Chittoor farmer strikes gold with natural farming

Natural farming, though a much-talked about, but practically a non-starter to many farmers in Chittoor district, remains the lifeline of Jagadeesh Reddy (40) of Danduvaripalle village of Bangarupalem mandal.

A polytechnic drop-out, he found himself tilling the land like most farmers, dumping chemicals and fertilizers indiscriminately on the soil and raining fungicides on the crops. After several years of farming, Mr. Jagadeesh realised that “producing food with chemicals is a sin against humanity.” He took a vow never to dabble with fertilizers, but to make natural manure himself. After five years, his 40-acre land near Moghili ghat is thriving with bumper yield.

After meeting Subash Palekar, who authored Zero Budget Natural Farming concepts, in Tirupati in 2012, Mr. Jagadeesh bought two desi cows. In the initial months, it was a gruelling job — preparing the “jeevamurtham” (cow dung mixed with water) and applying it on the tilled land; and preparing fungicides and insecticides with neem leaves, jaggery and cow-dung. It started with low yields amid uncertainty, coupled with…

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