Organic Farming

Hill agriculture is basically subsistence farming where farmers produce grains for 2-3 months on the ridge tops and up to round the year requirements in the valleys. Irrigation can be a serious issue during the dry summer months and the cold winter period. There is hardly any cash income from the land.

Organic farming in Avani's demonstration greenhouseAccording to a market survey done in the nearby markets, almost Rs. 85 lakhs worth of vegetables are imported yearly from plains in the small bazaars which feed about 100 villages. In order to meet this requirement of vegetables and to be able to export quality hill vegetables to plains, there is a strong case for introducing vegetable farming in our area. This would also help farmers to earn some cash from the agricultural activities.

Vegetable cultivation is also one of the important aspects of wholesome nutrition in the family. Due to various reasons this has not become popular in the ridge top habitations, the main reason being paucity of water and very cold winters. As a demonstration for the cultivation of vegetables and to demonstrate the methods of organic farming, a green house has been built in Avani campus at Tripuradevi. The small farm at Avani has been working with vermicomposting, use of biogas slurry and other methods of regenerating the soil.

Organic farming methods are being applied to the dairy at Avani campusMore then 20 sorts of vegetables for the common kitchen are grown in a greenhouse that has drip irrigation and organic manures are used to increase soil fertility. There is also a small dairy with two buffaloes at the Avani centre that has enabled us to install a small bio gas facility at our centre.

The demonstration of organic farming has a very limited potential due to scarcity of water and consequently very limited irrigation. Avani has been planning to recycle almost 5000 litres of water per day, which is used for various domestic activities like washing, cooking etc. and natural dyeing in the textile program. The plans are to recycle this entire water and use it in drip irrigation for growing vegetables and dye plants. In the near future one should see the implementation of this idea and the scaling up of organic farming on Avani farm.