When we tried to creat awareness about the demerits of slash and burn cultivation (podu), we encouraged a farmer Mr.Sankar Hobika from the village Jogipalur in Odisha’s Koraput dist., to co-operate for a new way of farming as a demo project. The practice of abandoning cultivable land after 3 years of use and developing a new forest strip for cultivation is a traditional practice. Valuable green cover is thus lost in the hills. The farmers shift to a new strip because of lowering yield. In the tribal upland belt, there is very little use of manure as we observed and consequently no or little of nutrient infusion.
The new farming practice is thus – the field is covered in mulch and they have to till at planting stations alone. With OSF’s financial support he cultivated corn in a piece of land on a test basis. He sourced straw for mulching from another village. That land was a regular yielding land, but by using this new system of farming he received comparatively more yield with less work. He understood the productive use of mulching in farming for the first time.
He had paddy cultivation in another land. So, when he recognized the value of mulching, he used the residue from the paddy by preserving the straw instead of burning them. Also, he has done a compost tank at his field; instead of burning the residue or dumping it he utilizes it to make manure.
Corn was thus raised as summer crop with the new method and he is very much happy.
Fellow farmers from nearby village are coming to see the new system of agriculture at Sankar Hobika’s field.