“Anyone who complains that farming is an unprofitable enterprise should meet me,” says Vaijanath Nidoda, a resident of Kamathana village in Bidar taluk.
He is qualified to make such statements; he has practiced integrated farming for six years now. His farm is an open classroom, where other farmers come to learn about profitable farming and get some hands-on training.
Mr. Nidoda grows food crops and cash crops, fruit-bearing trees and biodiesel plants on his six-acre farm. He also has small poultry farm and keeps a few goats. Two colonies of earthworms in the field work round the year to produce so much vermicompost that he has several cartloads leftover after using it in his farm.
“Farmers should emulate him,” says Praveen Kumar Naikodi, assistant professor at the College of Horticulture, Bidar. “He has proved that you don’t need to own large tracts of farmland to be successful or rich. His cost of cultivation per unit of land has decreased while his earnings have steadily increased. The soil fertility has increased, as has the yield of field and horticulture crops. All of that is because of the scientific methods he uses,” he said.
The basic principle of Mr. Nidoda’s success is studying market trends. “I observe the agricultural and horticultural markets. I make sure my products enter the market when there is a scarcity for them. For example, farmers grow watermelons, with plans to get yields during the month of Ramzan. When everyone does it, how can you get better prices? That is why, I make sure that my fruits are sold when the stock in the markets is less and the prices are fair,” he said. Similarly, he takes poultry farming in summer, so that the broilers are ready for sale after the Hindu month of Shravana, when the demand is higher. His land preparation methods are fit to enter textbooks, says Mr. Naikodi. “Several times, we are worried that farmers don’t follow our advice on digging pits, seed and sapling treatment, and providing manure or water. But Mr. Nidoda’s work exceeds our expectations, every time.” The way he cultivates ginger is an example. He has divided a four-acre plot into four parts and cultivates each part once every four years. He prepares each one-acre plot for three years before it is sown. Sun hemp is grown on the plot and thrashed down to make green manure. Garden waste, compost and vermicompost are added later. This process goes on for three years.
Just before sowing, bunds are built carefully to make sure rainwater is well-drained. Such careful planning ensures soil fertility, resulting in yields that are twice the district average, at 110 quintals an acre. This year, due to high prices of ginger, he made a killing at the markets.