Return to farming Embracing integration and technology

Starting as a hobbyist and evolving into an entrepreneurial farmer, Smt. Indumathi has come a long way. Defying advancing age, she has proved that farm incomes could be enhanced by diversifying and practicing organic farming and using drudgery reducing farm machinery. Her enthusiasm for farming suggests that learning new skills and engaging in agricultural endeavour is not age-related.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the farming community in India. It is life line of our economy. However, today’s youth are not interested in agriculture because of lower incomes, challenges faced with climate changes and natural calamities. Everyone aspires to a modern, opulent life and do not want to take up farming as their livelihood option. Thus, they are migrating to urban areas in search of jobs. In such circumstances, a woman moving from a city to a village to work in agriculture at the age of 55 is extremely uncommon. This is the case of one such farm woman, Smt. Indumati P. Channal from Dhavaleshwara, Gokak taluk, Belagavi district, who has been practicing integrated farming system, organically.

Even though ambitious, she could study only upto 7th standard, as girls were not encouraged to study then. She got married to Shri Pandappa Channal from a joint family. After fulfilling all her family responsibilities, she wanted to do something different with available resources.

Smt. Channal started farming during 2000-01. She has adopted organic Integrated Farming System in two acres of land. Agri- horti-forestry cropping pattern is being practiced. A farm house was built and she started working on the farm. She grows wide diversity of crops in two acres. Turmeric is grown in 30 guntas. Foxtail millet, vegetables, fodder maize were also grown in between turmeric and used for home consumption as well as to meet fodder requirements.  After harvesting turmeric and foxtail millet, Dicoccum wheat is grown in the field. Navane is being used for home consumption rather than selling. Along the borders, she has planted around 300 teakwood plants and few coconut trees in-between.

One gets healthy organic produce/products like mangoes, bananas, coconut, tamarind and turmeric rhizome and turmeric powder from her farm. By growing turmeric, she got net returns of Rs. 65,000/- per year. Turmeric rhizome is powdered at home using mill, thus, preparing pure turmeric powder. Both rhizomes and powder are being sold to the Sangali markets through commission agency. It is expected that Teak plants shall fetch one crore as income in the future. Coconuts are sold locally as well as to nearby city hotels. By selling coconuts, she got an income of Rs. 40,000/-. She has also planted around 200 banana plants in the farm which fetches an income of Rs. 1 lakh per year. Besides these, she has planted different fruit trees on her farm which include sapota, custard apple, diverse mango varieties from Ratnagiri. Mango trees have started yielding. Tamarind, lime, cherry, ramphal are also grown on the farm, whose seedlings were brought from UAS, Dharwad. Harvests from all these trees are being used for home consumption.

To support organic farming, four HF cows are being reared. These cows give five litres of milk which is being sold to local dairy unit at Dhavaleshwar every day at Rs.50/per litre. Vermicompost, Panchagavvya, Jeevamruth, Bio-digester, Kashaya (prepared using different tree leaves) are being prepared in the field and used as fertilizers, growth promoters and natural pesticides. Machinery and drudgery reducing equipment are also being used which include, Flourmill, Coconut Sheller, Coconut climber, Mango harvester etc.  Drip irrigation is also being used on the farm.

Overall, she is earning an income of around Rs. 2.5 lakhs per year. She grows few vegetables for home purpose throughout the year, so that a lot of expenditure on vegetables is also reduced. Money saved is money earned.

Recognising her enthusiasm, dedication and achievements in farming, UAS Dharwad honoured her with Best Farm Woman Award during 2009-10. She was selected as one of the resource persons in the Farmers to Farmers Training Programme conducted by University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot. Many visitors who visit the farm to witness her entrepreneurial spirit, highly appreciate her dedication and enthusiasm at her age.

 Table 1:Cropping systems, expenses and net profit

Crops grown Expenditure Profit Purpose Mode of sale/ consumers
Turmeric 35,000/- 65,000/- Home consumption and Sale Through commission agency and friends to consumers
Navane     Home consumption  
Teak 5,000/- Estimated income of one crore in the future
Tamarind 100/- 5,000/- Used for Home and sale both Sold locally
Coconut 2000/- 40,000 -do- To hotels in nearby cities.
Banana 10,000/- 1,00,000/- -do- To nearby city market
Mango and other fruit plantations 2000/- 20,000/- Majority of fruits are being used for Home -do-


Table 2 : Expenses on enterprises and equipment

Particulars   Expenditure (Rs.)
Dairy   25000/-
Vermicompost   100/-
Bio digester   5000/-
Drip irrigation   20000/-
Compost making   500/-
Machinery and  Drudgery reducing equipments Coconut Sheller 1500/-
Coconut climber 4500/-
Mango harvester 300/-
Mill 10000/-
Total   66,800


Agriculture holds the hands of those who hold it. There is no age limit to do farming. Rather, it requires determination, hard work and enthusiasm, abundantly epitomised by Smt. Channal. By adopting diversity, integration and organic farming methods, the produce is of good quality while the expenditure on manures and plant protection measures is minimal, thus, making farming remunerative and profitable. She is an inspiration to young and old alike.

Vijaya Hosamani

Asst. Prof. of Agricultural Extension, COH,



Dr. Mala Patil

Asst. Prof. of Computer Science, COH,



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