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All About Organic Farming - From discoverer of a New Wheat Variety

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Narendra with his harvest

Narendra Singh Mehra is a resident of Haldwani in Nainital district and has been a farmer for many years. He was interviewed by Sujeet Pal on behalf of Krishi Jagran. For the  last few years, he has been focusing on organic farming. He did his masters in geo and has a diploma. He used to focus on growing vegetables but now has all his attention on crops of wheat and paddy, which are all grown organically.

Narendra mentions that the soil has lost its fertility due to excessive use of fertilizers by farmers and soil can be made fertile again with organic farming. He said his mission is to bring the attention of his fellow farmers to advantages of organic farming. A number of people are getting affected by diseases which are a result of chemicals in the food items that we eat. He requested the farmers to focus on quality of their crops and start organic farming by using organic seeds.

 

How Narendra chose Organic Farming?

He has recently noticed that younger generation is losing interest in farming or they are focusing on high productivity. With the involvement of youngsters our farming will definitely improve. He wanted to go organic for some time, but was inspired to take it seriously by his role model "Padma Shri" Bharat Bhushan Tyagi Ji. He has tried to take as many farmers as he can towards organic farming. For this, he has tried to lead by example, showing these farmers how to achieve success with organic. One of his thoughts is to provide healthy organic food to soldiers on the border of the country, protecting us. He says organic farming has been a happy experience for him.

"Narendra 09" variety in fields

At the moment he has organic rice ready with him, Black Rice, which he has grown over 2 acres of land. He has also planted, organically, 5 traditional varieties which were on the verge of extinction and he also produces organic ginger. He grows coriander in his polyhouse.

New Variety

He has himself developed a new variety of wheat seed, which he has named after himself, "Narendra 09" and he has applied for its registration. He said with pure seeds you will get pure crops. He is willing to supply his "Narendra 09" seeds, which he has been growing himself since 2009, to the interested farmers.

He said that 15 years back most of the local farmers were growing tomatoes and grains (wheat and paddy) were 5 percent of the total food production of the state. He said grains are an important part of our diet and cannot be ignored and there is no guaranteed income with tomatoes. The wheat variety he focused on is RR21, out of which he has developed his own variety "Narendra 09". He said if you are interested, feel free to contact him for seeds of this variety.

Narendra with enthusiasts

On being asked what made him think about this new variety, he said as tomatoes were popular as cash crop and wheat production was neglected, whenever he told farmers to grow more grains he was taunted. He however believed that wheat crop is important for us, you may get good income from cash crops but these cannot replace wheat. He started by growing RR21, and one day in 2009 he observed a different type of plant in his field. He immediately got to work on this different looking plant, he took as many seeds out of the plant as he could and now has fields full of this new variety of wheat. His seeds are exported to many different states across India. He is happy that his efforts have proved fruitful.

We then asked him how does he supply his seeds or other products to customers across the country, he replied if the farmers tried to get physically to Haldwani to get the products it will be very expensive for them. He said even ordering huge quantities of seeds through post will be expensive for them. Her suggested them to order half or 1 Kg of seeds, plant in their fields, and at the harvest the seeds they get, use them in the next farming cycle to grow as much as they need.

Organic seeds

He said seeds are not created by man but by nature. He said like four children born to same mother have differences, that's how different seeds of the same crop vary from each other. It's the tasks of the researchers and scientists to identify their quality, productivity and other benefits they may have. He said for example if he wants organic mustard seeds, he would feed 50 gram of these with flour to the cow. Most of the times the seeds come out with the cow dung, this dung is filtered to take out the seeds, which are then washed with cow urine and then dried in sunshine and what he believes are organic seeds, are ready to use. These seeds are then planted in separate beds and this is the start of the organic seeds. These fields are then worked with vermicompost, decomposer and guarded from any chemicals.

On being asked if we don't have cows how do we produce organic seeds then, he replied that you can buy some dried cow dung, burn it and prepare the ash. Next you need to find some cow urine, mix it with the ash and treat your seeds with this mixture. After washing and drying your organic seeds are ready.

Bringing back fertility to the soil

On being asked what he uses as replacement for UREA or DAP, he said he uses waste decomposer which he mixes with water in a drum and then this mixture is applied in the first irrigation to the crops. He said IFFCO Nano products are also good as fertilizer and for fertility he uses vermicompost, 50 Kgs of which are mixed with these IFFCO nano products and applied over the fields. This combination reduces dependence on UREA. There are some trees whose leaves are resistant to pests and insects, like neem tree leaves. He collects leaves from such trees and adds them to 2 Kgs of jaggery and 200 liters of water and add decomposer to this mixture. These leaves are left to rot for days and then we filter out the liquid. This liquid when sprayed over the plants gives surprising results. There is good greenness over the leaves and as it acts like a tonic, this spray is known as tonic. He has worked with other farmers to figure out the combinations and quantity of this liquid will be useful. When applying over a hectare they need 15 liters of spray, 5 liters of which is the mixture and 10 liters is water.

We asked him next the way to recovery for those farms which have lost their fertility due to use of chemicals. He replied that the soil they inherited from their ancestors was fertile and healthy. In the times of his father there was call for greater productivity in the country. For this UREA, DAP and other chemicals were brought into use which slowly killed the soil fertility. He said before the soil completely dies out, this use of chemicals must be stopped and organic alternatives must be brought into use. He said our ancestors, used manure made from tree leaves, the fields were given rest periods and the practice of crop rotation was followed. He said to bring fertility back to the soil we need help from earthworms which will stay alive in soil if you use organic manure like cow dung compost, vermicompost, waste decomposer. It will take three years of these activities before the soil will fully recover. Green manure is extremely important and every farmer must have it and he hopes to protect his farm fields this way.

In the end he thanked Krishi Jagran for giving them a good platform and showing farming as a profession in a positive manner, and not as a lowly work. You have selected pearls from the ocean of farming community and we are well represented here. He hopes that more farmers will join with Krishi Jagran and form a farming community. He said more farmers should contribute to the country's success by taking up organic farming. He asked the youngsters to join farms in place of searching for jobs. Please click here to see his interview video.

Narendra Singh Mehra

Narendra Singh Mehra

Haldwani, Uttarakhand

Owner of Narendra Organics

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