Sundargarh : Environment friendly farming and chemical free produce is the focus of agriculture in today’s time. Going by this mantra, Integrated Tribal Development Agency Sundargarh (ITDA) promotes Natural Farming in its command area. Tribal farmers in the district especially benefit from engaging in Natural Farming.
Natural Farming was started on a pilot basis during FY 2022-23 at Telighana village of Kutra block in Sundargarh district. Farmers from tribal families were engaged in the program.
“In the tribal majority Sundargarh district, Natural Farming is being encouraged to restrict the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The farmers have also shown a keen interest towards Natural Farming. There is a sure shot market demand for crops grown naturally. The pilot program at Telighana will soon be expanded to other parts of the district”, says Ram Krishna Gond, Project Administrator ITDA Sundargarh.
The productivity of agricultural land gets degraded upon using chemical fertilizers and insecticides while it also negatively impacts the environment. ITDA Sundargarh sensitizes the tribal farmers on the same while extending them necessary support to pursue Natural Farming. District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Sundargarh extends financial assistance towards the same.
55 farmers in Telighana village are engaged in Natural Farming. Rice & Groundnut cultivation was done on 80 Acre land. Traditional grains are provided for cultivation to the farmers free of cost.
“Earlier, we used chemical fertilizers in the field. Then, officials from ITDA Sundargarh came and explained the benefit of natural farming to us. We were interested in natural farming and started with rice and groundnut cultivation. The yield was also good”, says Eman Budu, a farmer from Telighana village.
“Chemical fertilizer and pesticide proved heavy for our pockets. Now, by opting for Natural Farming, our costs have reduced. Along with rice and groundnut, we grow vegetables using this method. Apart from a good harvest, the produce sells well in the market”, shares Bimla Barla, a woman farmer.
Natural inputs like Jeevamruta, Ghana Jeevamruta, Dasaparni Arka, Bramhastra, Neemastra and Beejamruta are provided to farmers for use in cultivation. ITDA Sundargarh trains the farmers on preparing the above nutrients themselves. The organic manure can be produced using cow dung, cow urine, droppings of other domestic animals, gur (molasses) and besan (gram flour).
Prior to starting the pilot programme, officials of ITDA Sundargarh undertook a field survey at Telighana village. The farmers then prepared the land for rice & groundnut cultivation. The mandays for the same were provided under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
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