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22 Mar 2019, Edition - 1347, Friday

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Coimbatore

Setting the seedballs roll

SNEHA L

Breast milk and honey are said to be the purest, providing energy. But natural farming enthusiast P Janakan says it is terrifying to know that pesticide traces have been found in them too.

A mechanical engineering graduate who quit his cushy job to take up farming is known for making seedballs.

He drew inspiration from Masanubo Fukuoka’s book `One Straw Revolution’ where the author explains a method of ‘do- nothing farming’ or ‘natural farming’ which follows five principles – no tillage, no fertiliser, no pesticides or herbicides, no weeding and no pruning. The soil must not be disturbed unless there is a need during sowing or harvest.In the same book, Fukuoka conceptualised ‘seedballs’.

Janakan told explained to The Covai Post this concept. “We start with soil. The ratio is 5: 3 soil to compost. Small millet, basil, flower and vegetable seeds are mixed along with soil and compost. For the perfect consistency a little amount of water is added. This mixture is rolled into a ball, dried up to the core and stored up.”

“When we go outdoors and see barren lands or if we just feel like planting we can just throw the seedballs. When the conditions are favourable for the seedball to grow, that is, once the seedball gets water enough for it to soak, it will start sprouting.”

How is a seedball beneficial?

4

Man- animal conflicts are on the rise now. Elephants, monkeys, peacocks come into farms and fields for food and water. We have destroyed their food source and created commercially beneficial eucalyptus forests and the like. To avoid this, we make fruit-seedballs which will grow fruit trees in forests and meet the food needs of wildlife.

Butterflies and bees are dependent on honey for food. By using pesticides we put the bee species in danger. Extinction of bees would end humanity, Albert Einstein had said. We make flower-seedballs, which once grown, will help the bees and butterflies carry on pollination, thus ensuring human life on earth.

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