Progressive farmer shows the way

Progressive farmer shows the way
Highlights

A small and marginal farmer here has become the talk of the town by raising banana plantation on his 1.5-acre leased plot and adopting scientific farming methods that help reduce costs of cultivation.

Pithapuram: A small and marginal farmer here has become the talk of the town by raising banana plantation on his 1.5-acre leased plot and adopting scientific farming methods that help reduce costs of cultivation. Naturally, his gradually soaring profits are making news. By selling bananas, including unripe ones harvested from half of the irrigated area, he has already earned Rs 80,000 and prospects of further earnings are good.

The farmer in question is Pulapa Acchibabu of Kolanka village. He brought banana vegetable variety seed, purified using A 40 solution, from Nagaram. He even supplied the same to fellow farmers. The seed is free from pest attacks. He is not experimenting with other seeds as the ones he has are of high quality.

Acchibabu practices mulching rather naturally, considering mulching sheets are very costly. He uses hay and other harvested crop wastesto cover the earth to retain its moisture. Mulching helps control growth of weeds. He says that dried leaves of coconut and oil palm trees can be used to cover the soil for mulching purpose. This has reduced labour charges towards de-weeding the plantation.

Hay used for mulching purposes rots and then becomes compost, enriching soil nutrients. As a result, the number of earthworms near the roots loosen the soil, cutting expenditure on fertilizer application. The application of urea has come down to just two bags an acre as against the eight applied in the first year of raising the plantation. Neem powder supplied to farmers on subsidy is helping them to cut down on pesticide costs. The banana bunches are strong and the colour of the bananas is appealing.

He says that he planted banana shoots developed on his own,thus reducing the cost of banana seeds. He incurred Rs 15,000 towards input costs. Currently, he is selling each banana bunch at Rs 350. He is confident of earning another Rs 80,000. Agriculture officer Sujata said hay, banana leaves, coconut residue, oil palm, papaya, coco leaves can be used for natural mulching. This will reduce fertilizer costs.

By Saride Nageswara Rao

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