once in three to four years. All the fallen leaves of the trees in the furrow will be additional manure. In the absence of rain water, he will use the bore well. He will plant 3 Nos. Paddy seedlings with a distance of 1 ft. in between. He confirms that apart from planting he will pour water only with no other work on the field. The plants will grow naturally. The final task is harvesting.
When he starts cultivating during samba season, he will spread black gram seeds ten days in advance of harvest. The black gram will also grow rapidly without any external assistance. He mainly cultivates ottadayan variety during samba season and poongar and arubatham kuruvai variety during kuruvai season. Sometimes he would try out mature varieties which also would grow automatically without any special maintenance.
Gnanaprakasam says that out of 2 bhogam (times) paddy cultivation, he gets not less than 3,000 kg.out of which he would reap more than half of it as rice. He sells the rice @ Rs.65/- per kg and totally he gets around Rs.97,500/- income. After deducting all expenses, he says he will easily get a net profit of Rs.75,000/- Additionally, he gets cattle feed from the land free of cost.
Regarding black gram harvest, he will get a produce of 450 kg. and if he sells it @ Rs.70/- per kg.he will get a total sum of Rs.31,500/-. After adjusting the expenses, he will easily get a net profit of Rs.30,000/-.
When it comes to coconut production, he will use some for his household needs. The remaining will be preserved as copra for oil extraction in which he is able to get 150 lt.oil per year. While selling it @ Rs.300/- per lt. he is able to get a return of Rs.45,000/-
As regards banana plantains, he will get them distributed among his friends and relatives apart from his personal use. He will allow it to ripen in the tree itself and hence it will be more tasty. From the remaining trees he is able to get an income of Rs.30,000/- per year.
Gnanaprakasam proudly concludes that he is able to get a net profit of more than Rs.2 Lacs per year from his total holding of 1 acre and 30 cents land. He is of the opinion that since many of the products are being used for his own requirements, he is unable to give specific amount of return. What he is more confident and successful is that he is able to grow the crops and vegetables in his field most indigenously without any external means.
Gnanaprakasm has proved that nature not only protects but also promotes the crops in its own way.
(This article written in Tamil by K Ramakrishnan for Pasumai Vikatan magazine dated 25/2/18 has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)