They are poor - an unfortunate outcome of adopting chemical usage in farming practices. Yet, they went back to their roots and adopted older methods of farmings - with surprising results.
“I don't have easy availability of water and I am not financially settled. But I cannot excuse my farming because of these factors. I followed Sri Sri Natural Farming with Jeevamrit (a mixture of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, flour of pulses and soil from the farm). I did not use a lot of water, yet I had seven quintals from a meager sowing of 15 kg in just half an acre,” shares Buddhram Dhabde, a farmer from Betul, a district in Madhya Pradesh.
Not keen on practicing chemical farming, Buddhram attended the Sri Sri Natural Farming program which trains farmers on techniques of natural farming with minimal to no-expense. "I was impressed. The result of seven quintals was marvelous. There was no chance for this to happen with chemicals," says Buddhram.
Natural- the Natures way
"When I saw my field and especially when others started noticing my humble farm, I realized that I was so lucky to have someone to guide me. Every month I had visitors to see what I was doing. Even they are inspired now to take up farming. I have 15 acres and I will gradually turn it all into a natural farming land. If I have a good market, I will provide natural food to my fellow-countrymen," he shares.
Buddhram echoes the convenience of practicing natural farming in terms of money. With all the requirements available at home, he spends a minimum amount of Rs. 200 per acre; with chemical-farming, this would have been Rs. 2000 per acre.
Contented with the height of the paddy produce—more than 3 feet—Buddhram credits Sri Sri Natural Farming program for the crucial switch. After losing trust in everybody, this program made him rediscover trust and faith.
A practitioner of Sudarshan Kriya, Buddhram says, "Now I aim to grow, eat and also let others eat chemical-free food. I will tell every farmer to turn to chemical-free farming; if you do it with natural farming, great! I wish that every household reading this will tell their neighbor about eating right," he smiles.
This was the first time
In another testimony, Prabhu Dayal, a farmer from Betul shares that in his entire lifetime he had never seen his farmland as bright as gold. "I sowed 10 kg in less than half an acre. I followed all the instructions given in the Sri Sri Natural Farming program. Such rich golden wheat, with a surprisingly high amount of produce, happened without chemicals. I used very little water, opting for Jeevamrit instead. It produced an unbelievable 3 quintals," says Prabhu.
Grateful to the new technique, he said that he doesn't want to take the burden of losses with chemicals from now on.
An advocate and a farmer, Rajendra from Chandpur village opined that the less-input-better-output fundamentals have left him in deep retrospection. "While undergoing the Sri Sri Natural Farming program, I repeatedly thought, Where was I lost for so many years? What I have gained after the program is priceless," said Rajendra, who grows wheat, lentils, and chickpea using the Sri Sri Natural Farming techniques.
In a comparative experiment, Rajendra divided his farm into two—one side for each of the practices. For the first time since his childhood, Rajendra saw wheat plants grow significantly tall, bright golden, and rich in texture. "I can tell you that the wheat plants grown with chemicals were very weak, dull, and not with that unique shine that natural farming wheat had. I will gradually make my whole farm chemical-free," he added.
Saving the nation’s health
Rajendra feels that as a farmer it is his responsibility to feed non-chemical, natural and healthy food to his fellow-countrymen. He feels farmers have lost touch with themselves and the authentic Indian way of farming, but this program has rediscovered it.
He concludes, "I wish to make more farmers join this movement. Even in organic farming, with vermicompost, it takes four to five months to make manure, but with Sri Sri Natural Farming techniques I can get the manure ready within a few days! I can now prepare everything at home. I save my time, money, soil, and most importantly our nation's health!"
Story credit: Monica Patel
Published on: September 2013