Farmers turn to organic farming, reap benefits

IN CHHATTISGARHS Dantewada district, Katekalyan is a name that largely inspires worry. While the situation in the Maoist-hit district is slowly improving, its district headquarters mirroring a well-kept small town and Maoist influence being largely pushed into the jungles of Bijapur, Sukma and Narayanpur, senior police officers still identify Katekalyan as a problem area.

Yet, Katekalyan has quietly been building another identity as the nursery of organic farming mushrooming across the district, where farmers have come together to set up a company to market their produce across the country.

Gonelu Ram is one such farmer. It isnt paddy season yet, so the crop is assorted tomatoes, peas, chana and mustard. Standing in front of his lush green fields, he beams as he reels off their names, and then adds an important note. All this is completely organic. The fertlisers I use are what nature gives Cow urine, neem leaves, bitter gourd leaves and besharam patta. My produce has never been better before 90 per cent of Katekalyan has now returned to completely organic farming, he says.