Poet Pulamaipithan wrote, “While born on earth every child is good and it grows to worse or best based on the way the mother brings up”. This is not only for bringing up the children but also appropriate for agriculture. With necessary agro-techniques and proper planning, agriculture can be a success and it is time and again proved by many smart farmers. Particularly, the youngsters who have been earning high salaries after completing their degree in engineering and information technology are also entering into the field, earning impressively due to their love for agro-farming. One such enterprise among them is Saravanan, an IT graduate living in Thuvaar village, Thiruppathur, Sivagangai district.
Farming land is enough, not computers
We met Saravanan, at his farmland covered with green spread of chillies in the red soil. “Farming has been our occupation since my grandfather’s time. My father could not get into agriculture as he was busy with politics. After my graduation in IT (Information Technology) and having become an urbanite, I thought of venturing into a business. Agriculture was the option I could envision. When I returned to my land in my native it was full of thorns and bushes looking like a scrub jungle. I cleared them off and turned the land arable. There is no problem for water source as there is a well at our premises. When the land was ready I planted sorghum. As I tasted considerable profit from it I gradually gained the confidence to further my agriculture endeavour”, he thus continued.
Planned for 3 acres but planted for 5 acres
“I gave a sample of soil from my land to Kundrakudi Agriculture Research Institute. They informed me that the soil is favourable to grow chillies and they shared the agriculture techniques towards cultivating the chillies. At the beginning, I was planning to cultivate for 3 acres. When I was preparing the seed bed I bought a high quality chilli variety and planted on the bed. To my surprise, almost all the seeds sprouted and therefore I planted them in excess in the five acres of my land. This high quality variety could withstand drought and I could get a better harvest. Now, I have planted chillies for the second time”. He continued describing the cultivation practices of chillies and it is given here as lessons.
Cool ambience protects chillies from diseases
“Lay a raised bund and spread the seeds of chillies across the bed and grow seedlings (80 gram seed per acre). Plough the chosen land with bowl and hook ploughs, followed by rotawator. Add to the land with 10 tons of farm yard manure, two tons of vermicompost and plough the land till the soil becomes coarse. With two feet gap in between the rows plants a 25-day old seedling in a hole with two feet gap between the two plants.
The land should be irrigated with water, keeping it cool all the time. Diseases will not attack the plants in a cool ambience. Based on the rapidity of growth the weeds can be removed, setting the soil leveled. Drip irrigation will also control weed growth. Monthly once, spray a mix of 300 ml Panchakaavya in 10 liters of water over the plants. This volume is a measure for a tank. Ten tanks are required for an acre. On day 45, the plants will flower and the baby chillies will mature by 75th day for harvesting.
Neem cake for root rot
From the day of flowers growing into chillies, spray a one liter of Nochi leaf (Vitex sp) extract mixed with ten litres of water, every 15 days. The Nochi leaf extract can be prepared by mixing the ground leaf with cow urine with overnight soaking. The volume is meant for a tank and 10 tanks should be sprayed for an acre. In a similar manner, any kind of, growth promoter should also be sprayed on the plants, for every fifteen days. All these sprays should be used in different days and not on the same day.
During rainy season maintain the land without any water stagnation. If at all it happens, introduce 50 kg neem cake in the soil as a precautionary measure to prevent root rot. From 70th day harvesting can be continued for four months. At the beginning, the yield will be lesser and gradually it will increase. In a day, 100-200 kg yield can be gained from an acre.
Harvesting through rotation
After concluding the cultivation practices he continued, “We pick chillies once in eight days from a plant. Therefore it is recommended to harvest in the rotation to have yield every day. From five acres of my land, I get more than 500 kg chillies daily. Wholesalers from Ottanchathram buy them from us. Though the price of chillies changes every day, we get 15 INR per kg on an average. In 200 days, from five acres, I get 7.5 lakhs profit after deducting the expenditure”.
“Now, tell me whether this income is any lesser compared to any other?” he said good bye to us with full laughter on his face.
For contact, Saravanan 99655-95314
(This article written in Tamil by S Ramkumar for Pasumai Vikatan has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)