It is a known fact that farmers across India have been facing multiple issues with monsoon failures for years now. Vikasana, an NGO based out of Mandya has been helping farmers in the Somwarpet Taluk of Kodagu district.
NABARD along with Vikasana helps farmers by empowering them with knowledge on agriculture and irrigation and how they can do a lot more in the given circumstances uses different methods of water conservation and preventing soil erosion. They have taught them to build bunds, trenches and also regularly conduct training programs on horticulture (nursery and kitchen gardens), animal husbandry (poultry, piggery, dairy) and organic manure such as vermiculture. They not only train the farmers but also provide them with seeds and saplings, particularly silver oak. A lot of these farmers had dry land where they only grew maize, ragi and tobacco. After the intervention on NABARD, they have started growing a lot of different crops such as coffee, pepper, chickoo, orange, mango, pomegranate, jackfruit, avocado and many more. Almost every farmer has a few cows that help them with dairy when the crops are dry. Some of them also use the drip irrigation when they have trouble with water.
Building the bunds and trenches, and using organic manure helps the farmers as they collect water instead of letting it flow out, thus preventing soil erosion, making the land stronger and more nutritious.
These are trenches and bunds built in every farm with the help of Vikasana which help in water conservation and prevent soil erosion.
This is Swamy 37 years old who owns a piece of land which he has cultivated with the help of NABARD. He used to grow coffee, pepper, jackfruit, chikoo, orange and avocado. Most of these crops are not doing well as the source of water which is a lake has completely dried up. However, he still grows a few fruits and is doing well with dairy. He is very thankful for the training he received from NABARD on nursery as he benefited a lot out of it. He trained a lot of people as well. He now also owns two cars and runs a taxi service.
Swamy uses a basic drip irrigation method to water some of his crops. Once he make a tiny opening in the bottle, he puts a stick in it and leaves it by the tree and the water slowly drips into the soil.
Swamy grows sweet potato and fodder at his farm to feed his cow and maintains a very clean environment. He milks his cow every evening around 5:30PM and takes this to the dairy.
Swami’s daughter Rashmi and son Vinay playing games on a phone after returning from school. Swamy is very fond of education. He could not complete graduation due to circumstances at home but hopes to provide his children with it.
Puttaswamy a 62 year old farmer resident of Thorenur village has multiple plots of land. Before the introduction of bunds and trenches he only grew tobacco, ragi and maize. Today he grows a lot of pulses, fruits, he has his own vegetable garden, sheep and is into dairy. He has two sons and 1 daugher. The daughter Divyashree has studied B.Ed and is married. His eldest son Dhruva has studied MA in Economics and Kannada and helps his father with farming and his second son Thilak Darshan has a Diploma in Electronics and Computers, and works in Bangalore.
Puttaswamy continues to grow tobacco and has five varieties. Each variety is a different grade and is priced accordingly.
Puttaswamy continues to grow Ragi which is a very popular millet in Karnataka.
A lot of farmers including Puttaswamy continue to grow maize as it is not a water intensive crop. They are also actively involved in animal husbandry.
Chandrappa used to grow only ragi and maize until NABARD approached him and helped him by building bunds, trenches, providing him with training and planted silver oak trees. He now grows pepper, vegetables, coffee, banana, coconut and a large variety of fruits.
Chandrapa’s son Ravi helps his father in the farm and wants to scale new heights. He wants to move to the farm with his family as he says that it makes it easier for him to maintain the farm and be more efficient.
All these farmers use natural compost and have adopted vermiculture. None of them use chemicals
Most planters used to depend only on coffee until they were taught about alternatives. This is still very close to their heart. The first stage is where the bud blossoms into a flower and later bears fruit. Once the fruit dries, it’s plucked off the plant and processed further to make coffee powder.
This is pepper which is still very ripe. This crop is grown around silver oak trees as it’s a creeper making a farmer utilise the space to it’s optimum capacity. Once it dries, it becomes a deep black colour and that’s when it’s ready for consumption.
This is chickoo a fruit grown by every farmer. It is very popular in this region and is doing well. This fruit is extremely nutritious as it is rich in potassium and is one of the alternatives to growing just coffee.