HYDERABAD: How long will it take for a person to transform a barren land, filled with rocks and waste, into a lush green sight to behold? Probably several months, or in some cases, years. But for Nagarathnam Naidu, with sheer determination, it did not take him much time to change the fate of a ‘waste land’.
The 66-year-old farmer has converted, not just one or two, but 17 acres of barren land at Taramatipet village near Abdullapurmet into a serene green patch.
He bought this rocky terrain in 1990. Soon afterwards, he brought in earthmovers to dig and remove the rocks. The land apparently had enough rocks to fill 500 lorry loads. Born in Chittoor, Naidu moved to Dilsukhnagar in 1989 and took up farming with the help of his wife.
As he did not want to cultivate only a single crop in the huge space, Naidu adopted mixed farming and it turned out to be profitable for him in some years. He was one of the few farmers to have adopted the method, back then.
Of the total 17 acres, Naidu uses four acres to grow fodder for his animals, five to six acres for fruits, three acres for vegetables and the remaining for other crops.
He also uses System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a farming technique aimed to increase rice yield, and cultivates paddy using two kg seed and 50 per cent water. Nagarathnam Naidu says that he grows 30 varieties of mango, six varieties of banana, guavas, pomegranate, sapota, coconut, dragon fruit, papaya and several other fruits.
“My farm has all kinds of plantations like coffee, millets, spices, wheat, turmeric and medicinal plants,” a very proud Naidu adds.
This apart, the ryot also educates thousands of students on the importance of farming. Several famous scientists in the country visit his field once in a while to learn the farming techniques Naidu has adopted. Awareness has to be created among students about farming so that they realise and understand the hard work a farmer does to provide us essentials, he points out.
For his efforts and initiatives in the field of farming, Naidu has so far received over 350 awards and several cash prizes from institutes such as the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).