‘Monocrop cultivation should not be followed. Farming should include animal breeding as well’, are some of the important principles of Nammalvar, the agriculture scientist. There are many who have been doing successful agriculture by following those principles. One of them is Malini, belonging to Nelvai village, near Thirukazhukundram, Kancheepuram district. She has been doing traditional farming, living in a traditional house within her farm.
“We are native of Kerala. But I was born and brought up in Chennai. I was working in an IT company in Chennai. I bought this land in 2012. Resigning from my job in 2013, I got into natural farming. There is totally eight acres of land. This land had mango and guava trees when I bought it. There is no water scarcity as there is a well. The reason for me to turn towards natural farming is to provide non-poisonous food for my children. Dr. Aru. Solaiyappan provided suggestions to me on natural farming.
Now, I grow paddy, black gram varieties, sesame on crop rotation basis. In two-and-a-half-acre land, I have sown Mappillaisamba, Seeragasamba, Kichilisamba and Poongar paddy variety. Mr ‘Nel Jeyaraman’ provided me with the required traditional paddy seeds. I am growing vegetables, green varieties for home consumption. There are nine cattle, 50 chickens reared in the farm, besides maintaining honeybee culture boxes. As frequently insisted by Nammalvar Sir, I have been producing everything I need from the farm, leading a self-fulfilled life. There is unlimited happiness by having food grown by our own hands in the farm”. Then she began to take us around the farm.
“The shed was made with a dimension of 20x10 feet, where country hens are reared. We procure them as one-day-old chicks and planning to sell them when they reach ninety days. We are yet to sell them. We provide them with corn, coarse rice, maize as fodder. We treat them with naturopathy when they are sick.
Those nine cows belong to Kanchi dwarf breeds. Two among them are milching now. At any point of time, at least two will be milching. We get 6 litres of milk every day. I sell it to my friends at the rate of Rs 90 per litre. The straw available in the farm will be provided to them as fodder.
In seven cents of land, I grow green varieties like Ponnanganni (Alternanthera sp), Agathi (Sesbania sp.) etc. I harvest them every day morning and arrange to sell them at the beach side of Besant Nagar. There are twenty guava trees here. We get about 50 kg of fruits from them during its season.
There is a vermicompost pit with a dimension of 8x4x3 feet where we rear earthworms. We are able to generate 150 kg of vermicompost in 45 days, using the farm wastes and cow dung. We use it for our farm.
We don’t send the cattle outside for grazing. They are allowed to graze within the farm premises. Similarly, the hens too, graze our farm, pecking worms and insects within the farm. I rear the farm animals through natural methods. We use Jeevamirtham, Panchakavya, neem oil only as farm inputs”. Thus she concluded.
“It’s not my intention to produce farm products and market them. We should be able to get what is required for our home. No inputs should come from outside the farm. Self-reliant farming and self-reliant living are the only objectives. The surplus products are sold outside thereby earning us a considerable profit. Above all, I've fully contended that this farm is considered as a model for natural farming by other farmers”. Happily, she bid farewell to us.
To contact Malini, mobile: 96000 65170
Income statement shared by Malini
“Last time, groundnut in 50 cents of land, sesame in 30 cents, black grams in 30 cents, paddy in one and half an acre were grown. In total, we could harvest, 300 kg of groundnut, 55 kg of sesame, 130 kg of black gram. We gained Rs 35,000 from groundnut, Rs 7000 from the oil extracted from sesame and Rs 18,200 from the black gram. We harvested 1,000 kg of rice from the traditional paddy variety, ground to rice, and we received Rs 98,000 by selling it to the market. In the end, we could get a gross amount of Rs 1,58,200 and the net profit of Rs 1,06,200 in total, deducting Rs 52,000 as an expenditure.
With a calculation of 6 litres of milk from the cows, on a rotation basis, we could get 2,000 litres of milk, throughout the year. By selling it at Rs 90 per litre, we could gain Rs 1,80,000 as income. The net profit would be Rs 1,20,000, deducting Rs 60,000 spent on fodder and maintenance. From green varieties, guava, vegetables, we could earn Rs 2,00,000 in a year. Deducting the expenditure, we could gain a net profit of Rs 1,80,000. Therefore, with eight acres of land, we are able to gain a profit of Rs 4,00,000 in a year”.
As a senior agriculture scientist Aru Solaiyappan provides guidance to Malini
We spoke to him. He said, “Malini has established this integrated farm within a span of five years, by bringing in trees, vegetables, paddy, rain-fed crops, poultry and cattle. This has become possible only because of adequate financial elements. There will be an agriculture training program taking place on her farm, frequently. Integrated farming is the only wholesome in agriculture. Only then, if one crop fails, another will save us”.
(This article was written by Durai Nagarajan in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan magazine DT 10/1/19 has been transcreated in English by V Amalan Stanley)