11 Jan Turning a new ‘Leaf’ in farming
Horticulture officials, NGOs visit fields in Agency areas
Tribal farmers of various hamlets in Chintapalli mandal were an excited lot when officials of the Horticulture Department and representatives of NGOs, supply chain companies and banks visited their fields in the Agency areas recently.
Most farmers seemed to be under the impression that more water was needed for the crops to get greater yield. Some of them were using high-water intensive vegetables as an intercrop. The vegetables being grown by the farmers are cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, onion and radish.
Commissioner of Horticulture, AP, Chiranjiv Choudhary went round the fields and interacted with the farmers along with Leaf (Lawrencedale Agro Processing India Pvt. Ltd.) CEO P. Vijayraghavan, horticulture officials and Leaf representatives.
The wish list of the farmers include connecting to the big markets in Visakhapatnam and other parts of the country, supply of good quality seed and supply of motors for drawing of water from the nearby stream. The Commissioner wondered as to why the farmers were producing rice as it requires a lot of water. The farmers replied that they grow it in small quantities for local consumption only. They are getting around 40 bags on two acres of land.
Some of the farmers have been receiving quality seeds and inputs on scientific farming methods for the past few months from the Ooty-based Leaf, an agri-value chain major. “The soil quality is good and the tribal farmers are hard working, but the returns are meagre due to unscientific farming methods. The tribal farmers here are practising only organic farming and organic products are in high demand in the market,” said an agro-scientist of Leaf.
Later, the Commissioner visited another village and found that turmeric crop, grown on two stretches of land, in close proximity, were looking different.
While the turmeric plants in one crop looked fresh with green leaves, the leaves of the plants on the other were dried up. The villagers explained that one was the traditional variety, which could be harvested once in two years, while the other was ‘roma’ variety, which would be ready for harvested in nine months.