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MP farms wonder: Age-old technique to stem crop failure, farmers' suicide

  • DNA
  • Apr 04, 2013, 05:50 AM IST
MP farms wonder: Age-old technique to stem crop failure, farmers' suicide, bhopal news in English

bhopal news in English

Hoshangabad/ Bhopal: A traditional method of cultivation known as Utera cropping has been successfully practiced by farmers of Dhadaw Village in Hoshangabad district, and now there is a view that it should be replicated by farmers across India to ensure better harvests and crop productivity.
Last month, a study published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) revealed that government extension services to monitor pesticide usage has failed to reach farmers. 
Farmers say they are often left with no option but to depend on pesticide dealers for advice. They also complain of recommendations from agriculture universities not reaching them, and they end up using pesticides, some of which are toxic. The answer to these problems is now being provided by the villagers of Dhadaw, at the foothills of Datla mountain of Satpura valley in the Hoshangabad district. In Utera cropping, six to seven types of crops are sown simultaneously. 
For example, seeds of Urad, Jawar, Paddy, Tilli, Tuar, Sama and Kodo are mixed and then sown collectively. Sown in June , the crop is harvested at different times - Urad is harvested first, followed by Paddy, Jawar and Tuar. Kutki is the first one to be ready for harvest. Sixty-year old farmer Ganpat, busy harvesting the crop with his hansiya (reaping hook), shares his experience on this.
"There is none or very less money required for Utera farming. With the combination of our hard work, labour of bullocks and some help from the monsoon, our crops get ready for harvesting. Every year, we save some seeds for the following season, saving the cost of buying seeds. 
The bullocks also give us fertilizers which, in turn, nourish our soil."
Farmers believe that if one crop fails in Utera, other crops compensate for it, a sharp contrast to cash crops, where farmers suffer intensely if the crop is destroyed by insects or pests, or even by the brutality of nature. 
In 2011, Soybean crops were completely destroyed and three farmers committed suicide in the Hoshangabad District. Mixed and Utera cropping are testified agricultural practices which offer hope for a better future in agriculture.


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