Candid extract of the talk with Krishnamurthy – the JF farmer of Navara Rice –
Even after facing many rejections from the farming society and lot of discouragement from family members regarding natural farming, Krishnamurthy a farmer from Lakshmapur village has fought against all odds for healthy food and healthy lifestyle. This 35 year old young farmer a student of Subhash Palekar has tremendous passion for natural farming. He says that the food which he is growing is a medicine in itself and he takes immense pride in being able to do so. According to him eating natural food is like eating a medicine and refers food from chemical farming as poison. Krishnamurthy was inspired by one of his friends who was into natural farming. Two years back in Karimnagar he attended various subhash Palekar sessions and he is into natural farming since then. This time he researched a lot and wanted to sow some unique variety and finalized to grow a very ethnic variety of rice- Navara Rice.
- The seeds which are used for this particular Navara is an ancient one, that means obviously these are the local desi seeds. The hybrid seeds looks better, and cooks well but the nutrition value of desi seeds cannot be matched.
- As you know milling is a crucial step in the post-production of rice. Important steps of milling is to remove the husk and the bran layers to produce an edible rice. Another important revelation to me during this process was that a farmer has to shell out money to the mill to only remove the husk but retain the bran (zero polish). Tavudu or the Rice Bran which adds to the nutrition is used by the mill to create Rice Bran oils / Rice Bran bars which are high fiber content and protein rich.
- Most of the farmers opt for polishing because they don’t want to spend more for retaining the bran. Now this variety of Navara which you got from Jeevamrut retains the bran too.
- Farmer shared some numbers regarding the costs and profits too. Interesting to know:
There can be 4 combinations while growing food:
- Natural Farming with hybrid seeds – yield is 5 quintals rice for half acre land
- Natural Farming with local seeds- yield is 3 quintals rice for half acre land (yield slowly increases)
- Chemical Farming with hybrid seeds – yield is 10-12 quintals of rice for same amount of land
- Chemical Farming with local seeds. This is a next-to-no scenario so lets not talk about this one in particular.
For #1 and #2, the input cost is the same mostly which is close to ₹10,000. [Details in the table below]
Overall Yield for #2 is roughly 3 Quintals of rice, half of hybrid variety generally. As the yield is more farmers prefer hybrid variety. Krishnamurthy sold his crop at ₹80/Kg and after removing his expenses from above table he is managing to have profits of ₹10000, and this is for his 3 month effort on the crop. Had it been hybrid seeds, he would have had more.
Cost (per half acre)
Procuring local seeds is the cheapest method because real farmer shares seeds. These days this practice is not followed much because of easy availability of hybrid seeds.
Ploughing – using tractor
Poultry Litter Treatment for land
This is generally done for the first time only especially has to be done if the land is converting from chemical based to natural.
Natural Fertilizers and Pesticides preparation
The 6 chakras of ZBNF
Labor for removal of weeds
Labor is mostly for weeding purposes in natural farming. Since Jeevamrut is such an elixir that even weeds grow rapidly hampering the growth of plants. Chemically removal of weeds is very cheap but those chemicals will impact the produce too.
₹2200 [overall labor charge, a labor charge for a day working on field varies from 200 – 300 rs]
Labor for harvesting
Milling (For husk removal)
Jeevamrut salutes genuinely to such farmers who resort to natural way of farming even after knowing that their yield will be less in initial years and that it is very laborious too. Thanks for all those who are motivating the farmers to grow naturally. Together with your support we will definitely make a difference in the farmers lives.
Pranita (JF Volunteer)