Holistic approach to farming

Holistic approach to farming

Innovative farmer Sahukar Siddappa, Chitradurga district

Sahukar Siddappa of Hemadala village in Chitradurga district is one of the first farmers to grow pomegranate in the region. He successfully cultivated the horticulture crop in his one-acre farm for about a decade. Afterwards, the crop was destroyed in the region due to a disease, and farmers incurred loss. That was when Siddappa realised the significance of integrated farming. Though his crop was not completely destroyed, he cleared pomegranate plants and divided the farm into different patches. While he planted pomegranate again in 30 guntas, greens, vegetables, flowers and forest species were grown in patches in the rest of the land.

The crops are planned in such a way that they complement each other. While pomegranate is an annual crop, short-duration crops like jasmine, dairy and beekeeping bring regular income. The family members, his wife Mahantamma and son Satish Kumar, do minimal processing and value addition as well and market the products.

As many as 100 pomegranate plants are grown in 30 guntas, leaving more space between plants for easy maintenance. He rears cattle to complement agriculture. Siddappa firmly believes that dairy is an integral part of farming. While he earns an income of around Rs 8,000 per month by selling milk, cow dung is used in gobar gas and as liquid 

Though the source of irrigation is a borewell, he uses it wisely. Drip irrigation ensures proper utilisation of water. Apart from one acre, Siddappa also owns a patch of dry land. There, he grows crops like finger millet, foxtail millet, groundnut and sunflower under rainfed conditions, for home consumption. Interestingly, Siddappa has never applied for government subsidies and loans. The family members feel that with integrated farming one can reap riches even in small patches of land. The 
family leads a content life now, sailing through ups and downs confidently