Sharing by farmer attracts young farmers to nature friendly agriculture

Following is an interview done by LEISA India team with Mr. Somashekhara Ruli, All India Radio, Gulbarga, Karnataka

1) You have mentioned that you have used content of Narayana Reddy in you farm programmes – In which form do you use it. As interviews or talks etc.
As other AIR stations, Gulbarga AIR broadcasts farm programmes daily for about one hour. Morning five minutes will be utilized to give hints to farmers (Raitarige salahe) and in the evening between 6.50 pm and 7.35 pm., where agriculture knowledge is transmitted through various formats like interviews, talks, features, documentaries, jingles, songs, plays, skits etc. We have utilized  NR’s views esp., in Raitarige salahes in the form of talks. Sometimes in the evening in Krushiranga, in the form of jingles (of one to two minutes duration).

2) Can you also specify which practices or issues of NR have you used in your programmes?
It is rather difficult to specify the issues or practices. I think expertise and experience of  NR  is indeed of great use to the farmers. We have used almost all issues raised  in his column. Often, we focus on his discussion on vermicomposting, bio-digestion, plant extracts, neem, effective micro-organisms, improving bio-ecology  of rhizosphere by adding cow urine  and other organic materials to the soil, preservation of  indigenous seeds etc.

3) Some details on the farm programme – what is the reach of your farm programmes?
AIR Gulbarga   has a reach of 120 kilo meters (radius) . It covers Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Koppal, parts of Sholapur (Maharashtra) and parts of adjoining Andhra Pradesh. There are instances wherein we receive communications from Bhadrawati, Chikmagalur and other far off places. I have already mentioned about our farm broadcasts and programmes. Since eight to ten years, organic practices, principles are the major focus areas of all AIR stations of Karnataka. The experiences of those who advocate and those who practice organic farming are regularly utilized through detailed interviews. I mean to say that, there is no specific frequency or a specific programme.
For your information, Narayana Reddy had visited our studios and had given elaborate interviews on soil health conditions of Hyderabad – Karnataka area, wonder tree neem, vermicomposting  etc. His interviews are  repeated every now and then.

4) What is the feedback from farmers/others on this programme
NR is respected a lot in this area.  His views and recommendations are taken seriously especially by young, educated organic farmers. Many farmers have adopted his ideas. Definitely farmers take his words as has been seen in feedback on phone and my personal discussions with farmers and scientists of Krushi Vigyana Kendra.

5) Have you got specific feedback on content used from Narayana Reddy.
This question needs to be supported by a specific survey. Till now we have not done that. But  I am sure many farmers are involved in producing vermicompost and plant extracts.  One or  two  NGOs  are supporting preservation of indigenous seeds.

6) A larger question – do farmers get back to you saying that the information broadcasted on radio was used practically on fields. I think this is something a person associated in any type of media would be interested to know – whether information exchange is leading to desirable changes.
Definitely. Information transmitted in any format should reach the beneficiary to bring desirable changes. Without any doubt, NR’s preachings and teachings are attracting young farmers of this region. Since vermicompost is a major alternative to inorganic inputs, farmers in large numbers are adopting vermiculture, utililising their on-farm resources.  This change is taking place since 2000 as I have observed. And now after eight to ten years what has happened is that, organic and less external input agriculture is attracting young farmers who have understood the importance of nature friendly agriculture practices.  As they say, they are not afraid of decline in yields in the earlier years, but are confident that these practices would bring sustainability. Amazingly, with a signboard of most backward district , Gulbarga is one of the role models of organic agriculture  in the state…!  About five hundred plus farmers (farmer groups also) are busy producing vermicompost for their own utilization and for sales too.