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The many faces of resilience

D M Kurke Prashanth Jan 29 2018, 23:16 IST
Several farmers in and around Tovinakere in Tumakuru district have successfully taken up sustainable farming practices. Photo by H J Padmaraju

Several farmers in and around Tovinakere in Tumakuru district have successfully taken up sustainable farming practices. Photo by H J Padmaraju

It won't be an overstatement if we mention that several farmers in and around Tovinakere in Tumakuru district have set a model as farm innovators. Every other village in the region has an inspiring story to share or unique experiment to motivate. Be it Dasanakunte, Nandihalli, Gollarahatti, Kabbigere or Jonigarahalli, each village has a farmer achiever willing to share his or her path to success. Farmers and agriculture students from across the State come here to study farming methods. Apart from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, organisations like Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project have been bringing enthusiasts to the farms in these villages.

Mixed cropping is an integral part of farming in the region. A casual conversation with any of these farmers will invariably include important aspects of sustainable farming such as efficient soil and water management, self-reliance, new methods and varieties, and direct marketing.

Tovinakere Jayapadmamma's zero input farm, Kabbigere Javaregowda's passion for farm equipment, value-addition efforts of Nandihalli's Neelakanta Murthy, floriculture in Jenigarahalli, and millet farming in Gollarahatti are some of the efforts that enthuse people. They have emerged as fine examples for progressive farming. Jayapadmamma has hosted over 100 workshops for farmers in her farm. In 2014 and 2016, some students of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore had studied the farm activities here by staying here for 90 days as part of their course.

Tamarind is a traditional crop of Tovinakere that has helped them sustain even in the times of drought. Here, one can see tamarind trees on roads, farm bunds and backyards. One family in Ajjenahalli owns over 500 tamarind trees. It is estimated that the value of tamarind transaction here had crossed seven crore rupees last year. This also led to an attempt to brand the tamarind grown here. While men and women work together in the farms, dairy and floriculture activities are completely managed by women.

Here are some efforts that stand out. Siddaganganna grows finger millet, paddy, lemon, areca nut, coconut, flowers, vegetables and greens in his one and a quarter acre farm. He also rears sheep and cattle. Hanumantarayappa, who is known for betel leaf cultivation is popular as 'apple Hanumantu' after growing apple on an experimental basis. Through proper crop combination, he is able to reap rich benefits from his 41-gunta land.

Another interesting feature of this region is the successful implementation of community borewells. Under this, four to five farmers share water from one borewell. One can see many sustainable water and soil management efforts in the region. This has helped them get a good yield even when there is a scarcity of rain.

It is not just for positive farming efforts that the region is known, but also for unique farm-related hobbies. Take Javaregowda for instance. He has maintained a rare collection of heritage farm equipment used by his ancestors. Most of these tools have either disappeared or are not in use now.

Off-season jackfruit is another attraction in Tumakuru. Some trees start yielding early and one can get the fruits in January itself. Odekar Farm in Nandihalli has set a model with a good collection of herbs and medicinal plants. They also prepare herbal medicine for some common disorders and ailments. Nandi Farm is another place known for its plant diversity. With so many models, Tumakuru is sure to inspire those who are willing to brace farming.

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