Meet Harogeri's model farmer

Meet Harogeri's model farmer

Leading by example: Veeranagouda’s agricultural methods have served as a great example for others in his village to follow. Photo by Amruth JoshiHarogeri is a tiny village in Kalaghatagi taluk of Dharwad district. It is just 18 km away from Hubli towards Kalaghatagi on NH 17. The population of the village is a mere 600, with just about 120 families. But what sets this village apart is that 99 per cent of the farmers here own less than 10 acres of cultivable land and most of them practise organic farming.

Farmer Veeranagouda took up organic farming 18 years ago on 2.37 acres of land. He was supported in this endeavour by his wife Mahadevamma. Veeranagouda got his share of land as part of the ancestral property which was distributed among four brothers. Though land has been divided among the Patil brothers, they have come up with a rota system, when it comes to water usage for irrigation.

The brothers have also set an excellent example for the community to follow, by way of sharing ideas and helping each other decide what crops to grow, what kind of seeds and agricultural equipment to buy.

So, how did Veeranagouda take to organic farming? He explains that he was guided by members of the organisation BAIF (Soorashettikoppa in Kalaghatagi taluk) and its then director Prakash Bhat and field officer Deepak Ksheerasagar. “They took me and a few other selected villagers to Pune for a field visit to villages like Urulikanchan and renowned social worker Anna Hazare’s Ralegaonsiddhi and thanks to the experiences and insights I gained there, I decided to take up organic farming, irrespective of whether there would be profits or losses,” he explains.

Veeranagouda’s family of nine is dedicated to agriculture. While he himself has only studied up to the eighth standard, his three sons and a daughter completed their high school, and have by choice taken up agriculture as their occupation.

Out of the total 2.37 acres, the family is practising mixed farming on 1.37 acres by raising various types of gourds, soya, brinjal, beans, four curry leaves plants, green gram, turmeric and white jowar.

Veeranagouda and Mahadevamma are also a much-admired farmer couple because of their expertise in horticulture. Their plantation has a variety of fruit-bearing plants including 50 sapota/ chikku trees, 15 papaya trees, two mosambi plants, two lemon trees and four banana plants.

The couple has also taken up paddy culture. They grow a local variety of paddy called udurasali and a seasonal variety of white jowar, a variety called annigeri 1 on an extra bit (1.19 acres) of land at the entrance of the village.

Veeranagouda and Mahadevamma are proud of the fact that they have not borrowed loans from any financial institution or bank.

Apart from agriculture, the couple is also into dairy farming. They have four milch cows and two buffalos which have ensured that the family does not have to buy milk or dairy products.

The couple uses cattle dung and two big vermicompost pits for the manure needs of their farm.

While one half of the compost is used on their land, one quarter of the second half is reserved for fellow farmers interested in organic farming, and who want to test the manure on their fields.

It is only the last quarter that is sold to meet expenses. He earns Rs 10,000-15,000 by selling this portion of manure.

‘Krishi parivar’

*Veeranagouda Patil was instrumental in starting the Shalmala Savayava Krishi Parivar, Kalaghatagi in 1999. Today, this group has 3,000 registered organic farmers throughout the taluk. Approximately 500 registered organic farmers have availed funds from this group for farming. Patil now serves as the taluk organiser.

*Also, the Teerthahalli Purushottamrao Krishi Samshodhana Pratishtana has       selected Veeranagouda and Mahadevamma Patil of Harogeri for the 13th Krishi-Rushi Purushottam Sanman. 

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