True News|Jul 3, 2005 6:21 AM| by:

The Organic Way to Fame

This man has a green thumb – P. Selvaraj’s 10-acre farm has become a Mecca for agricultural scientists and researchers.

The 10-acre farm of an organic farmer, P. Selvaraj, at Ragalpaavi near Udumalpet, has become a Mecca for agricultural scientists, researchers, students, officials from Government agencies and farmers who are all regular visitors to his farm.  No less a person than the noted agricultural scientist, M.S. Swaminathan, has been inspired by Selvaraj’s achievements.

Mr. Selvaraj grows earthworms, sells vermicompost, makes panchakavya (a spray that helps in boosting yield) besides manufacturing herbal pesticide.  Not only does he use all of these on his farm, he sells them and serves as a consultant to other farmers.

Forty-year-old Selvaraj, with five plus years of experience in organic farming, is a strong advocate of natural farming.  “Use of chemicals and fertilizers has ruined farmers’ lives, besides degrading the soil.  The rampant use of fertilizers and their deleterious effect has left our farmers deep in debt.  Unless we return to organic farming, and say no to chemicals and fertilizers, I foresee only a bleak future,” he says.

According to him, by using earthworm compost and other organic methods, the yield in his seven-acre coconut grove has improved substantially; the quality of the produce has also increased manifold.  “To get more yield I extensively used fertilizers till recently.  But then at one point of time, no seed would germinate on my farm.”  Inspired by the work of G. Nammazhvar, R.S. Narayanan, Aliyar Madhu Ramakrishnan and Kodumudi Natarasan on organic farming, he took to the organic route.  He planted 41 varieties of trees and 40 types of plants for mulching.  Rotting vegetable matter was spread on the land to reduce evaporation and soil erosion.

No harm to environment

Agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan after visiting his farm, said: “I am very happy to see the inspiring work being done by P. Selvaraj, his wife and family in improving farm yields and income without harm to the environment.  I hope this message and the methods of this farm will help other farmers to take to ecologically sustainable agricultural techniques.

“He is an eye opener for farmers in this region.  One cannot visit his farm without coming away wonder-struck,” says G. Nammazhvar.

(Sourced from The Hindu)