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SANF GREENMENS PVT LTD- Fight Agriculture Stress By Cultivating Short-Duration Crops

There are several problems plaguing Indian agriculture, which directly or indirectly, are affecting the lives of small and marginal farmers. The challenges faced by Indian farmers often go unnoticed in the entire process of extracting food and harvesting crops. The main problems faced by Indian agriculture include uncertainty in the water supply, lack of remunerative income, fragmentation of land holdings, and allied infrastructure (access to market and storage facilities).

Prevailing problems of Indian farmers:

There are several problems faced by Indian farmers which have led to their current plight, including

  1. Loss of agricultural land
  2. Lack of infrastructure in the agriculture sector
  3. Duplicate seeds
  4. Manures, fertilizers, and biocides (Indian soils have been growing crops since time immemorial with no care for replenishing, which has led to depletion and exhaustion of soils resulting in low productivity)
  5. Irrigation problems
  6. Soil erosion
  7. Agriculture marketing

Farmers can easily rise above these problems if there is the availability of water resources and irrigation facilities, availability of good seeds of standard quality, availability of good fertilizers on time (cow dung provides the best manure to the soils, which you can achieve by practicing integrated farming system, livestock crop farming in particular), availability of proper storage facilities for the products that can protect them from the atrocities of nature, availability of finance for farming activities at reasonable interest rates, availability of proper electrical equipment for farm activity, transport facility to move the product to the market and their safe storage at the market, and most importantly, a proper price that covers the production costs and gives a decent amount into the hands of the farmer.

SANF is a staunch supporter of natural farming methods which can help eliminate most of the debilitating issues that farmers are suffering from, ranging from health problems (from acute poisoning to death), to pest infestations regularly destroying crops with insects developing resistance, causing farmers to take out loans to buy an increasing number of expensive chemical pesticides. Families are at the receiving end of crippling healthcare costs, crop failure, loss of income, and debt, all directly related to pesticides. Natural farming promotes non-pesticide management techniques like using natural deterrents (such as neem and chili pepper) to manage insects, and by planting trap crops (like marigold and castor). In comparison to chemical pesticides that kill all insects, non-pesticide management works toward balancing the ecosystem so that insects exist in normal numbers (and never reach infestation levels), since there are many insects, for example, ladybugs, dragonflies, and spiders – that play an important role in nature that can benefit plants.

Within a year of using natural agricultural methods, you can see the benefits for yourself in the form of higher profits and fewer expenses, and the disappearance of various health issues. You’ll see an overall improvement in your quality of life from health to happiness to finances.

SANF has been working incessantly since our inception to spread the word that natural farming is the best way forward so that more and more farmers decide to shun chemicals.

It is equally important that farmers take the allied sectors of agriculture (cow rearing, poultry farming, goat rearing, piggery, beekeeping, etc.) and intercropping seriously, which can ensure a steady flow of income for them all year-round. The best thing to do is to practice a mixed farming system (livestock+crop) to ensure sustainable agriculture.

Intercropping:

Intercropping is basically the practice of growing two or more crops at the same time on the same piece of land with a definite row pattern, for example, growing rice + soybean in a 4:2 row ratio i.e. after every 4 rows of rice, 2 rows of soybean is sown. The main idea behind intercropping is to produce a greater yield on a given piece of land by utilizing resources that would otherwise go for a waste (due to not being utilized by a single crop). There are some factors that are needed to be taken into account for intercropping, including the soil, climate, crops, and varieties. It is especially important not to have crops competing with each other (the main crop and intercrops) for physical space, nutrients, water, and sunlight, then the entire purpose behind intercropping will be lost.

Intercropping with Melia Dubia trees:

The biggest benefit of intercropping a short duration crop in a long duration crop, say, for example in Melia Dubia (Malabar neem) is that the short duration crop will mature early and provide intermediate income to the farmers, which will help him sustain and sail through any adverse situation. Even the government has suggested farmers cultivate short-duration varieties like jowar, horsegram, cowpea, korra, red, green, and black gram in view of the drought conditions and deficient rainfall.

