Farmers are advised in this manner often. The Government too takes the initiative and promotes agricultural activities. World Farmers’ Day is observed on October 16 every year.
Yet, one farmer in the taluk has forgone all such help and attempted a unique experiment. H G Gopalagowda, a farmer from Hittalahalli in Shidlaghatta taluk, has grown mixed crops in his three-and-a-half acre land, relying on only rain. Mango, ragi, groundnut, lady’s finger, mustard, marigold and avare are just some of the crops growing in his farm. The organic manure, which is the by-product of the agricultural waste filled in the pits, is used to nourish the crops.
Narrating his journey through the experiment, Gopalagowda says three years back, the farm was filled with eucalyptus trees. The income from the trees was low. Therefore, he decided two years ago to start the mixed crop. “The first year, I could not earn much from the crops. But last year, I managed to grow upto 40 quintals of ragi, mulberry, two bags of groundnut, one bag of avare. Also, the vegetables from my fields lasted for two months in our house,” he adds.
The fertility of the land is increased by the use of mulberry waste, droppings of sheep and cattle and biogas slurry. “Reduction in expenditur on agricultural activity automatically increases the income”, he explains, speaking to the Deccan Herald.
All around the field, there are pits 3 feet deep and wide. This keeps cattle off the field and helps absorb rain water.
Gopalagowda says, “In order to utilise every drop of rain water, I have had such pits dug in several places within the field, depending on the height and depth of the land. This has prevented the field from being affected by the presence of a eucalyptus grove nearby.”
In addition, he says, he has had an agricultural pit 25 metres long and wide and four metre deep dug in one part of the farm. “There is a canal nearby. The rainwater that flows in the direction of the canal is absorbed by the pit,” he says, explaining how to utilise water effectively.
District Horticulture Department deputy director Shivaram says, “Gopalagowda grows mulberry of excellent quality using little water, with the help of organic farming. He also gets good yield through mixed farming, rearing rambulet sheep and low expenditure. In appreciation of his novel methods and his achievement, the State Government honoured him with the Krishi Pandita Award last year.”