Thursday, May 24, 2007

A seed farm’s success story

Statesman News Service
MEMARI, May 16: An NGO and an officer with the district seed farm have succeeded in their experiment to prevent the gradual decrease in fertility of agricultural fields in Burdwan villages. It will reduce to a large extent the extensive use of chemical fertilizer and multiply average productivity.
For long, the district agricultural authority has been expressing concern over the drastic decrease in fertility of the farmlands due to the widespread use of chemical fertilizer.
The ADO, Burdwan, Mr Manas Mukherjee, said: “We have been indulging in use of manure and organic fertilizer, instead of chemical fertilizer, for some time to enrich the fields and improve yields.”
The Sankalpa People’s Development Society, an NGO operating in the villages of Memari block in the eastern part of Burdwan, undertook a comprehensive development programme, leading to a positive change in the lifestyle and professional design of the farmer families in such villages as Kathalia, Sridharpur, Satgachia, and Balia.
The hazardous components in chemical fertilizer such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphate are said to be harming the fields.
The joint effort of the NGO and officials of the district agricultural farmhouse has reduced nitrogen and phosphate up to 30 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, while cultivating 77 bigha of land scattered in these villages.
Mr Mukherjee said: “Organic fertilizer and manure utilise bacteria synthesis. The cultivation cost has reduced by Rs 365 a bigha, with the removal of chemical fertilizer and reduction in pesticide use.” The yield, according to farmers Jatindramohan Sil of Satgachia and Nausar Ali of Sridharpur, “has increased by about seven to eight times a bigha with the new cultivation method.”
The seed quality has improved and so has its resistance power to fight diseases. The experiments were done on Boro paddy seeds of IR-64 and Ratna brand.
The yield per bigha used to be 880 kg on an average. It is now 1,160 kg per bigha.


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