Intro: At the time when hundreds of farmers have committed suicide due to crop loss caused by unseasonal rains and unexpected hailstorms, and there is politics even in distribution of compensation to the affected farmers, some farmers in Haryana have shown how to say goodbye to crop loss, which forces the annadata to take extreme step.
Amidst the news of farmers committing suicide due to crop loss caused by unseasonal rains and unexpected hailstorms, 42 year old Rajkumar Arya of Nehra village under Kurukshetra District in Haryana is a content and satisfied farmer. He has harvested a bumper wheat crop from six acres with zero impact of recent unseasonal rains. “The farmers who are committing suicide in Haryana or any other part of the country are basically responsible for the crop loss themselves. They are mad after chemical fertilizers and pesticides and do not even want to try the traditional methods of farming. I too was mad after chemical fertilizers till six years back. But since the year I switched to natural farming, I started enjoying farming. Farmers from across Haryana come to see my crops and imitate,” Rajkumar Arya told Organiser.
Natural farming is the panacea to all ills : Subhash Palekar
“Natural farming is a panacea to the ills plaguing the farmers all over the country. There is a need to popularise Jeevamrita, a mixture of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, flour, soil and water, prepared without any expenditure. The chemical farming, which involves spraying of pesticides and use of fertilizers, not only financially burdens the farmers, but also wreaks havoc on the soil, ruining the health of the people and wasting water. Natural farming, which envisages zero-budget agriculture practices, is a better option. Many farmers, who have taken up natural farming, are doing well in contrast to those depending on chemical fertilizers.”
Rajkumar Arya is not the only farmer in Haryana whose crop is fully safe. The list has many more names. Krishnapal of Kasan Village in Kaithal District too has harvested fully safe crop from three acres. “The water of unseasonal rains that gathers in the field basically damages the matured crops. Following the advice from agricultural scientists we had already laid granules in the field, which soaked the rain water,” says Krishnapal. Equally, Manoj Kumar of Chaushala Village in Kaithal harvested abundant wheat crop from 20 acres without any damage. When asked what he did to save the crop, he says, “I neither used urea nor any other pesticide. I also ensured that rain water does not gather in the field.” Similarly, Narendra Nambardar of Seradha Village did not suffer any loss. He says, “Majority of the farmers today mindlessly use urea and pesticides. They weaken roots of the plants and the plants are unable to face nature’s furies.”
Agriculture scientist Shri Ishwar Kundu endorses the methods adopted by these farmers to save their crops. He says, “I have personally visited some fields and found that the farmers using lesser quantity of urea or adopting natural methods of farming have faced minimum damage. The fast winds and unseasonal rains failed to cause any damage to their crops. The soil of those fields had soaked rain water quickly.” He insists that in order to save the crops the farmers should adopt methods which enhance fertility power of the soil so that the soil regains the strength of protecting the crops. The crops grown through natural methods have strong roots and stems. He also suggests slight change in cultivation methods.
Farmers’ suicide are doubly devastating because they mark the death of a bread winner, and often mean the loss of seasonal crops as well. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased the compensation amount to the farming families who have lost a loved one to suicide, the vast majority of those promised government aid claim they haven’t received it. Reason, many State governments have not taken it seriously. There are reports of granting Rs 63, Rs 75 or Rs 100 as compensation to some farmers in Uttar Pradesh.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have turned farming in India into a business of loss. The 59th round of NSSO survey in 2003 revealed that 40 per cent farmers were ready to quit farming if they got any alternate mode of employment. The results of the latest survey conducted between December 2013 and January 2014 in 18 states are more alarming. It reveals 61 per cent farmers are ready to quit farming if they get any job in cities.
Contrary to this picture, the farmers practising natural farming or cow based organic farming are enjoying farming. “We are happy because our production cost reduced remarkably and the yield is high. I practise 100 per cent cow based farming. Not only the wheat, people come to see my sugarcane and rice crops also which are equally wonderful. Apart from it we have adopted certain new methods to increase our income. In my sugarcane field, I harvested three crops last year using intercropping method. In one acre field I took three crops—moong, cauliflower and mustard—in one year. These crops proved bonus for me,” adds Rajkumar Arya.
When asked how he shifted to natural farming, he says, “I attended a workshop of natural farming propounded by Shri Subhash Palekar in Madhya Pradesh about six years back. At that time when I was told that the crops grown through natural farming have more strength and bear the natural onslaughts more than the crops grown through chemical fertilizers, I was not ready to accept it. I have been practising natural farming for the last six years, but this year only I realised that the plants grown through natural farming really have more strength than chemical farming,” he says.
Though Rajkumar Arya advises other farmers to opt for natural farming, he has grievances against the government. He says the certification cost charged by government agencies is unbearable and discourages the farmers to opt for it. “Today, we (whether individual or group) have to pay Rs one lakh per year for certification of our products. We want this amount is either reduced or is borne by the government. The government knows well that we produce amrit through natural farming, and those who use chemical fertilizers produce poison causing various critical diseases. We fail to understand why the government spends so much money on subsidy to chemical fertilizers and pesticides and charges huge money from us for merely certification,” adds Shri Arya.
There are lakhs of farmers practising organic farming in different states. Everybody, from government agencies to voluntary organisations and even individual farmers knows it well that it is panacea to all the ills that the farmers face today. But still it is being ignored. “Whether we accept it today or not, carbonic farming is the solution and we will have to adopt it today or tomorrow. What is urgently needed is to eradicate the misconceptions spread about this healthy method and stop the use of hybrid seeds, which are being promoted to trap the farmers into a vicious circle,” says Shri Surendra Singh, Haryana state organising secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. – Pramod Kumar