Upping the farmers' ante

NOTCHED UP

Upping the farmers' ante

Mysuru Akashavani broadcasts a programme for the farmers, Krishi Ranga, everyday in the evening. The programme is known for its participatory approach, wherein Akashavani took the programme right to the fields of the farmers with support from VC Farm, Mandya.

These inter-action sessions, where farmers, agri-cultural officers and others took part,
became effective when the farmers started practising sustainable methods of agriculture. Akashavani is an active partner and broadcasts best practices of the farmer who hosted the interaction. These meetings are organised once every month, where farmers discuss yield, grading, preservation, marketing and other agricultural topics. The group now has a name: Banuli Krishi Belagu.

Indiramma, a native of Hanumanahalli of KR Nagar taluk in Mysuru district, is now an expert on vermicompost, thanks to her regular meetings and discussions with the group. In fact, these interactions that have been in existence since 2005, have inspired her so much that she has become a resource person to the group. She got herself trained at the agricultural department in KR Nagar, and she now trains the group in azolla cultivation, vermicomposting, cultivation of pulses and their preservation. She now grows cowpea, horse gram, black gram, ragi and paddy using vermicompost.

She also sells quality earthworms to beginners and fellow vermicompost makers. She learnt about azolla when she went as a resource person to Krishi Vignana Kendra in Sutturu, near Nanjangud in Mysuru. Today, her paddy field is full of azolla, and after adding it to the cattle feed, the milk yield has increased by a great extent, she said.

Her farm has become a model plot for field programmes. Many farmers from Dharmastala, Channapatna, Melukote and nearby villages visit it frequently and take her guidance.
Even agri-scientists make use of her farm for their demonstrations on field days. Indiramma is a recipient of the radio award ‘Banuli Krishi Rathna’ for her participation in all programmes of ‘Hasiru Siri’ broadcasted by Mysuru Akashavani, in 2009, and the ‘Best Lady Agriculturist Of The Year’ award in 2005, from Agricultural Department Of Mysuru.

Bhaskar is an agriculturist and a beneficiary of Banuli Krishi Belagu. He organises and hosts the programme and is very happy that he has learnt a lot from them. His circle of friends has grown and his interaction with other farmers has benefitted him in finding a sustainable way of farming, through intercropping and rotation of crops. He shifted to organic farming, built a farm pond and rears fishes in them.

He is very happy that the meetings have helped him and his fellow farmers
understand their individual abilities. He and a few other farmers went on to start a producer's company, in which, farmers themselves are the shareholders. The
company organises weekly markets to sell organic vegetables and other agricultural products.

The company is picking up slowly, said Keshava Murthy, a programme executive with All India Radio, who’s been supporting the group’s activities. Maybe with an able CEO to direct the company, and a little help from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the company can pick up some pace, he opined.

As a part of its activities, Banuli Krishi Belagu brings out an internally circulated bulletin called Negila Yogi, which caters to the needs of farmers and also publishes success stories.

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