Punjab has enough water from water canals. Gujarat and Maharashtra are in the category of developed states. Inspite of this the farmers of these states commit suicide. In comparison to these states, the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is a less developed area. It has problems like that of deficiency of water and the presence of sandy soil. But despite this, when common people evince interest in the profession of farming by looking at the farmers of this area, then there must be some solid reason behind it. You can find out for yourself what this reason is by reading this report from Shekawati.
Today, Shekhawati, known as the land of bravery and riches, has added another noteworthy claim to its credit — that of successful organic farming. In fact, the area of Shekhawati can be credited with ushering in a revolution in the field of organic farming in the entire country. And this happened because a dream of the Morarka Foundation came true. And that itself is an inspiring story which began many years ago. The areas of the three districts of Shekhawati — Jhunjhunu, Churu and Sikar — have always struggled because of the sandy soil and deficiency of water. Till the last 10-15 years, the farmers of these areas followed the same farming practices as those followed by farmers in other parts of the country. But now the farmers of these areas have changed their method of farming, and with it, their life style. Today, Shekhawati has become a virtual pioneer in successful organic farming, that too without the help of any Government aid. The lush agricultural fields and prosperity in the local households tell their own fascinating tale of the, guts, spirit and self sufficiency of the farmers of Shekhawati. And organic farming has spread like a wave from Shekhawati to other areas throughout the nation. From Kashmir to Andaman, from Maharashtra to Sikkim and Nagaland, the example of Shekhawati and its organic farming has created a huge following. With the inputs from the Morarka Foundation, thousands of farmers in other states are now doing organic farming.
Jammu and Kashmir
With the support from the Morarka Foundation, nearly 1500 farmers in Kashmir’s Doda, Kishtwar and Kulgam districts are doing organic farming on their farms. These farmers are harvesting apples, pears, walnuts, saffron, red kidney beans and wheat on approximately 4000 acres of land. Till date, 38 training programmes have been conducted in these three districts, in which 1077 farmers have taken part. During these programmes the Foundation also distributed organic manure and disinfectants to promote organic farming in the three districts. To make organic manure, the foundation has distributed 400 kilos of earthworms, 2323 litres of Nature Suraksha Decomposer Liquid (NSDL) and 954 litres of terminator to the farmers. Today the farmers of these three districts are running 68 Vermi compost and 747 NSDL units.
Today, Shekhawati, known as the land of bravery and riches, has added another noteworthy claim to its credit — that of successful organic farming. In fact, the area of Shekhawati in Rajasthan can be credited with ushering in a revolution in the field of organic farming in the entire country. And this happened because a dream of the Morarka Foundation came true. And that itself is an inspiring story which began many years ago.
Today, the maximum organic farming in the entire country is done in Sikkim. The role of the state Government in this regard is praise worthy. The Sikkim Government has invited the Morarka Foundation to provide training in organic farming to its framers. The Foundation is teaching the farmers from the four districts in the east, west, north and south of the state the basic lessons of organic farming. Nearly 13555 farmers in these four districts combined are doing organic farming on 32944 acres of land. The organically harvested crops include paddy, maize, Sikkim beans, ginger, turmeric, garlic, chilli, tomatoes, potatoes and onions. Along with this, on the request of the Sikkim Government, the Morarka Foundation ran a “livelihood” programme of three months, where 6 senior technical officials from the Foundation worked on giving training to the youth of the state in organic farming. This has also provided employment to the youth.
In one of the north eastern states – Nagaland, the Morarka Foundation has started a popular trend in organic farming. Nagaland is famous for producing the world’s hottest chillies. More than 2000 farmers of the state have joined the Morarka Foundation and are doing organic farming. Farmers of 38 villages have learned the basics of organic farming by taking training from the Foundation. Today organic farming is done on almost 3237acres of land in the state. Out of the organic farming produce, the major items include Naga chillies, bananas, ginger, oranges, maize and pineapples. In the districts of Kohima, Peren and Phek, the Foundation, in an ongoing programme, has run more than 300 training sessions. In these training sessions more than 5500 farmers have received training in organic farming. The farmers of these districts have constructed 888 vermi compost units and 1046 NSDL compost units till date. The Foundation has distributed 4440 kilos of earthworms, 2092 litres of NSDL and 1013 litres of terminator among the farmers till date.
At a time when the Government did not even have the time to take a meaningful look at the northeast, the Morarka Foundation had already reached the remote southern areas of the Andamans and are providing training in organic to the farmers of the Union Territory. Approximately 1000 farmers from 17 villages of Andaman’s Nil Island, Havelock Island and Port Blair have joined the Morarka Foundation and are doing organic farming. Organic farming is done on approximately 803 acres of land. The major produce of organic farming includes coconuts, betelnuts, mangoes, bananas and vegetables. Till date the foundation has held 110 training sessions, in which 1632 farmers have already benefitted through their participation.
In the state of Himachal Pradesh too, the farmers around Shimla are being given training by the Morarka Foundation in the growing of apples through organic means. In the Jalgaon area of Maharashtra as well such programmes are underway. Thousands of farmers from this place have joined with hands with the Foundation and are farming through organic means. In fact, it is quite astonishing how, on one side of Maharashtra, the farmers of Vidharbha are committing suicide and on the other side, the farmers of Jalgaon and Akola are creating the seeds of revolutionising the agricultural sector through organic farming. Apart from organic farming, the Foundation is also doing important work in the area of conserving water. Recently, the Morarka Foundation has started watershed construction in the Churu, Jaipur and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan.
Organic Vs Chemical Farming
Generally, it is considered that usage of chemical manure and insecticide can increase crop production and this increase in production could earn profits for the farmers. The Government also recommends that farmers should sow and harvest in a “scientific manner”, but this scientific manner only takes insecticides and chemical manure into consideration. As a result, we hear that farmers of Vidharbha, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are committing suicide on a regular basis because of crop failures. Apart from this, as a result of the usage of chemical manure and insecticides in onion and vegetable growing, milk and water — which are a major source of life for humans — are becoming poisonous. This in turn is slowly endangering the human race. Excessive usage of chemical manure to increase harvests has not only become a danger for the human race, but is also making fertile lands barren. The fertility of soil is continuously decreasing. To increase the production, there is a continuous increase in the amount of chemical manure as a result of which the amount of biological elements in soil are also decreasing. A negative impact on the physical structure and chemical properties of the land is thus taking place. Therefore, an important question arises — is there no solution for these problems? There is a solution. The only solution to these problems is organic farming. The vermin compost is proving to be instrumental in increasing the fertility of soil. Organic farming is cheaper than chemical farming, because the raw materials needed for organic farming are always available with the farmers, like compost manure from dung, manure prepared from fodder and the remains of crops, manure from earthworms. Better manure can be made from the eisenia foetida (red worm) species of epigeic worm. The Vermi compost is cheaper, and along with this it also increases the fertility of the soil. It also purifies the water, land and air. With its use, harvesting can be done even where there is a shortage of water. The usage of this manure also reduces the production cost substantially. Organically prepared grain is delicious and healthy to eat. In the area of organic farming, the Morarka foundation has done some fantastic experiments. Along with many states, lakhs of farmers from Rajasthan have joined this Foundation and have started organic farming. The Foundation gives training to farmers in preparing manure from dung and worms and in preparing insecticide in the form of vermin wash. Herbal spray is made from cow’s urine, neem, turmeric and garlic. Organic farming is proving to be a boon for the farmers.