Instead of prevalent chemical fertilizers and pesticides, Naini Central Jail inmates have this year used organic farm techniques to grow vegetables. Owing to high produce, the vegetables are being sent to jails across the state for consumption.
The inmates used bio-fertilizer of animal waste obtained from cowsheds in jail, ash and other manures to cultivate seasonal crops of pumpkin, gourd and ladyfinger on 12 acres on the premises. Even the pesticide used to save the crop from pests was prepared biologically to protect plants from exposure to harmful chemicals.
The inmates were trained by a team of Art of Living in organic farming. After a brief workshop on identifying the type of soil, preparation of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizer, they started the farming in January.
"Bio-fertilizer compound was prepared through a scientific process involving micro-organisms with the help of gur, besan, soil, cow-dung and other manures. It helps in enriching the soil quality and its nutrient value. Similarly, bio-pesticides were also obtained naturally to control pests through non-toxic process," said jail superintendent Ambrish Gaur.
The jail has a large cow shed where around five dozens cows are reared. The cow dung is also used as manure in bio-fertilizer. Balkrishna of Art of Living said that the experiment by inmates on 12 acres had paid rich dividend.
"The crops grown in jail have rich nutrient value and are free from toxic impact due to the use of organic farming technique. It can be an example for farmers who use excessive chemical fertilizer and pesticide in growing the same crop," said Balkrishna.
The vegetables grown here are dispatched across the jails of the state for consumption. "Currently, only seasonal vegetables are being grown here. The vegetables are for consumption of inmates but due to excess production, they are being sent to other district jails across the state," said Gaur.
The Central Jail has 3,700 jail inmates and majority of them are engaged in farming and other vocational jobs. Some have also joined correspondence courses of IGNOU. Further they are also being paid for the work they do here.
Courtesy: The Times of India