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Many marginal farmers may be wanting to experiment with organic farming but they fear losses as they do not have capability to lose even one season's earnings. For such farmers Manohar Parchure, the promoter of organic and natural farming in the region, has come up with a scheme that would enable them to try out organic farming in a risk-free manner.
This is Parchure's 'No Premium Insurance Scheme' which he hopes will help regain farmers' confidence in agriculture and wean them away from methods that lead to economic distress and suicide. Under this, an eleigible farmer will have to cultivate one acre land with organic method while he undertakes conventional farming on remaining land. In case he suffers any losses on account of organic farming, Parchure and his associates will make them good.
"I am 100% sure that even during extreme conditions, organic farming is a better alternative then conventional farming using chemicals. In rain fed or dry land areas like Vidarbha, farmers can earn certain minimum profits provided they use rain water intelligently and save each drop," he told TOI.
Parchure, along with a group of like-minded persons, will support at least 1000 farmers to begin with in entire state with this informal insurance scheme. For this, the farmers will not be required to pay any premium. Those who join the scheme will have to follow certain guidelines and maintain record of every paisa they spend on both organically and conventionally grown crops including details of money spent on fertilizers, pesticides, weeding and labour etc.
"Every farmer will be required to only cultivate one acre of his land organically while taking up conventional cultivation on remaining land. This is to prove to the farmer that the losses due to erratic rains and other factors would be less in the organically cultivated land. We are sure our method will conserve at least one lakh litres water per acre," Parchure said.
Parchure could dare to come up with such a scheme only after himself experimenting through some progressive farmers. He is sure that compared to conventional farming, organic farming always has much less loss of crop in any conditions and he will not have to pay much compensation to farmers. "This is why we are not asking for any premium. We should actually demand a share if there are profits in organic crop cultivated under our guidance bu we are not doing that too," he said.
Farmers will be required to follow water conservation procedures as well as specific cultivation method and practices on the experimental one acre. They will be made to take up trench and soak pit methods for conserving rain water and using natural wastes like tree leaves, solid and liquid jeevamrut and use of an equipment called Nindan Mukta Yantra for removing weeds. Multi-cropping is another compulsory addition.
Basic principle is that if a farmer earns Rs 30,000 on three acres of land, he should get at least Rs 10,000 on one acre organic land. If a farmer gets less than this, he will be compensated by Parchure and his supporters.
PROMOTING ORGANIC FARMING
Technology Package to be followed under scheme
Water conservation methods
I Soak Pits
* 50X50cmX4m soak pits (about 28-30) along border of one acre land
* Each pit can store 1000 litres water in season and they will be full at least 3-4 times in season
* They will allow water reach up to half to one metre depth and maintain enough moisture for rabi crop
II Micro-locking of rain water
Farmer to use a bullock driven instrument called dawra or kolpe for inter-cultivation of crop after August
This is to be used twice to control weeds between rows of crops
Farmer to become self sufficient in inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. Since farmer here only uses seeds as input he cannot become self sufficient in one year. He should use improved seeds and no hybrids to ensure enough seeds for next year
Soil has to be converted into living soil by using solid (2000kgs) and liquid Jeevamrut (1000 lit) in five equal doses
Solid jeevamrut is prepared in advance in summer months before onset of monsoon
Liquid jeevamrut is applied in first 40 days of growth of crop
To do away with pesticides, farmer should do mixed cropping with one principal crop and 1-2 secondary crops
Farmer should also grow 15-20 different crops along the border at small distances
This generates a variety of smells and confuses pests
Allow natural predators to take action
Create bird perches to catch insects
Use Nindan Mukti Yantra and remove all weeds without harming crops
VI Other important factors
Increase distance between crop lines to allow adequate sunlight (5X5 ft)
Maintain accounts of all expenses on both types of crops
Farmer free to choose his own crop combination
Only 1000 farmers will be registered for the scheme this year
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