Farmer tells success tale from ‘non-toxic’ earning

IMPHAL, 13th Mar: Unlike his peers who rely heavily on chemical fertilizers so as to reap bumper crop yield, Leichombam Kangjamba of Leimaram Mamang Leikai said he has been consistently earning Rs 4-5 lakh annually from his 1.5 hectare (approx.) farmland which is contextually free from any agricultural ingredient considered harmful for human consumption.
A farmer by profession, Kangjamba said he has been growing vegetables and other crops in his farm land at Chothe Loukol, Leimaram for the last many years.
Stating that he gave up the conventional practice of growing food crops based on excessive usage of chemical fertilizers so that the consumers are not fed toxic edibles, Kangjamba informed that some years back experts from Central Agricultural University (CAU) visited his farm and provided vital insights about various aspects of farming.
While noting that other progressive farmers of the state might have received the same advice as him but seldom followed, Kangjamba said many CAU students come to his farm regularly and conduct experiments on his agricultural land as he uses as little chemicals as possible.
Further stating that apart from growing seasonal crops throughout the year he also rears fish in two ponds in the same plot of land, the farmer explained that when there is scarcity of water he uses the ponds to irrigate the field.
Apart from successfully practicing integrated farming, Kangjamba also produces own fertilisers through Vermicomposting and collects cow dungs from various areas and uses them as crop nutrients so that his farm produces, if not fully organic, does not cause harm to the consumers.
Kangjamba confided that although he wants to grow his crops in full organic way, he requires help from experts and there is a question whether if he adopts organic farming on large scale the investments required will increase or not, which is a problem for him.
Further explaining on his farming practice, Kangjamba said that annually he invests about Rs 1 lakh on his farming for which he gets Rs 4-5 lakh as returns. He grows crops such as pulses, mustard, cauliflowers, broccoli, chickpeas, brinjal, sugarcane and potatoes according to seasons and also grows crops which are off-season.
Along with limiting use of only 10 kg of urea per sangam, Kangjamba said he also does not apply chemicals or hormones during the time of selling the products as other farmers do. Fertility of soil in his farm land is maintained through rotational cropping system all year round. In case of his crops infected by pests or diseases, he consults experts from CAU who visit his farm from time to time and strictly follows their instructions, he informed.
Kangjamba further said that following his example his neighbour Leichombam Amumcha has also started following his system. Traders also knowing the quality of his farm products, make a beeline to his farm to buy the products.
Meanwhile, Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) project director K Devdutta Sharma informed that some Centrally sponsored schemes for organic farming have been taken up in the state which are mainly for export. So far, there is no scheme for organic farming in domestic front. But, still under the state government schemes support in technical guidelines can be provided.
Furthermore, the chief minister has also announced that by next year the government will start a scheme for organic farming for farmers. MOMA is always ready to support organic farmers by providing certification and facilitating them and providing marketing support, he added.

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