Here is a heart draining answer a farmer gave us when asked, how important is your LAND to you?

To a common man, land is just a place where we work. But for a farmer like me, it’s much more than that.

L — Life
A — Ambition
N — Native
D — Determination

So the moment the farmer lose his land, he will lose his life, ambition, native and determination.  In short words, farmer loses everything.”

Farmers are not educated enough to understand the nature of their own soil. They only know how to raise a crop and are unaware of how to raise an effective crop. They are afraid to make any changes to their land, the kind of seeds and fertilizers they use, and to the methods of farming they prefer, due to lack of financial support and appropriate guidance.

Farmers from different villages openly accept that they are ready to implement any changes that would benefit their farm. So, it is clear that the problem does not lie with the farmers. A medium needs to be created where farmers can be educated about their farms.

We, at Save Indian Farmers (SIF), are trying to create that medium. A medium that not only educates the farmers with information services but also lets common people realize the stress and hardships faced by farmers.

Story of our farmers is one of our similar efforts to become the voice of the farmers. SIF narrates the stories of different farmers and suggests innovative methods to improve the condition of Indian agriculture.

Drumstick option with Drip irrigation

Considering the problems of farmers in Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh coordinated by Nagireddy Prabhakar Reddy, Save Indian Farmers (SIF) introduced the drought tolerant and high-yielding variety of drumsticks. As drumstick yields round the year, the crop has been embraced by the farmers of Prakasam district in  Andhra Pradesh, The cultivation is spreading as droughts become a regular feature here. Moringa is among that rare horticulture crop which begins fruiting the lengthy pod rich in calcium and other minerals is a must-be ingredient in sambhar and also used as a vegetable — within six months of planting and continues to do so for a period of eight to nine years.

Drumstick cultivation is easy, less time consuming and paying as well. Therefore, interested farmers may go in for such endeavor. Every part of drumstick is useful. Tender leaves and sticks have high amount of Protein, Carbohydrates, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Minerals. Each part is used as medicine. In addition to sticks and leaves, flowers of DS (drumstick) are valued ingredients of food which are not only tasty but nutritive too. Its juice is useful as a protection from bacterial diseases. It can be grown in variety of soils however, loamy and sandy loam soils are better suited. Sodic soils and dry conditions are quite suitable.

Climate-smart agriculture

Moringa cultivation can be mixed inter-crop with tomatoes, cowpea, okra. They can also co-exist with coconut palms, chilies, beans, pomegranate and guava.  The drumsticks farm produces 30-50 tons of drumsticks every year, which sells for 10 rupees to 50 rupees a kg in the wholesale market, fetching approximately rupees 2-4 lakh a year. Such climate-smart horticulture improvisations with minimum inputs are getting good returns and also attract farmers, journalists, agricultural graduates and agriculture experts to these farm.

“Having heard that our farmers made more than rupees 2 lakh in the first six-nine months of planting moringa, we get more than 50 visitors a day to our SIF Team and an equal number of calls from farmers, to know whether they too can replicate this experiment. Once they visit the farm, they are convinced that they too can do it.

Farmers’ Stories

Irigala Brahma Reddy, a Farmer from Venkatapuram village with his 3-acre farm has become a shining example of dry land farming at its best. He shares is another success story of growing moringa, with a sparse vegetative landscape, the sun beating at 40 degrees and the squat houses widely distributed. He has become an example of destination for the Drumsticks. In his own words he is very thankful to SIF for the education, drip and sapplings sponsorship. As of now, he has earned a profit of almost rupees of 1,000,00 and he is expecting another 1,00,000 rupees for this year even though the water levels are going down in the borewell because of drought in the area.

Another innovative farmer Chakkara Bhulpal Reddy in Prakasam district who has about 2 acres land, went with the suggestion of Save Indian farmers. In his own words, he went with drumsticks irrigation with cross cultivation with Chili and beans. As of Jan 2019 , 2000 kgs of drumsticks has produced in his 2 acres land, and got about 1,30,000 after his initial expense of 35,000 rupees. In his own words “ I survived from the loans because of SIF team educating and providing the help in getting drip irrigation, saplings for drumsticks, and constantly visiting the farm at multiple stages to provide the feedback”. Bhupal Reddy is planning to keep the drumsticks plants as long as he is getting the expected income.

Another innovative farmer that shares his story with us is, Venkateswarlu. He is very poor and was not able to decide on what to do next. He was thinking of  keeping the lands empty for this year because of his poor. He says “ I am Able to feed the family because of save Indian farmers team in this year”. I cannot imagine what would have happened to him if he has not met  the team. As of now he has got an profit of about 35,000 rupees after spending 35,000 rupees with the 2 acre land drumsticks with drip irrigation.

He said during the discussion with SIF team, “ I have lot of positive hope on farming now because of Save Indian Farmers and I have very good hope that I will be in very good situation in next 6 months and plan to keep the drum sticks as long as they last “.

Setti Vaari Srinu who is from Giddalur , Prakasam district has about 1.5 acres land went with the suggestion of Save Indian farmers. In his own words, ” i adopted drumsticks cultivation due to the sugesstion from SIF team”.  Drip was installed in his land, saplings provided by SIF Team. In six months, he was able to take the drumsticks to local market 3-4 times. He has earned 80,000 rupees of profit with the 3 harvests and is expecting at least 4 more harvests. Each time, depending on the price for drumsticks he is expects to earn at least 25000 rupees to 35000 rupees.

Narayana Reddy from Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh, has about 2 acres of land and had a tough time last year. He met with the SIF team and adopted the drumsticks cultivation for this year. As of Jan 2019, he just started taking the drumsticks to local market.

Save Indian farmers team is committed for helping the farmers in any way the farmers need, to avoid the circumstances they are in.  Many other farmers are encouraged with the success stories.

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