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Case Study of Suresh Desaiji

Tagline- “Use the Sunlight” and practice “multi-crop ” farming



About the farmer


- Suresh Desai is a founding member of the Organic Farmers club in Belgaum district of Karnataka. The club has 400 members, the majority of whom grow crops organically and the others are in the process of shifting to organic farming. “Use the sunlight” is the motto of Suresh Desai. He has trained more than 1 lakh farmers in the art of making profit from organic farming. He actively promotes multi-crop farming.


Detailed info about agricultural practices


- Sun Natural Farming- Sunlight and air are two natural resources that are abundantly available worldwide. They are critical to agricultural yield. We receive only 1% of the energy emitted by the sun. We can employ these plentiful resources to boost crop yields. To capture the sunlight, we must plough the field north-south. In terms of sugarcane agriculture especially, sugarcane stands for approximately 12-14 months in the fields. A sugarcane contains approximately 1.2 kg of water and the remainder is water. A sugarcane should be around three times the weight of the sugar it contains, although this is a rare occurrence these days. One explanation for this is the close cropping of sugarcanes, which results in the lower leaves, which are primarily responsible for sugar production, receiving little sunlight. Thus, the primary objective is to increase the spacing between two rows of sugarcanes to approximately 8-9 feet, ensuring that the sugarcane crop receives sufficient sunshine to create sugar. Crops growing in a given location can be sown between two rows of sugarcane crops at a spacing of 8-9 feet. It will not only improve the soil's fertility, but will also raise farmers' income. Monoculture is the primary cause of sickness and reproductive loss. Diseases can be significantly decreased and crop yields increased significantly using mixed culture.


- Hortipuncture- Hortipuncture is a type of acupuncture. - It is a process that is applied to the trunks of trees. Hortipuncture - Horticulture-related to food trees, puncturing—inserting medicinal bullets into the tree trunks. It contains all necessary micronutrients. In general, food trees require approximately 16 micronutrients. The tree will obtain some nutrients from the air and some from the soil. Micronutrient deficiency results in fungal and disease attacks during flowering and fruiting. As a result, fruit falls and flowers do not bloom, or the trees become infected with fungus. To address these issues, we employ hortipuncture bullets. We reap the benefits in the form of fruits, with a yield of 20%-30% more than average. Additionally, we will receive the fruits prior to the season. Additionally, we observed a change in the taste of coconut water as a result of hortipuncture treatments, as well as a decrease in the number of coconuts dropping from the trees.


- Procedure- A hortipuncture packet containing ayurvedic bhasma and medicinal bullets is prepared. Bullets must be put 2-3 inches into the trunks. Remove soil around the tree using a shovel and spades until it reaches a depth of 3 feet and 5-6 inches. Now, take 1 kg of cow dung and mix it with 5-6 gallons of water. Additionally, dissolve the ayurveda bhasma in water and sprinkle the slurry around the tree. Farmers with a larger tree population require a plier with a nail point and a bolt. The nail tip is used to pierce the skin. Another method is to use a hammer to drive the nail into the tree after removing the hammer's head.


- Main procedure-Make a 1-2 inch hole in the fruit tree's trunk. Then, using the plier, remove the nail. Now, gently hammer the medicated bullet into the hole. Now, flip the nail and hammer on the medicated bullet to ensure that it penetrates the fruit tree to the xylem part. After removing the nail from the tree, cover the hole with cow dung or damp mud. The holes should be dug beneath the tree's branches.


How he started-journey, family, caste, village, crops, annual crop quantity


- Village- Bedhikal village, Belgaum, Karnataka

- Education- Matriculation

- Crops- Sugarcane, Turmeric and jaggery

- Start- After matriculation, Suresh Desai started taking care of the 4.5 hectares family property, sugarcane is primarily grown. Now, the area under the care and supervision of Suresh Desai has increased to about 11 hectares.

- Transition to natural farming- Sugarcane is harvested in three distinct periods. The sugarcane crop matures in around 18 months, at which point it is removed and replaced with a ratoon crop. Following harvesting, a substantial amount of rubbish remains in the field, the bulk of which is burned, while some is used as roofing material. While crop burning is beneficial for pest management, the majority of nutrients are leached off during irrigation. Sugarcane requires a large amount of water, and leaching can be a severe problem for the crop, depriving it of essential nutrients. Suresh Desai began to have second thoughts about his farming techniques (conventional agriculture, which involves the use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers) after observing degradation in his fields. Pests became increasingly destructive to crops, and the soil lost its natural fertility and structure.



Initial experiments-


Suresh Desai attributes the economic aspect of farming as the most profound reason for switching to organic farming. External input prices were increasing, and he began experimenting to effect a sea change in his domains. He believed that because organic leftovers were readily available, they might be employed to reverse the deterioration process and boost fertility.

- As a first stage, compost the wastes to create fertilisers for the crop. Advantage- decreased chemical fertiliser inputs to a certain level. Disadvantage- Composting needed a significant amount of additional work—collection, mixing, watering, carrying, and returning the material to the fields for ploughing. The next phase is to minimise work (moving organic matter back and forth), so saving time and labour.


Engagement with Taru


- Suresh Desai has been associated with Taru Naturals now for 4 years. Every year, he supplies about 500-700 kgs of grains, 250 kgs of jaggery, 40 kg and 5 kg of turmeric powder and ginger powder respectively.

- Suresh Desai is effusive in his praise for Taru Naturals. He explains that the finest aspect is Taru's consistent supply chain and paying farmers a fair price for their crops. Additionally, when farmers require assistance with technical aspects of farming, Taru is more than eager to assist them. Taru also encourages farmers to send high-quality crops by establishing strict requirements.

Income Difference after switching to organic farming - Cost of inputs was only 3,700 per hectare as compared to 15,00 per hectare for general farmers. The yield is almost the same in natural farming and chemical farming but the produce is of a greater quality in organic farming and the soil does not suffer any degradation. Net profit in organic farming exceeds that of the other farmers due to a reduction in the labour and water requirements.


Achievements


- Founding member of the Organic Farmers Club

- Suresh Desai has taught more than 1 lakh farmers the art of making profit from organic farming

- He has devised two agricultural methods: sun natural farming and hortipuncture on his own

- Runs a youtube channel by the name of “ The art of farming” where he tells about different procedures and benefits of organic farming in kannada, hindi and english


Recognition


- Shri Suresh Desai is an organic sugarcane expert from Karnataka and he is recognized by FAO and UNDP for his water efficient technology.

- Suresh Desai is among the scores of organic practitioners in the country who have shown the non-chemical way of farming to the country.

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