Jadcherla: Lakshmana Sarma, a castor farmer of Ayyavaripalle of Midgil mandal in Mahabubnagar district, reaped six to eight tons of the crop compared four tons by others by spending only Rs 500 and applying organic fertilisers to castor crop raised in his two-and-half acre farm. He is hopeful of reaping at least 20 quintals of castor seeds at the end of the season.
Vexed with not getting enough returns from his 30-acre land from conventional methods, during the past three decades, he switched over to natural farming to cut costs drastically.
Initially Sarma experimented with SRI variety of paddy and tasted success. Later, he raised castor crop, which is on the verge of disappearing from the district.
Castor crop had dwindled because of environmental changes and the crop yield was reduced drastically because of depletion of soil nutrients. He then procured Palem Hybrid Castor EI-111 seeds after consultation with Palem regional research station scientists and raised the crop in his two and half acre plot by sourcing water from the bore well.
To ensure judicious utilisation of water, Sarma used rain gun. He prepared vermicompost in his farm and applied it along with neem decoction, solid and liquid jeevamrutam.
Agriculture department officials have predicted good price for the organically cultivated castor oil in the market. Government has allotted funds exclusively for vermicompost units to enable farmers cut costs and earn profits. More and more farmers are taking up natural farming methods because of its many such benefits.