Rich diversity: Poornananda Bhat’s farm has a wide variety of crops, including pepper vines, areca and coconut plantations. From barren land to a farm of gold

It took him a mere one and a half years to convert the rocky terrain into arable land. He spent Rs 3.5 lakh on the same, and worked single-handedly to convert the soil on his farm into “pure gold.”

There are 300 coconut trees belonging to the Malaysia variety on his 19 acres of farm. Then, there are pepper vines and other spices. There are 10,000 arecanut trees. All the trees on the farm have been grown in a scientific manner. There is a rainwater harvesting system in place on the farm as well. Bhat also follows the drip irrigation method on his farm. His rich farm has drawn the attention of agricultural scientists from the United States, too. As many as thirty scientists from the US have paid a visit to his farm to study his methods of cultivation.

Bhat had a 22-acre coconut plantation in the Nellur Kanchinabailu area. But, his land came under the Naval Base area, and he had to give up his land for the same, and not with compensation that he expected. Not one to give up, he bought 19 acres of land in 1993. Ironically, this time too, his farm faces threat of acquisition by the Naval Base, which is on expansion mode. “Twenty years ago, my first farm was lost to the Base. Today, it’s the second farm. But I am confident that I can raise an even better farm. But it looks like I am going to be spending my whole life raising a farm from scratch,” says Bhat.

A S Hulageri

Ingenious solution to crop attacks

At a time when farmers struggle to protect their crops from wild animals, a group of agricultural workers from Bukkasagara village of Chikmagalur district have designed a simple instrument, which costs no more than ten rupees that can keep away pest and animals from attacking their crops.

This ‘instrument’ is made up of a bamboo stick, a bottle, an areca sheath (adike patte) and a thin rope. One end of the bamboo is tied to a bottle and a small stone. Another end of the bamboo is stuck into the soil. An areca sheath envelopes the bottle.

When there’s a wind, the stone comes in contact with the bottle and the loud noise keeps away animals such as wild pigs, wolves, foxes and rabbits. “During night, the sound is louder and there is no menace of animals attacking our crops,” says farmer Veerabhadrappa. This is a simple technique that works as opposed to electric fences or other complex mechanisms, and is easily affordable too.

Ganadhalu Srikanta