Published Jan 1, 2001
Wardha has been declared as one of the distressed districts in the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra. The economy of Wardha district is prominently based on agro-based livelihoods mainly agriculture. Today, farmers face the problems of low productivity, high cost of production, crop failure due to adverse climatic condition, attack of disease and pest, damage caused by wild animals.
The farmers themselves pointed out the reasons behind the adverse agrarian scenario as higher doses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and cultivating single crop every year. To tackle the distress conditions, The Bajaj Foundation rolled out a strategy called Subhash Palekar Natural Farming (SPNF) to promote climate-resilient cropping pattern. Subhash Palekar is an agricultural scientist, farmer and author who invented Zero Budget Natural Farming. SPNF is a system where the laws of nature are applied to agricultural practices to produce healthy food, to keep ourselves and our land healthy. The ancient system of natural farming is more suited for farming because of its easy adaptability and cost-effectiveness. Natural farming supports to maintain, prosper and sustain farm ecosystem.
The four pillars of SPNF are - application of Bijamrit, application of Jiwamrit, Mulching and creating a condition of Wafasa. Bijamrit is effective in protecting young roots from fungus as well as from soil-borne and seed-borne diseases that commonly affect plants after the monsoon period. Jiwamrit provides nutrients, but most importantly, acts as a catalytic agent that promotes the activity of beneficial microorganisms in the soil. Mulching provides a necessary microclimate for the growth of microbes. It also creates Wafasa which retains the required moisture level for proper growth of plants. Natural farming reduces the cost of inputs as these formulations are prepared by using dung, urine of an indigenous cow, jaggery, pulses flour and leaves of bitter plants available in the vicinity of the farm.
Process followed: -
Foundation had been guiding and motivating farmers by adopting various capacity building measures like village meeting, demonstration of SPNF techniques (Jiwamrit, Ghanjiwamrit, Dashparni arka, Agniashtra etc,) training and field exposures at different stages of crop growth. Besides that, demonstration plots were maintained in each village to make the farmers understand the adoption of proper technique relevant to particular crop conditions. The demonstration of intercropping and mixed cropping models helped to clarify the doubts of the farmers and increased its adoption as the farmers visualized its benefit mitigating climate change effect.
Achievement and Impact: -
Sustainable Agriculture Development Programme:
|Farming input cost reduced||No. of Farmers Benefited||Area benefitted (Acres)|