In Melia Dubia plantation, near about every kind of fruit and vegetable can be grown as an intercrop, starting from ash gourd, eggplant, drumstick, ginger, papaya, turmeric, mango, coconut, sugarcane, red gram, pomegranate, marigold. It is the best host, you can grow any crop in the Melia Dubia project as an intercrop, it helps other crops by increasing nitrogen content in the soil, secretes carbon, helps other roots in getting water, air, thus leading to the rapid growth of the plant.

Melia Dubia or Malabar Neem is a long duration crop that grows very tall in a short period of time. You can go for any gram crops or pulses, or legume crops as an intercrop during the first year of planting, with vegetables being the best bet.

Most profitable (short duration) crops in India:

Bajra (Millet) Cultivation- Pearl millet (Bajra) is the most widely grown type of millet. Consumption of bajra grains provides a lot of health benefits like weight reduction, preventing cancer, and useful for diabetic patients. Besides that, bajra crop residues are also used as fodder, building material, and fuel for cooking. It is used in the preparations of roti and baking products like bread, muffins, and used as a high-protein ingredient in the feed of cattle.

The total cost of 1-acre pearl Millet farming

  • Cost of seed material – Rs 350
  • Cost of land preparation- Rs 1000
  • Cost of sowing – Rs 700
  • Cost of weeding- Rs 1200
  • Cost of plant protection- Rs 1650
  • Fertilizer cost- Rs 2180
  • Cost of miscellaneous activities- Rs 1600
  • Cost of harvesting and threshing – Rs 600 + Rs 500
  • Cost of transportation – Rs 500

The total cost of 1-acre pearl millet farming is amounting to Rs 10280 + Rs 1028 (an extra 10 percent of total cost), which is equal to Rs 11308.

So, in the cultivation of one-acre pearl millet, you need to spend around Rs 11308 on the various aspects of farming. The average yield in one acre is 14 quintals with the minimum support price for Pearl Millet being Rs 2000, leading to the gross income of Rs 28000. So, the net profit from one care Pearl millet farming is amounting to Rs 16692 (Rs 28000- Rs 11308). Net profits might vary little depending on factors like variety used, the incidence of pest and disease, fluctuation in market price, etc.

Wheat Cultivation- Wheat is the most important cereal crop that can be used as feed, seed, and food.

The total cost of one acre Wheat farming

  • Cost of seed material – Rs 1200+ Rs 200 (Rs 200 is the cost of chemical for seed treatment)
  • Cost of land preparation- Rs 1200
  • Cost of sowing- Rs 600
  • Cost of weeding – Rs 800
  • Cost of Plant protection – Rs 1500
  • Fertilizer cost – Rs 2200
  • Cost of miscellaneous activities – Rs 1900
  • Cost of harvesting and threshing – Rs 700 + Rs 500
  • Cost of transportation – Rs 300

So, the total cost of one acre Wheat farming is amounting to Rs 11100 + Rs 1110 (an extra 10 percent of total cost), which is equal to Rs 12210. If you are thinking about cultivating wheat, you’ll have to incur Rs 12210 to cultivate a one-acre wheat crop.

The average yield in one acre is 15 quintals of wheat with the minimum support price for Wheat being Rs 1840, leading to the gross income of Rs 27600. So, the net profit from one care Wheat farming is amounting to Rs 15390 (Rs 27600- Rs 12210). There might be little fluctuations in net income depending on factors like variety used, the incidence of pest and disease, fluctuation in market price, etc.

Pulses- India is a force to reckon with in the global pulses marketplace. The country has the world’s largest area under pulses — 27-29 million hectares in two seasons — and is the world’s largest producer — 22-24 million tonnes. However, at about 800 kg per hectare, yields are not up to the mark by world standards.

Intercropping of pulses is the best approach to increase the production of pulses. Besides increasing the total productivity of the system, pulses play an important role in economizing the use of resources.

On average, the yield per acre is 300 to 350 kg and it can fetch an income of around Rs. 18,000 to Rs. 20,000 per acre.

# short-duration crops as intercrops

# pulse as an intercrop with Melia Dubia trees

# wheat as an intercrop with Melia Dubia trees

# millet cultivation in Melia Dubia plantation

# high profits with intercropping

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