Chinthala Venkat Reddy had first made conventional farmers raise their eyebrows, more than a decade ago, when he came up with the idea for efficient soil management, by replacing the topsoil with soil from a depth of four feet to restore soil fertility while cultivating paddy. This soil management technique, which he got patented, was followed by a similar technique to keep away pests as well.
The technique soon caught the fancy of many, with Reddy’s phone beginning to ring non-stop as farmers from across the State and beyond began taking tips from him.
What he told them was quite simple. “Dig out the subsoil, dry it, then mix with water before letting it settle down. And then, using regular farm spraying techniques, spray the solution in your farm.”
The move, the man who has made Alwal hit headlines again says, has a three-fold impact. One was that pests and insects, which breathe through their skin, found it impossible to breathe because of the soil solution that covered them. And for those that were planning to attack the plants, the soil solution was a cover that they couldn’t pierce through. The third was that the plants absorbed all the nutrients in the subsoil and used them to flourish.
What began with grapes went on to be applied for vegetables, paddy and wheat too, according to Reddy who has been repeating the technique, year after year, with success at his farm at Kundanpally near Keesara.
Reddy, who has been supported and encouraged by agencies and institutes including the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the State Agricultural University, is using WhatsApp to make the technique popular so that all farmers benefit from it.
He is part of several WhatsApp groups, like ‘Support Organic Farming’, ‘Prakruthi Vyavasaya Darula Sangham’ and ‘Nature’s Voice’ to ‘Rythu Nestham’ and other zero budget natural farming groups, where the technique is being discussed widely, with many calling or messaging him for tips.
The Padma Shri glow evident on his face, Chinthala Venkat Reddy has not stopped doing what he likes in his farm. Innovation could have been his second name. “I’m now focussing on getting highly nutritious varieties of rice and wheat in natural ways, without using any artificial ways. The patent is on its way,” says Reddy.
Born in a family of farmers in Alwal, Reddy’s farms are lessons in cultivation of grapes, rice, wheat and vegetables. The Padma has just brought in more fans, with whom he passionately talks about better management of diseases, pest attacks, soil nutrition, pruning, training of young grape plants, drip irrigation and so on.
The man is particular about one thing. He tries what he thinks might work on his own farm first, makes sure it’s a success, and only then does he tell other farmers to try it out. No hollow advice. The record yield of 105 tonnes/hectare of Anab-E-Shahi seeded grapes and 84 tonnes per hectare Thompson seedless variety grapes in his farm at Kundanpally are proof.