HYDERABAD: The concept of organic farming may be alien to parts of Telangana, but Hyderabad-based farmer Subrahmanyam Raju is changing the status quo one seed at a time. An expert at converting alkaline lands into fully fertile ones, Raju provides guidance to farmers in all matters pertaining to organic farming and has helped many make the switch to sustainable farming methods. He has successfully carried out experiments of growing crops in alkaline lands at Vikarabad, Raichur and Nellore. Alkaline lands are not exactly conducive to agriculture production due to their low infiltration properties.
This leads to rainwater stagnation, which in turn, makes cultivation difficult. But this has not been a deterrent for Raju, who works extensively with such soils. The 60-year-old hails from an agricultural family residing in a village of West Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. Raju was acclimatised to the traditional agricultural practices when he was a kid and these methods eventually helped him turn 150 acres of alkaline soil into high-yielding organic farms. Raju was trained in organic and ecological engineering practices at the National Institute of Plant Health Management, Hyderabad.
“I have performed many experiments and introduced new methods for plant nutrition and treatment in alkaline, acidic and saline soils. Pest management with homeopathy, leaf decoctions, use of silica and micro-organisms in paddy with barnyard (millet) are done to control weeds in organic fields,” he said. He pointed out that many farmers were unhappy with their alkaline lands. “I am creating awareness among farmers about land conservation and environmental protection and the means to convert such soil into fertile lands,” Raju said. Raju’s unique methods have yielded good results especially in sugarcane. At Gingurthy, Momminipeta, Kamareddy and Bodhan, tonnes of sugarcane are being grown organically.