Nagarkurnool: The Dalit farmers of Eedulabavi and Ongurnipally villages of Amrabad mandal had an unexpected visitor on Thursday. Dr Padmaiah, the uninvited guest, former Director of Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research (IIOR), had brought with him agricultural implements such as power weeders, power sprayers, hand sprayers and castor seeds, came as the representative of Indian Council for Agricultural Research, had come to distribute the implements and seeds to the Dalit farmers under the SC sub-plan.
It was not a grand meeting under shaamiyanas and there were no chairs or loud speakers either. The ceremony was quiet and simple, held at the Anganwadi Centre of the Onguronipally village. The idea was not only to support Dalit farmers, but also to educate them about how utilising technological advancements in agriculture, combined with traditional farming methods could enable the farmers to reap rich yields.
Dr Padmaiah, a man without retirement, spoke elaborately about the necessity to go for inter-cultivation of crops, cultivation of millets and oilseeds like castor, sesame and other oilseeds. Addressing the farmers, he said that as Dalit farmers didn’t own cattle in these villages, power weeders could be greatly useful, as a farmer could perform weeding in 20 acres with them in one day.
Observing that the soils of the villages (sandy loam) were not suitable for cotton cultivation, he suggested the farmers to go for millets and other rainfed crops for which the sands were more suitable. “Cotton in these soils doesn’t yield much and spraying fertilizers to cotton would only cause further deterioration of soil’s health,” he said.
He said that using rotovator to incorporate stubble into the soil could improve the soil health and felt that the farmers needed to setup their own vermin-compost units, so that it could be used in the farmers’ lands.
He also mentioned about ‘Anantha Rudhira,’ a new Tamarind variety which was developed, the fruit of which, was more reddish and could act as a life-saver, if farmers in the village planted them in their agricultural lands.
“Tamarind tree has a lifespan of 200 years and it can serve five generations of people financially and could also add to the production of oxygen. They don’t even consume much water. Tamarind is selling for Rs 200 per kg and brown top millet (andu korralu) is selling for Rs 300 per kg,” he said. He also encouraged the farmers to grow fruits like dragon fruit.
He stressed on the need to test borewell water for salt content and also to use percolation tanks to store surface water and mix them with borewell water, so that sodium content could be brought down, which was good for crops.
He also gave some tips to the farmers about how to prevent wild boars, peacocks, monkeys and rats from destroying their crops, giving very simple methods tried and successfully tested by farmers from various parts of India.
This was not the first time he has helped farmers from remote villages across Telangana receive the benefits from SC Sub-plan. He has been tirelessly working in Adilabad, Ranga Reddy, Nizamabad and other districts to ensure farmers got benefited from the Central government’s scheme, though he has retired from service after receiving even national awards for his selfless service to the farming community. Even in 2011-12, he had distributed agricultural implements, sprinkler systems and other inputs to tribal farmers of Amrabad mandal to the tune of Rs 2.5 Crore. On Thursday, the SC sub-plan benefits he distributed amounted to Rs 3.5 lakh.
“This year, the Centre has decided to rope-in ICAR which has around eight institutions under it in Telangana, which conduct research in their respective areas, so that the benefits of that research could be extended to the farming community. So please use this to develop technologically and financially,” he told the Dalit farmers.