CHENNAI: Well-heeled health conscious consumers, worried by the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides during cultivation, are gradually switching over to organic products. Since they fetch a good price, a section of farmers have taken up Samba cultivation with high organic manure content. While such fertilizers have a high organic ratio as compared to chemical fertilizers, there are some farmers who use only organic fertilizers.
Speaking to Express, Rajendiran, an organic farmer of Nagai district says, “Most of us have become conscious about the ill-effects of excessive use of chemicals in farming. Considering the health of consumers and in a bid to inflate the nutrient level of soil, farmers are now turning to organic manure.”
Earlier, farmers used chemical fertilizers such as di-ammonium phosphate and potash. Now, they include organic compost and cattle manure along with chemical fertilizers for cultivation.
Ingredients of the organic fertilisers include sour buttermilk, Panchagavya concoction made of cow-derived products - dung, urine, milk, ghee and curd - and Amutha Karaisal (mixture of cow dung, cow urine and jaggery. Organic and chemical fertilizers are together used in the ratio of 20:80.
Another section of farmers uses organic manure alone. Their total acreage has reportedly gone up by as much as 50 per cent across the delta districts.
Panneerselvam, Joint Director of Agriculture, agrees that organic farming has of late been gaining momentum among farmers here because of rising consumer awareness.
There is no subsidy for organic farming as of now though, he adds.
According to officials, of the target of 1.08 lakh hectares set for paddy cultivation under Samba and Thalady across eight taluks of Nagapattinam district, 28,200 hectares have already undergone paddy cultivation in about six blocks in Vennar division of the district under direct sowing method till the first week of September. With copious water being continuously discharged from the Mettur dam, officials are optimistic for a bumper Samba crop.
Along with organic farming, farmers are also turning to direct sowing, with officials expecting as many as 58,000 hectares of paddy cultivation under this methodology. This requires substantially less quantum of water than the transplantation method.