Fields of happiness and health

Fields of happiness and health

Eshwar has been into chemical-free farming for the last 12 years. He has three-and-a-half acres of land where he grows a variety of crops. 

Eshwar Ummanna Mule, 62, of Yabaratti village in Raibag taluk of Belagavi district invites me to his field and the small store in front of his house.

At his store, Eshwar gives me a packet of chickpea flour (chana dal). On smelling and then feeling its texture, I say, “This flour is light. It seems to be pure chana dal.” Next, he hands me a piece of jaggery. “This ginger-flavoured jaggery is too good,” I say, to which Eshwar says that if it’s consumed as kashaya (concoction), it will keep cold at bay.

Impressed, I go through the other products in the cupboard. It has packets of ragi flour, masala, kashaya and turmeric powder, chickpea (Bengal gram), tur dal, lentils, jaggery, molasses, honey, navane akki (foxtail millet), save akki (little millet) and baragu (proso millet) and sooji. There is fresh sugarcane juice too, and I’m sold...

Chemical-free farming

Eshwar has been into chemical-free farming for the last 12 years. He has three-and-a-half acres of land where he grows a variety of crops. The borewell in his farm yields less water. Also, the farm is at the tail end of a canal and so, the water barely reaches it. 

Eshwar has dug up a water tank (45-feet long, 12-feet wide and 15-feet deep) to store the water from his borewell and the stream. This water, mixed with jeevasaara liquid, (which has nutrients) is fed to the crops through drip irrigation.

Crop distribution

His farm has sugarcane on two acres, turmeric on half an acre, banana on 10 guntas, and millets (foxtail, little, proso) on half an acre. He raises the crops with the water available and sells them by adding value to the primary agriculture commodities.

“We must take up farming using limited water. This is the most valuable lesson that I have learnt. I prefer to grow crops according to the resources available and get good price for it. This is my way of sustainable agriculture,” explains a proud Eshwar.

Crop variety

He has grown separate sugarcane varieties for jaggery and molasses, and fresh sugarcane juice.

Each variety occupies half an acre and they are planted in different seasons.

Along with them, he grows cowpea, moth bean, green gram, black gram, vegetables and linseed. After harvesting them, he takes steps to retain moisture in the soil and control weeds. 

“Around 1.5 litre sugarcane juice is obtained from a sugarcane stick with 12 to 14 nodes. One glass (250 ml) of sugarcane juice costs Rs 15. While in summer, there is a demand for around 350 to 400 litres of fresh sugarcane juice per day, in other seasons, around 80 to 100 litres is sold every day,” estimates Eshwar.

He has a kadai that can hold 80 to 100 litres of sugarcane juice and uses it to prepare powder jaggery, jaggery blocks of one-kg each and molasses.

To prepare flour, crushed grains and sooji, he has a mill of two HP power. The mill also helps in pounding masala, chatnipudi, chilli powder and polished millets. Polished millets are sold between Rs 120 to 180 per kg. One-kg jaggery block fetches him Rs 60, while powder jaggery costs Rs 130.

In case his crops are insufficient, he buys quality crops from other farmers and turns them into a profitable deal. This, on an average, fetches him an income of Rs 900 to 1,000 per month.

There is demand for organic products in the neighbouring villages and in some cases, multiple families together buy in bulk. 

Eshwar, who discontinued school, is today known for his knowledge in agriculture. He says that agriculture, which has seen many ups and downs in the last decade, has always come to his rescue. Known for his dedication and enthusiam, he wants to save what has helped him grow. Chinnamma, his wife, is his business partner and has always helped him in all his endeavours. The couple have set a precedence for a profitable and healthy agricultural practice.  

Contact them on 9632609640, between 6 and 8 pm.

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