Diversified Farming Systems

Agriculture is being neglected to the maximum by the union and state governments because the revenue they receive, is very meager compared to other sectors like information technology, bio-technology etc. Surprisingly, it is being neglected even by farmers, as it is not a rewarding profession compared to others in terms of hard work, time and risk factors involved. But the main reason for this tragedy is that governments have not given enough importance to provide remunerative prices for agriculture produce on par with the cost of agriculture inputs.  But one thing is true that, food is the most important commodity for any living being.

As a farmer, I have learnt during my 45 years experience that only crop production is not agriculture. This is particularly true in countries like India where 80% of the total farmers are small and marginal.  Atleast for these farmers agriculture shall be an integrated system of cropping and livestock. Tree cropping is for green manure, fodder, food, fiber, fuel and timber. Livestock should include a variety of animals like cow or buffaloes, sheep or goats, chicken or pigs which feed on farm wastes like grasses, hay and the like, pruned branches from trees and weeds, broken and immature grains, spoiled fruits etc and produce milk, eat, eggs, money etc and valueable manure.

Trees not only provide fodder, green manure etc., but also add enormous amount of biomass to soil, host beneficial predating insects and birds, conserve moisture from hot winds, conserve water from the soil, enrich the soil fertility by accommodating trillions and trillions of micro-organisms around their innumerable kilometers of long root system and of course income.  Then the animals feedings on the farm wastes, keep weeds under control with proper grazing and watch, provide valueable manure on the farm and their excreta shall be used as raw materials from gobar gas plant producing cooking and lighting gas with value added manure for crops.

Coming to the cropping system, importance should be given for the family consumption and local community whose services we require. But unfortunately, more importance is being given both by the government and by the farmers for commercial crops like cotton, tobacco, sugarcane, chillies, eucalyptus which are grown for export. These crops neither provide food, fodder nor fuel to the farmer and local communities. Lack of fodder is also the main reason for the decline of animal population forcing many small farmers to depend on tractors for cultivation and chemical fertilisers for manuring. Use of chemicals has not only resulted in compacting and crusting soils but has also destroyed soil organisms. Thus, farmers are forced to buy more and more external inputs becoming indebted.

The only solution to overcome this agriculture debacle, not only in India but also in the other countries is to adopt ecologically friendly farming with diversity of trees, animals and crops. We own a 4.2 acre irrigated land near Doddaballapura, in Bangalore Rural District in Karnataka State. We are producing food like cereals, beans, cooking oil, almost all species of vegetables and fruits, enough for 10 people for the whole year. This apart we also produce about 10,000 coconuts, 8 tons of sapota, 5 tons of papaya, 2 tons of avocado, 2 tonnes of soya bean, 10 tonnes of various seasonal vegetables and other fruits for the market. We have 8 cows, 12 goats and 25 native chickens.  On the farm borders and edges, we have 300 various fodder, green manure and timber trees since 15 years.  We are sure of getting Rs. 30,00,000/= income by the sale of these timber trees during the future 15 years apart from their other benefits mentioned above. We have reared 200 fishes in our water storage tank which brings an annual income of Rs 6,000.  Hence, a farm with bio-diversity of trees, animals, inter-cropped cropping system will provide food and financial security and not monocrops that ultimately end up in debts and destructions to men and the soil.

L. Narayana Reddy

Srinivasapura, (near)  Marelanahlli,

Hanabe Post – 561 203

Doddaballapur Taluk,

Bangalore Rural District


Mobile : 9242950017, 9620588974


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