MANGALURU: Where there’s a will there’s a way. Odduru Farm at Ganji Mutt in Bantwal Taluk, located nearly 25 km away from Mangaluru, is a classic example of this. A once barren land where one could only find laterite rocks is now home to lush greenery, all thanks to the sheer determination and perseverance of a progressive farmer Ulepadyguttu Rajesh Naik. When Bantwal taluk was declared a grey area owing to deficient water, Naik decided to do the unthinkable and turned his 120-acre arid land lush green through organic farming.
A BSc graduate, Naik (58) had never hankered after a routine job. He had his interests deep-rooted in agriculture. His family had a large patch of land, but it was never cultivated as it was situated on a plate of laterite stone. The barren land and lack of water, however, failed to dry out his enthusiasm. He used the laterite plate for cutting out stones for construction, and soon water started oozing from the bottom of the plate. A water tank was thus formed. He has two such large tanks today that never go dry.
The bigger challenge was to transform the barren land into thriving farm land, which took Rajesh to several places in search of models. But none impressed him. Finally, in 1986, he decided to go with his own model of a fully developed organic farm on a dry patch of 120 acres. “It has not been an easy journey. Organic fertilisers enrich soil slowly, but my patience and perseverance paid off finally,” says Rajesh.
On his 120 acres of land, he now grows arecanut, coconut, banana, cashew, different types of vegetables, pepper and fruits among others by using organic manure. The farm has as many as 10,000 arecanut and 1,500 coconut trees. Two artificial lakes, 50-ft deep at the centre, provide water to the entire land. His land has yielded great results and products.
Over 650 litres of milk are also produced at his farmland. The bio-gas slurry produced by over 180 cows, is used for plantation of coconut, arecanut, vegetable plants among others. He also generates electricity from bio-gas, which almost meets his requirement of power. Naik’s multi-farming activities can provide an idea or two to those, who always complain against less income by agriculture.
“Small land holders must always opt for multi-crop plantation. Loss is inevitable in case of single-crop farming in times of erratic monsoons. With technological advancement and organic solutions, it is not difficult to earn profits,” said Naik.