Himalayan VOICES High Himalaya FORUM Himalayan Heritage  
  Farming: The Natural Way
Category: Agriculture
Source: Rural Innovations Network
Location: Dehri, Maharashtra, India

There was a time when chemical fertilizers were the be all and end all in farming. With increasing awareness regarding the disadvantages of using chemical fertilizers and with globalization popularizing everything organic, farmers are going back to the basics. One such farmer is Mr. Bhaskarbhai Save from Dehri in Maharashtra, India. 

Like many, he too adopted the chemical fertilizers but realized that it was having an adverse effect on soil nutrient balance, on long-term productivity, and soil micro flora (bacteria, earthworms, etc.). He gradually moved towards natural farming, learning and solving problems simultaneously. According to Bhaskarbhai Save, natural farming and organic farming differ in the following ways:
  • In natural farming silt is added to the soil while in organic farming organic fertilizers are used.
  • No ploughing is done in natural farming while organic farming requires initial ploughing.
  • Weeds are suppressed, not removed in natural farming but in organic farming weeding is a necessity.
Natural farming thus lets the natural processes take care of production and external interference is kept to the minimum
In addition to using natural farming techniques, Mr. Save has also come up with an ingenuous way of measuring the moisture content in the soil. He uses Croton plants as moisture meters. Roots of Croton plants cover the top nine inches of the soil, which is the layer that is imperative to monitor for moisture content. The discovery of the curling up of the leaves of the Croton plant when moisture content was low, gave him the new measure for moisture content. He now has a 14 acre farm called Kalpavruksha out of which 10 acres is used for horticulture.