Integrated agriculture for sustainable gains

Many farmers grow crops mostly for the market and ignore their own family needs. When there is a glut in the market, they cannot sell their produce for a good price. In any case they have to purchase their kitchen needs at higher prices from the merchants, many times on loans. Apart from incurring losses, they are helping traders to benefit more. Instead if they can grow all possible family needs, they can save their hard earned money and have poison free food for the whole family. Basically, this is why agriculture came into practice from the beginning.  Gradually, after the barter system was replaced with money economy, utmost importance was given to commercial crops and they got into the clutches of the traders.  Even at the time of glut in agriculture products in the market, it would have been profitable for the farmers, if they had tried processing and adding value to their products and then marketed.

Agriculture is not just growing a crop and selling it away. It is an integrated system of tree cropping to obtain fodder, green manure, fruits and tubers, fuel and timber. Animal husbandry is the most important integral part of agriculture system as it is interrelated and inter dependent, to recycle the crop wastes and animal dung for better economic returns. But unfortunately with change in our educational, social and cultural systems and false prestigious life styles, the farmers have become poorer and poorer. Adding to it, the country’s administration has totally neglected the rural population and gave all the importance to urbanities in the name of industrialization and employment and various service systems.

A country’s economy is based on its soil health, productivity, number of trees and animals and healthy working force. Even in case of an agriculture family if it has to be sustainable, a similar infrastructure has to be developed. Even the administration system instead of employing agriculture graduates as police sub-inspectors, bank employees and entertaining them to become MBA graduates and go abroad to serve some multinational company as salesmen, it is good to assign them as practicing demonstrators developing 5 acres of community land as model farms at every taluk level. These model farms should be developed with minimum possible external inputs and serve as demonstration models of economical sustainability. If all the agricultural graduates after their graduation are employed in such activities, they cultivate a work culture and understand the problems and possibilities and become confident when they are given the responsibility as extension officers.

A farmer should plan to grow all possible home needs for the whole year, then he should plan to adapt animal husbandry and build up a system of establishing regular supply of their own fodder, even some medicinal plants both for their family and animals. They should plan in such a way that they should get income by selling vegetables, milk and eggs everyday every week and every month so that they have money for their daily needs. Agriculture is not just growing hybrid tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, potato, investing the borrowed money taking a big risk and getting into problems in the event of crop failure or market glut. With my 40 years of experience in a small scale farming, it is better to grow 5 crops in rainfed cultivation and 10 crops in irrigated cultivation, where we may lose in 30% crops, just grow sufficiently with the other 30% crops and make profit with the remaining 40% crops.

Also, very important is adapting a honourable and simple life style. Every able person should work on the farm to understand each other in the family to develop a happy and respectable work culture and to establish a regular income. This system needs constant thinking and planning farm activities to conserve water and soil, giving utmost importance to building up humus. This will improve the water holding capability to provide moisture at the root zone and encourage soil organisms to multiply helping in soil health improvement. Trees play an important role in protecting and improving soil carbon or humus and also conserve moisture and host birds which help in plant protection. So every farmer should understand the various inter relationships of land and its sustainable productivity and gains.

L.Narayana Reddy

Srinivasapura, (near)  Marelanahlli,

Hanabe Post – 561 203

Doddaballapur Taluk,

Bangalore Rural District


Mobile : 9242950017, 9620588974

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