Humble farmer dreams big

Humble farmer dreams big

But Bore Gowda, a farmer from Shivalli village near Mandya has grown as many as 70 strains of indigenous paddy on his two-and-ahalf-acre plot. This is drawing hordes of agricultural experts and curious foreigners to Shivalli.

Among the 70 strains of paddy, he has conserved seeds of at least 66 of them already. There are strains that are yet to be named. All the paddy varieties grown on his plot are in keeping with the weather conditions of the region.  Gowda keeps away from chemical fertilisers. He has been following organic techniques for a few years now.

Gowda’s field is like a laboratory for many other farmers in the state and outside.  Bus-loads of farmers come here as part of agricultural study tours. “The farmer should rear cattle, plough land with the help of oxen, use cow dung as manure. The fertility of the soil is crucial for sustainable agriculture. The farmer should become a scientist,” he explains. “I have grown varieties such as Parimala Sanna, Naga Bhatta, Mukkanna Sannna, Suhasini, Kempudadi, Kempakki, Ratnachoodi, Chennellu, Dula, Gandhashale, Rajakayame, Rajabhoga, Solari, Gowri Sanna etc,” explains the farmer. 

So, what was the inspiration to grow so many varieties on a single plot?  The farmer explains that he met an Orissa farmer who had grown as many as 350 varieties of paddy on his field, during a study tour to that state, and that’s where his inspiration came from. Gowda has plans to build a museum of indigenous paddy strains in his courtyard. He plans to line them up in small pots, alongside written boards with details of that particular strain. Gowda intends to conserve as many as 100 strains of paddy in his museum.

(Translated by Savitha Karthik)

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