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We treated the land and prepared the soil with 4 tons of cow dung. Cow dung was purchased from a local farmer. From one ton of cow dung, we prepared ghan-jiwamrit, an organic fertilizer to use while plantation time. We have completed all procurement of bamboo from local farmers. Now we were in need of additional hilly grass to cover the roof. Farmers usually burn this grass in summer times, so we were able to prevent this. Total 3 trollies of grass collected to cover the roof. We cut this grass with the help of local tribal people where we required a total of 18 man power.
Due to Covid-19, the Indian government announced lockdown for 21 days which got continued for the next 4 months. Because of this, we had to stop our agricultural activities. Later on, government permitted agriculture-related work and we were able to continue the work. Due to this crisis, local panchayat and public sealed the village border from going and coming from outside. The sealing time was from morning 9 AM to the evening 6 PM. Most of the tribal people are daily wage farm laborers and cover daily living expenses through farm work they do. Our farm is 15 km far from our place. For maximum benefits from this project, we needed to plant in April or May month. We were in hurry to finish the work, so we started going out of the village before 8 AM and came after 6 PM from the work. We completed our work in time and provided some income to tribal people in this crisis to cover daily living expenses. Again, our work stopped, due to which we were not able to buy GI wires from hardware shops. We purchased this wire from 2 to 3 shops on different dates and continued the work. At last, we still lacked for 18 gazes G.I. (Galvanized Iron) wire. Finally, we purchased S.S. (Stainless Steel) wire 50 km far from the farm location. We completed whole work with the help of more than 35 tribal of total 180 man power days.
After purchasing wire, we completed the remaining work of making a mesh of wire on the roof. We put dry grass and coconut branches on top and tied them with string. We bought a green shade net to cover 8 feet boundary wall to prevent insects, animals, hot airflows, cold airflows to come into the farm. Now the farm was ready to start a plantation and sowing.
We did plantation with the help of local tribal women, we applied prepared organic fertilizer (ghan-jiwamrit) at the time of planting. After completion, we installed a drip irrigation system with the help of lateral pipes. We needed extra PVC and fitting materials to fix the drip irrigation system. Considering the hot climate, we also installed a sprinkler system into the farm for summer. We installed all the systems by ourselves and it was great learning to understand flow pressures of pipe and fixing system. It took a total of 30 women power days to complete whole plantation and weeding work.
After the drip installation, we started watering the crops and it was the time to spray organic liquid fertilizers to plants. We purchased electric spray pump to spray organic liquid fertilizers as well as organic pesticides. The next step was weeding work, which we did with the help of tribal women. We did all the weeding work step by step and according to the plant. As organic farming is a labour-intensive process, we did the weeding process 5 times in a total of 40 women working days.
We harvested all the leafy vegetables and currently, climber vegetable harvest is going on. To protect climber vegetables from fruit flies and insects, we have installed yellow traps and fly traps. We are serving more than 112 families; the number is increasing day by day. We are also delivering our organic vegetables to the Sahyadri school organization having 250 residential staff. Many people are demanding for our organic vegetables. Due to toCovid-19, it made difficult to sell our harvest because all markets were closed due to lockdown. Still, we are struggling to sell our harvest, but we are managing it with a good network.We started this project with planting 6 types of indigenous varieties of rice in one acre. Each of rice variety is nutrient rich and having marketing demand. Sahyadri school helped us in rice seeds, plantation techniques and will also help to sell the rice.
We treated the seeds with indigenous method of using cow urine, soil and cow dung. We purchased 1 trolley of tractor of cow dung to mix it in soil to increase soil fertility. This cow dung spread in the soil with local tribal youths.
The remaining farm activities such as plantation and weed management are done with help of tribal women. All activities done under guidance of Mr. Dadabhau Jachak, who is our mentor in organic farming techniques. Sahyadri school also helped us in plantation techniques and local farmer helped us to do tillage work through ox.
We have planted 6 types of indigenous rice varieties in one acre – 1. Chakhaw (Black Rice), 2. Red Rice( Kuruwa), 3. Tamkud, 4. Kumud, 5. Jondhli Jirga, 6. Ghansal.
The rice varieties are growing nicely and we are giving organic liquid fertilizers(jiwamrit).
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