The Centre has adopted both modern techniques and traditional
practices in agriculture. Although Centre is fully aware
of the importance of growing food organically, it is still
using chemical fertilizers and pesticides to maintain certain
level of food production. Quite a large area of land, roughly
about 65 acres, is under cultivation. The Centre believes
in growing diverse crops for reducing the adverse impact
of monoculture. The Centre grows food and vegetable crops,
and fodder for the cattle. The Centre has planted quite
a large number of various fruit trees too.
The food crops that are grown include paddy, wheat, jowar,
and bajra. Several pulses such as red gram, urd, green gram,
etc are cultivated under multi-cropping system. Sudan, baraseem,
maize, jowar are grown mainly as green fodder for the cattle
Potato, okra, tomato, chilli, suran, are some of the vegetables
grown on the farm. Fruit trees such as mango, bael, amda,
tad palm and jackfruit planted are bearing fruits. Oil seeds
such as mustard, sesame are also integrated farming at the
In the year 2008, the Centre harvested 43 qtls. of paddy,
70 qtls. of wheat, 10 qtls of peas, 51 tonnes of fodder,
150 qtls. of potato. Large quantities of vegetables such
as brinjal (10 qtls), tomato (3 qtls), cabbage (5 qtls),
cauliflower(15 qtls) were grown.
The centre will cultivate maize, suran, cherry, barseem
and pulses as summer crops as fodder. Paddy, jowar, bajra,
sudan, mustard, til, urd, moong, and maize will be sown
in kharif season.
The Foundation has made a policy decision to phasing out
the present chemical farming and adopting sustainable organic
farming. In this direction, the Rural Centre has approached
NAVDANYA -an NGO based at New Delhi for both technical support
and exploring possible project funding. NAVDANYA (www.navdanya.org)
is promoting biodiverse organic farming and reviving and
multiplying the vanishing local varieties of seeds of food
and vegetable crops. A project proposal for large scale
organic farming is being prepared to seek funding support
from Govt./Non-profit organisations.
In order to capacitate and to change the mindset of the
farming staff of the Rural Centre, a workshop on organic
farming was conducted in April-08. Resource persons of NAVDANYA
were invited. Dr. Vinod Bhatt and Dr. Harbinder Singh facilitated
With a view to make a humble beginning, it was decided
to grow paddy organically on a small plot of 0.3 acre. Five
different varieties of paddy were sown. These seeds were
obtained from a well known organic farmer - Mr. Raghuvanshi.
He hails from a village close to Varanasi. A meager yield
of 55 kgs of paddy was harvested from this field. Though
it is not very encouraging, the Centre is determined to
go ahead with organic farming by allocating bigger area
from the year 2009-10. One and a half acre has been allocated
for growing paddy, moong, urad from Kharif season-2009.
System of Rice Intensification - SRI method
SRI method is also known as "Madagascar" method
of rice cultivation. SRI method was developed in Madagascar
by Fr. Henri de Laulanié, S.J., who between 1961
and 1995 worked with Malagasy farmers and colleagues to
improve the possibilities of rice production in this country.
He wanted Malagasy people to have happier and more secure
If SRI method is followed meticulously one can produce
at least 50% more yield than from conventional farming.
Very important features of SRI are, it require less water
and more spacing between the plants.
Large number of rice producing countries such as China,
Sri Lanka, Philippines, etc. has begun to adopt this method.
The farmers, in some of the southern states of India, have
started practicing this method very meticulously.
This method was tried out in the Rural Centre on a small
plot of 0.3 acre. Two local varieties of paddy were cultivated.
The yield was 84 kgs. The yield is certainly better than
the yield obtained from conventional organic farming methods.
The Centre has determined to adopt SRI practices from next
year to derive the maximum benefit. In 2009 kharif season,
SRI will be experimented in 0.5 acre. It has been decided
to cultiave Lalmatti-a local variety of rice, on this plot
To meet its bio-fertilizer requirement for the organic
farming the Centre has vermicomposting units for composting
cow dung and farm yard manure and NADEP composting for biomass
and crop residues.
The Centre wishes to work with the communities to promote
organic farming practices. It is planning to have demonstration
plots on a few food and vegetable crops during 2008-09.
The Centre is looking forward for support from Donors/individuals
The Centre is planning to allocate more area to cultivate
oil seeds and pulses.
The centre is conceiving the idea of having seed banks
of indigenous varieties of food and vegetable crops.