New Delhi: Amid reports of harrowing time faced by farmers due to persistent droughts in the country, Ranga Reddy's 12 acres of pomegranate and mango farm in Karnataka's Raichur district resembles an oasis in a desert.
Reddy's lush green farm may have been an object of envy for many but for this 28-year-old unassuming and soft spoken farmer, it's the result of his will and indefatigable work which he puts in everyday in his field.
Reddy's farm is located in Terracotta village of Raichur, one of the worst drought-affected districts of Karnataka. However, his sprawling farm is in stark contrast to the barren land that surrounds his field.
One of the few successful farmers in the region, Reddy sells his produce to big dealers in Mysore, Udipi, Bangalore and even as far as Hyderabad.
A visit to the region may result in a heat stroke for the uninitiated, but Reddy is at peace as his crops stand tall and unaffected.
Reddy says Pomegranate is drought proof. “It (pomegranate) is best suited for the Indian weather; it can survive even with little water,” he explains.
Earlier, he used to grow cotton, drumstick and paddy in his field, all are water intensive crops, but he switched to pomegranate farming three years ago.
“I travelled a lot to find what best suited my land. I read about organic farming. I went to different villages in Maharashtra and saw how farmers are cultivating organic crops.
“It’s when I learnt that sowing the same crop again and again isn’t exactly good for the land or profitable. You keep sowing the same crop and you end up making loses. I didn’t want to do that,” he says.
During his research, he also came to know about the state government’s Krushi Bhagya Scheme, which trains farmers in rain water harvesting and provides Rs.25,000 to build ponds to store water.
He applied for the scheme and he got selected.
He received his training at the agriculture college in Raichur city.
After returning to his village, Reddy built a pond in his farm and also installed a water pump to harvest the ground water. He then installed the drip irrigation system in his field. And the rest is history!
“This method helps a lot because I’ll be able to able to utilise water even with just half an inch of water in the pond,” he says.
“It’s been three years since the drought situation worsened in Karnataka. I do not want to face what other farmers are facing, they are committing suicide every day. After a lot of research, I thought of organic farming,” says Reddy.
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