Looking at sustainable crops

Looking at sustainable crops

Summer has not remained the same for the farmers of Mandya district. So far, Mandya farmers used to get water from Krishna Raja Sagar Dam for both kharif and rabi crops. But this year, due to water shortage, they didn’t get water supply for the second crop. It has also forced them to look at alternatives to replace irrigated crops in the second season.

A workshop organised by Sahaja Samruddha, a non-profit, and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in August 2015, enabled these farmers to think beyond the irrigated crops like paddy and sugarcane. At the workshop, they were introduced to millets as alternative crops during rabi season. Since most of the millet varieties, particularly browntop millet, are drought resistant, farmers could cultivate them without irrigation.

Some of the farmers have successfully experimented with this cropping pattern. Millet varieties like foxtail millet, pearl millet, little millet and finger millet have seen good growth in their farms. Farmers have found out that these crops can grow without irrigation, absorbing the moisture available in the soil after paddy harvest.

Puttaswamy, a farmer in Haleboodanuru, is happy with the crop. “Millets don’t require much water and cultivation is easy when compared to paddy,” he says. None of these farms are affected by pests or diseases. Farmers, who are happy that they are able to cultivate the second crop without any irrigation, have become tolerant to birds that have damaged the crop to some extent.

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