Saturday, February 20, 2016

NEWS : City women taking to organic farming in a big way

| Feb 20, 2016, 03.30 AM IST

Nagpur: She always had an inclination for farming. But, being a chartered accountant, she never had a chance to take it up until she gave up her job and decided to finally give it a try. Ashwini Aurangabadkar has taken to full time organic farming since 2011 and cultivates almost all cereals, a variety of pulses, linseed, vegetables and fruits like orange, custard apple etc.

Ashwini is not alone. There are a number of city women who have taken up full-time organic farming. Some of them who couldn't get into farming are even doing organic terrace kitchen gardening. All have something common.

They are part of the Nagpur Seed Festival Group which has members who are completely into organic cultivation and opposed to chemical farming and naturally also other modern technologies like the genetically modified (GM) farming. The group from the last four years has been regularly holding a seed festival to create awareness in masses about preservation of indigenous varieties in various crops.

TOI spoke to some of the women farmers on the first day of the Beejotsav being held at the Vinoba Vichar Kendra on Friday.

"After entering the field, I realized that agriculture by itself was a difficult task and especially organic. I wouldn't find workers who would listen to my instructions. But I never gave up. I read on line. I attended Padma Shri Subhash Palekar's workshops, consulted experts like Vasant Futane. But now I have enough animals also to generate farmyard manure, vermicompost and other components of organic farming like use of gomutra, cow dung and neem-based pesticides etc. Farming has become a passion now," said Ashwini.

Shyamla Sanyal, another dedicated organic farmer from the city, has been into serious agriculture from the past six years. She has a farm about 50km from Nagpur on Chhindwara Road.

"I wanted to cultivate variety of crops only for my own consumption and not buy anything from market. I had met Dinesh Balsawar, who is into organic rice farming in Lonavala, in 1993. But after beginning with a kitchen garden six years back now I am into full time farming. I grow wheat, gram, mung, tur, onions, garlic, mustard, turmeric, fennel, sesame, vegetables and fruits etc. It was trial and error. But now I know which crops are good for my soil conditions," said Sanyal.

Prachi Mahurkar, who got associated with Beejotsav since last two years, has a farm in Maragsur village near Katol. She grows bajra, mung, maize, ambadi. She left her IT sector job and is a member of Pune based 'Ecological Society'.

"My perspective to life and farming changed after joining this society. It has taught me to take holistic approach in agriculture too and hence along with crops I also have forest trees like hirda, bheda and amla in my field," said Mahurkar.

Kirti Mangrulkar left her teaching job in computer science and is also into organic farming since two years. She believes in preserving indigenous varieties and grows desi cotton, ambadi, bajra, jowar and vegetables. "I was impressed by Futane's work and took up farming only because of him," she said.

Seema Kaushal, Supriya Deo and Rupinder Nanda are the others who are doing kitchen gardening and are associated with seed festival group. Kaushal tells that since she was a science graduate she understood the cultivation methods in terrace farming easily. She does vermicomposting, composting, Bokashi (anaerobic composting) in her Friend's Colony house and grows vegetables.
Deo now has joined the seed festival group but was initially inspired by Organic Terrace Gardening Group (OTG) of Bengaluru and Urban Leaves of Mumbai. She watches a lot of videos on You Tube. Nanda is a member of Urban farmers and the Nagpur Organic farmers group on Facebook. She too took up kitchen cultivation impressed by OTG.


No comments:

Post a Comment