Friday, December 14, 2012

Organic Farming – Best Solution for Konkan

Farmer is known as King in agricultural country. This is the king who works in farm all the day to supply food to quench hunger of citizens. Perhaps this is the only king who works hard, eats simple bread, wears very simple cloths, sleeps on floor, makes his hands dirty in soil and cow dung for which he gets lowest pay. In addition to this he also gets agitated because of problems in supply of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, government schemes and agents. Above all sometimes he commits suicide as an only option to protest the situation. Do you think our farmer is really a ‘King’? This story is not of those landlords who have influence over government but those who measure their land in square yards in all over India.

Green revolution boosted the crop yield in India, but this 50 year old movement has some limits. The use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides along with new hybrid seeds turned to be doom to increase the output but soon the downside of it came into limelight. The main effect was that the agriculture become more and more dependent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides with its increasing usage, leading to drugging effect on it. That increased the investment and the rates of the goods. Ever increasing rates of food resulted in increasing pressure on consumers and due to its inability to stand with the constant inflation in agro products, the pressure reversed back on the farmers. The situation for farmers is more dreadful now and the lifesaving balloons of packages or schemes are thought to be meant only for lobby of big fat landlords. I am from the region of India where situation is not horrible as other agro-zones of India, but has very different story altogether.
The farmer in Konkan is still titled with words common and poor. The reasons behind this are, the irregular terrain of farm land where forget about driving tractor but operating simple plough is tricky too. The money for seeds, fertilizers and labor hardly comes from profit of the last year’s yield. It is arranged by selling trees, fruits and extra members from livestock. The other financial needs are also solved by the same alternate sources. Except for few farmers the farming in Konkan is just a source of satisfying hunger. Government policies have some influence on the monoculture in orchards but helpless about the situation of seed and vegetable crops. And people after waiting for long now started migrating from the region leaving precious eco-zone for industries to ride over the sensitive zone with chocking smoke and leaching chemicals. It seems like the people here have lost the hope of change in agriculture.

Konkan is nowhere in map of Agro-zone. 
Let’s think about this situation from different perspective. The Green Revolution in India has elevated the yield of crops by multiples due to use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers started saving the harvest after their yearly use to sell. With new technology farmers received new schemes from government for seeds and fertilizers. Then also till recent time, farmers in Konkan were using traditional seeds for cultivation and could get better results, but now they have turned to hybrid seeds. Green revolution showed many hopes to farmers. But this turned to be a short persisting hope. The negative effects due to overuse of chemical fertilizers soon clouded its positive effects. The spare chemicals accumulated in soil causing adverse effect on small animals and plant useful to increase the fertility of soil naturally, leading to decreased rate of nutrient recycling in farm soil. Now the use of chemical fertilizers was unavoidable resulting in increased cost of farming and more wearying of soil. The increase cost of agriculture has lead the farmers to turn towards logging business and monoculture of hybrid plants. But that too turned out to be another head ache because these hybrid plants need extra care, fertilizers and pesticides. The farmer who tried to compensate his loss in chemical farming got trapped in another heavy expense. Finally the frustrated farmer lost the hopes and discontinued the proper orchard farming, but still continued to supply water there in some unknown hope. Projects for percolation dams could successfully make the Konkan a water abundant region, but government schemes and subsidies were specially made to encourage the orchard farming but there was no guidance about the same for crop farming. On other hand chemicals from farm mixed with nearby water sources and showed its negative effect there. As a result there is decline in biodiversity of fresh waters in these regions. The people depend on fisheries are facing the problems due to decline in fish population now. It turned to be two sided sword for farmers.
Fertilizer use in India. 

Crop output in India.

The increasing financial needs and cost of living made the farmers to migrate from Konkan towards the big cities like Mumbai in search employment. They left their lands with their relatives to take care with promise to support them financially. Many left the land unattended. These migrants had a dream with them that after retirement they will return back to start farming again. With same passion few returned back but by the time many things get changed. The body power, relations and other conditions start showing their age effect on the passion. Sometimes the land is robbed by the relatives or used for developmental projects without any clue, and the farmer fights a different battle then onward.  Now many farms in Konkan are unnoticed. There is plenty of water for agriculture but no farmer. The labor problem is major, the farm labors have started working in stone mines and logging factory where they get more wedge than the farm work. People are trying to sale their farmlands which are now useless for them. They sale it to anyone who gives good value, whether local or from other region. Industries and white collar men want make use of the situation. On other hand now some people have started to argue against the intruders from other states in Konkan. Isn’t this childish? Who is responsible for this intruders, government or the locals?
The problem lies in lack of proper agenda and guidance. The land in Konkan is very different from the large agricultural areas of country. This land naturally laden with biodiversity that supports natural regeneration of fertility. The agriculture friendly fauna is in plenty here eg. Honey bees, butterflies, dung insects, earth worms. So there is a need of low cost nature friendly agricultural practices for this region. Organic farming can be a good option for this purpose. A limited use of chemical fertilizers combined with maximum utilization of locally available compost, cow dung, fish manure, green manure and easy to make vermicompost. There is great need of union of farmers in Konkan, which will help in solving problems such as availability of manpower, fertilizers and finance. Organic farming needs very less investment. This will also help farmers with having good livestock to gain value for their cow shade waste (dung) along with milk, as requirement of dung will increase to be used as fertilizer. Organic farming will certainly help in improving biodiversity of the region by putting positive effects on soil and water. This will in turn help in developing co-agricultural business such as honey bee raring (apiculture), fisheries and growing medicinal plants. The small land holding and land less farmers will certainly get benefitted due to this as more permanent employment opportunities can be created. For all this there is a great need of farmer union and formation of co-operative organizations in Konkan. These organizations can provide services such as agricultural education, training, guidance, credit, organic fertilizers, manpower, market, business, marketing of goods and networking between farmers. For all this there are many organization available in country, just there is need to reach them.

We have planned to initiate a similar type of movement in Konkan, with intention to develop agriculture in Konkan at its best by using eco-friendly techniques. The plan is to start the project at experimental level in Kudal district of Sindhudurg and after a evaluative study the movement will be spread all over Konkan with full proof plan. 


1. Negative Impacts of Chemical Fertilizers on Agriculture Land and Soil Degradation (Read)
Fertilizers killing Indian agriculture (Read)
Understanding the Effects of Chemical Fertilizers (Read)
5. Opportunities and Constrains in Organic Farming: An Indian Perspective (Read)
6. The World of Organic Agriculture in India (Read)
 The Mosaic Company Analyst Day 2007 (Read)