Even after 55 years of independence various government projects and schemes have not yet reached the rural population due to lack of proper communication.  Only a few people with political influence or official favour are getting the benefits of various development programmes.  Hence, it is very necessary that knowledge about the developmental schemes and also recent developments in agriculture and allied activities are regularly conveyed to the rural communities.  Most of the times the middle men exploit the farmers, particularly so, while purchasing their agricultural products as the farmers do not have access to the prevailing market rates at the cities.  The  government departments are not good in communicating such information.  But fortunately the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have very good contacts with the rural people not only because they work with them but also live with them in the villages unlike most of the government staff.  They may be assigned the role of communicating knowledge and information by providing the necessary infrastructure of information technology (Computer, internet, website etc), posters, vernacular publications, street plays folk songs etc. for which they can collect a nominal service charge from the beneficiaries to meet the recurring expenses.

As far as my knowledge goes most of the books, documents and publications related to rural development and agriculture are too complicated and lengthy. They need to be simple and short so that the rural communities understand and also cultivate the habit of reading.   Again, in most of the magazines, often the success stories of new technologies or practices are highlighted. However, instances of failures also need to be highlighted to understand the reasons for failure.

With all possible means, we have to educate the farmers to use alternatives for chemical fertilizers and plant protection materials.  It is high time that agriculture universities, agriculture extension officials evaluate many farmer’s research regarding fertilizers and herbal extracts for plant protection, without hesitation, but with an open mind and concern.  Here, I want to thank from the depth of my heart and congratulate the Horticulture Department, Tamil Nadu Government, for having published 3000 small booklets about various herbal preparations invented by farmers, individually and also as a group, which are very useful. It is unfortunate that our education system does not help our future farmers in any way since it does not provide an opportunity to know about plants, animals and beneficial insects, creatures and birds.  Thus, it is very important that pictorial charts are prepared to impart knowledge both to the farmers and the children, instead of organizing workshops and seminars only.  The radio which has lost its importance due to television needs to be revived.

In Karnataka, we organize district level farmer groups meetings every month at farmer’s farm and exchange knowledge on practices while observing the farm.  Farmers also exchange seeds and plants with each other.  It is surprising that even agricultural officers participate in such group discussions and adapt alternatives to green revolution technology.  Very soon, we hope that such farmer’s groups will start working in the whole country enabling exchange of their knowledge and practices.  Some NGOs need to report these group decisions to the popular news papers and magazines so that more farmers will get benefitted.

We should collect traditional knowledge about seed selection, preservation, germination test and distribution or sharing which was given religious importance for continuity.  But unfortunately seed production and marketing has gone to the control of few multinational companies resulting in high costs and loss of bio-diversity.  During the past 50 years, crop diversity has narrowed down, with cereals from 20 to 3 or 4, and the legumes from 8 to 2. Similar is the case with our oil seeds, vegetables and fruits, not to mention the loss of wildly available ones.

It is most important that traditional knowledge from old people, particularly from old women about sowing seasons, seed rate per acre from a specific crop, crop rotation benefits, companion plants, crop diversity, seed selection and preservation, germination test be collected and documented.  The older generation are a rich knowledge source for medicinal plants and their application in human and animal health care.  I think it is very important to mention one good practice I learnt from an old lady Late Smt Obamma during 1948 when I was a 13 year old boy.  She used to grow chillies on the same plot for ages.  According to the agricultural technology not only chilly but also potato, brinjal, tobacco and tomato which belong to Solanacea family, should not be grown in the same plot atleast for 3 to 5 years, as all of them have the same disease i.e., bacterial wilt and root nematodes.  But since, she was growing some marigold plants along with chilly plants, she was able to harvest very good chilly crop for many years from the same piece of land.  But she did not know the scientific reason that nematodes were attracted and killed by the root-sap of the marigold plant.  Surprisingly, when I was reading a book “Companion plants and how to use them” tears rolled from my eyes with so much gratitude to that illiterate old lady.  Really speaking if at all I have some knowledge about organic farming I did not learn it from any scientist but the great old poor women in and around the village.

Mr. L. Narayana Reddy


Via Maralenanahalli

Doddaballapura Taluk

Hanabe – 561 203


Recently Published Articles

Women-led farm initiatives

Women-led farm initiatives

By using organic farming methods, developing connections with markets, generating income, and enhancing their own...


Call for articles

Share your valuable experience too

Share This