The passion for farming

The passion for farming

The four-and-a-half acre land in Yaraballi of Gubbi taluk in Tumakuru district is well known for its crop diversity. Here, short-term crops are given equal importance as long-term ones. Along with 1,200 areca and 250 coconut plants, the farm has pepper, banana, vanilla, drumstick, jackfruit, pomegranate, castor, flax seed plant, finger millet, flower and vegetable crops. The land, which was once leased for Rs 80,000 for 10 years, now has become a sustainable source of income for the family.

The transformation is due to the meticulous planning and hard work of a mother and three daughters, particularly the elder one, Aruna. After completing her Diploma in Education, Aruna was forced to take the responsibility of the family and the farm when her father passed away a decade ago. Instead of giving the land on lease, Aruna decided to cultivate crops.  

Water scarcity has affected agriculture in this region. Even the borewells have gone dry. There are two borewells in Aruna's farm and she efficiently manages the farm with available water through drip irrigation. To retain soil moisture, the entire farm is covered with plant waste and lentil plants. Mulching is also done in the space between the rows of flower crops. Cow dung manure is applied directly to the plants.

Aruna has observed that mulching not only improves soil nutrition, but also checks weed growth.  After realising the advantages of proper mulching, Aruna has started using biochar for soil amendment. She is a member of the self-help group initiated by Bengaluru-based Initiatives for Development Foundation (IDF) and gets useful information about farm related activities from the organisation.

 

Self-reliance and direct marketing are the two major reasons for Aruna's success in farming. She takes the produce to the markets in places like Sira, Gubbi and Tumakuru. While the family members do most of the farm work themselves, they hire labourers for a few tasks. 
Manure from two cows and sheep meets the farm's requirement. Three years ago, Aruna stopped using synthetic fertilisers and pesticides in the farm. Through constant observation and innovation, she has been able to find eco-friendly remedies for pest and disease problems in the crops. For instance, recently when hundreds of coconut trees in the farm were affected by stem bleeding disease, she prepared medicine using locally available materials and saved the trees.  

 

Lakshmamma is proud of her daughter's efforts and cites how people who refused to take her seriously in the beginning have changed their attitude towards her work. "We have not suffered losses for the last 10 years and the income has increased steadily," says Aruna. Proper crop combination, minimum dependence and hard work have paved the way for the farming success of the family.

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