Big Profit from a Small Tract of Dry Land – B.S. Satish Kumar

73-year-old farmer innovatively uses Krishi Bhagya scheme to store rainwater in farm pond and double yield

At a time when growers with large tracts of wetland are finding it difficult to turn farming into a profitable venture, this veteran farmer has demonstrated that it is possible to earn returns even from small tracts of dry land. He has earned Rs. 2 lakh by growing the seasonal jamun plants on just half an acre of barren land.

The 73-year-old N.C. Patel, who is credited with popularising white grapes and Mallika variety of mangoes in Karnataka, has now taken the lead in showing that dry-land farming too can be profitable if farmers are innovative.What has come to his aid is the flagship Krishi Bhagya scheme, which focuses on creating a farm pond to store rainwater for usage during the summer months.

Mr. Patel has grown about 50 jamun plants on a half-acre land. Planted in 2005, these varieties were yielding a little over one tonne a year under the rain-fed farming method. Despite being a well-to-do farmer, he was forced to take up dry-land farming on this tract of land owing to severe water shortage. The borewell on the farm has almost dried up with its yield reducing to less than half an inch.However, the farmer enrolled himself for the Krishi Bhagya scheme last year and created a farm pond with a dimension of 11×11 metre and a depth of about 5 m. While rainwater gets collected in the pond, which has a lining of polythene sheet to ensure that the water does not get drained out, he also pumps in whatever little water he gets from the borewell into this pond. The storage in this small pond is used to take care of the water requirements of plants for about 45 days during the crucial summer season. “This water is just enough to water plants four times over a duration of 45 days from March 15, which also marks the peak summer season. This helps improve the quality of fruits, besides increasing the quantum of yield,” he says.

“My yield touched about two tonnes a year and my income from these plants doubled from the earlier Rs. 1 lakh,” he says. People from various parts of Bengaluru visit his farm to buy fresh jamun fruits. He says Krishi Bhagya scheme can serve as a game-changer for dry-land farmers if used creatively.

Processing unitMr. Patel now plans to set up a jamun processing unit as that will not only increase his income further, but also give the produce more shelf life.

The Hindu, August 14, 2016. India