Innovative farmer turns barren land into thriving integrated farm | Fusion - WeRIndia

Innovative farmer turns barren land into thriving integrated farm

Innovative farmer turns barren land into thriving integrated farm

Agriculture has been synonymous with strenuous labour and limited returns, but Hirod Patel, a 32-year-old farmer from Sundargarh, has defied this notion.

Embracing an integrated farming system, Patel has transformed his 14-acre farm in the Tangarpali block of Sundargarh district into a diversified haven for horticulture, paddy farming, pisciculture, and even climbing vegetable plants.

Hailing from an agrarian background, Patel returned to farming to assist his father after exploring various vocations.

Faced with low returns from labour-intensive paddy crops on his low-lying land, Patel decided to shift to a more diverse and sustainable approach. In 2019, he collaborated with the Agriculture Department to create three ponds, enhancing the land’s utility.

One innovative aspect of Patel’s farm is the use of pond spaces for growing climbing vegetable plants.

To efficiently utilize the area, he opted for bund cultivation, planting 120 saplings of bottle gourd on the bunds surrounding the pond.

A trellis made of GI wires was installed atop the pond for the vines to climb.

The bunds not only facilitated efficient water infiltration but also eliminated the need for additional watering.

The result was a successful harvest of 1,500 bottle gourds fetching him a good revenue.

In addition to climbing vegetables, Patel utilizes two other ponds for pisciculture, yielding an annual income of ₹80,000.

His farm also boasts 350 coconut trees, along with banana, berry, guava, and mango trees poised to bear fruit.

Employing four farm labourers, Patel’s annual earnings are around ₹10 lakhs, a figure he believes can be further increased.

Deputy Director of Horticulture Sukanta Nayak commended Patel’s unique approach, highlighting the innovative method of sowing climber vegetable plants on the pond bunds.

Patel was pleased with the success of his experiment. He plans to replicate the model in other ponds and explore cultivation possibilities for other vine crops.

Patel’s story stands as a testament to the transformative power of integrated farming, turning once underutilized land into a flourishing example of agricultural innovation and sustainability.

Image Credit: Vis M, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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