Monday, May 7, 2012

Soil type and climate essential for organic farming

A workshop on organic farming was organised recently by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) at the Arul Anandar College here in which the findings of a three-year project on the sector was presented.
Under Farm Innovation Promotion Fund (FIPF), NABARD had commissioned a project on the efficacy of organic farming methods on certain crops through an organic farmer, S. Mannar Mannan from the Model Integrated Organic Farm and Training Centre.
R. Shankar Narayan, NABARD Assistant General Manager, said that the objective was to guide farmers on the appropriate methods of organic farming and “hand hold” them towards organic certification and thereby ensure recognition for their efforts.
Delivering the inaugural address, he said that the project's aim was to facilitate a conscious shift towards organic methods of cultivation by imparting a series of trainings and demonstrations.
Farmer should be armed with all the data such as input cost vis-à-vis returns before he embarks on organic farming for particular crops.
Agronomy studies taken up
The project also took up agronomy studies and field trials of selected popular crops in order to document the efficacy or otherwise of organic methods on these crops. Another variable taken up for closer look was the verification of effectiveness of commonly used organic inputs.
The study, he said, concluded that the soil type was a critical variable for deciding on the crop and desired productivity and as such, farmers should get their soil tested to find out the appropriate crop.
Mr. Shankar Narayan also released a booklet containing the findings of the project and handed over the first copy to Dr. C. Udaya Kumar, in-charge of KVK, Gandhigram University, Dindigul.
Over 12 training programmes were held on various related topics during the current project.
The project proponent, Mr. .Mannar Mannan, explained that the research was done with a farmer's perspective of organic farming and the dependability of income from organic farming.
S. Mayalagu, a soil scientist who independently analysed the findings, was of the view that results from organic farming varied with soil type and climate.
Dr. Maruthamalai Murugan another independent expert who studied the findings also felt that farmers should move towards soil-based farming so that maximum returns can be ensured.
The workshop was attended by over 60 farmers including practicing organic farmers.
Xavier Vedam, Principal, Arul Anandar College also addressed the gathering.

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