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15 Nov 2018, Edition - 1220, Thursday

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Coimbatore

At 63, this farmer pioneers viable organic farming in Villupuram

Susmitha Suresh

Coimbatore : At 63, Radhakrishnan from Kandanamandi village in Villupuram has a good harvest from his organic farm. He stands out from several other farmers who claim they do not get much profit from organic farming and the yield is always less.

“I get good profit from it and also good yield,” Radhakrishnan told The Covai Post. Organic farming is a sustainable method of that does not cause harm to the soil and environment. The produce from organic farming is chemical free and healthier and natural than produce from normal farming, he adds.Radhakrishnan has been farming successfully for the last 16 years and has been a pioneer in organic farming. He uses natural pesticides and fertilisers to maintain his farm and also trains others.

On why he quit using chemical pesticides and turned to organic farming, his answer is his own experiences. In 1987 at the age of 30, chemicals from the pesticide spread throughout his body from a wound on his foot. He could not do anything for a short time, not even speak. Neighbours took him to a hospital, but the doctors found it hard to give him the right medicine as they did not know which pesticide was used.

He tried hard to recollect and succeeded in writing it down for the doctors who swiftly provided him with antidotes His life was spared, after which he stopped using strong chemical pesticides.

From 1989 to 2002, he used urea as a base for fertilisers, but stopped using pesticides. Although this meant that insects attacked his crops, it had no direct impact on his yield. But in 2002, he completely switched over to organic farming.

“I was always interested in natural farming, but I didn’t know anything about it. In 2002, I received training from Dr Vijayalakshmi and Dr Nirmala in Madurai. Since then, I have only employed organic farming,” said Radhakrishnan.

“I put good insects in the farm. They are helpful to the farm, keep the bad insects away, and increases fertility of the soil as well,” he explained. In the first two years, he faced failures. It took him time to understand how organic farming really worked. But now, he is a pioneer in the field, proving that organic farming can be profitable.

On a total 12 acres, he says he cultivates paddy and other multigrains on 10 and millets in the rest. He added that he used integrated farming system to make it more sustainable. Compared to other farmers in the vicinity, he spend much less, often half of what they spend. But at the same time, his yield fetched him a higher price as well.

“Our produce is directly sold to the customers,” he said, “We are associated with a company that takes our product directly to the customer.” Radhakrishnan is also doing sugarcane farming in 25 acres. “It is used for making natural sugar,” he says, adding that he also sells natural seeds.

COIMBATORE WEATHER