Jay Shankar Prasad
Organic farming is not a new concept to Indian farmers. Before the Green Revolution, during which the chemical fertilisers were introduced, Indian farmers used to cultivate crops using natural resources like Farm Yard Manure (FYM), leaves of various plant species, animal wastes, etc. With the advent of Green Revolution, High Yielding Varieties (HYVs) came into existence. In order to utilise the potentiality of the HYVs, the use of chemical fertilisers was popularised. Farmers who were habituated to use organic fertilisers, shifted to the chemicals in order to reap greater benefits by increasing the productivity. Farmers got habituated to the use of chemicals (Fertilisers and plant protection chemicals), and in this process they did not realise that the usage of chemicals will destroy the soil fertility and the soil health. In order to reap extra benefits, the farmers started using more of chemicals than recommended. Because of this, the pests got acclimatised to the chemicals. As a result the dosage of the chemicals used to kill the pests has to be increased. Because of the high cost of chemicals, cost of cultivation increased. For purchasing the chemicals, farmers borrowed money from the local moneylenders. Because of the less returns (due to soil ill health, loss of soil fertility, etc.), the farmers were unable to pay the debts. As a result, farmers started committing suicides because of the economic pressures. Use of chemical fertilisers has drastically affected the livelihoods of the Indian farmers. Chemical Free Farming - Need of the hour
Chemical free farming means cultivating crops without using any chemicals, i.e., without using either a single granule of chemical fertiliser or a single drop of plant protection chemicals. Even though greater than 60% of the Indian population derives their livelihood from Agriculture, the share of agriculture in Indian GDP is only 19%. This is because of so many reasons, and exports are one of the key issues in improving the returns from agriculture. 61
Now-a-days, in the era of globalisation, wherein the export standards are very strict, quality of the product is of prime importance. Though India is one of the largest producers of various agriculture products, the products are being rejected for export because of the exceeding levels of chemical residues in them. In order to cater to the international market and increase the revenue from the exports, the Indian farmers have to reduce the use of chemicals, to meet the export standards. In this regard, scientists once again are concentrating on the age-old practice of organic farming. As organic farming does not yield high benefits in the initial years, the scientists are apprehensive whether the farmers will implement organic farming after being habituated to the use of chemicals. This case is about Enabavi, a village in Andhra Pradesh.
Enabavi is a hamlet of Manikyapuram village which belongs to Linghalaghanapuram Mandal of Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh. The total number of households in the village is 51 and the total area under cultivation is 280 acres. The irrigation facility for the fields is being catered by 29 bore wells. Paddy, Cotton, Tobacco, Maize, Red gram, Sesame, Chilly, Onion, Garlic and Vegetables like Tomato, Bitter Gourd, Lady’s finger, Beans, Coriander, Spinach, Lettuce, etc. are the crops they grow in the village. There is a water tank and three hand pumps in the village providing water for drinking and other household activities. A primary school is there which provides education facility till 5th standard to the children of the village. A Primary Health Centre (PHC) is there in Manikyapuram village which is 2kms away from Enabavi. Chemical Farming to Chemical Free Farming
During 90 s, Red Hairy Caterpillar (RHC) used to be a devastating pest on almost all crops in Enabavi. In 1995, an organization named CROPS, an...