Belthangudy, Jul 19: About 30 years ago, we were growing paddy using chemical fertilisers and felt that the yield can be good only with chemical inputs. However, this notion changed when we visited B K Devarao’s farm in Mittabagilu near Ujire. He was cultivating many varieties of paddy without using any chemical fertiliser. Hence, we thought that we can also follow the same method. As a result, in the next season, we did not apply chemical fertiliser. And, we have not looked back since then,” says Usha Mehendale. This incident was a turning point for her to take up organic paddy cultivation in her land in Tenkakarandoor village in Belthangady taluk, Dakshina Kannada district.
However, while the change was for the good, Usha believes that she should not have switched over to organic farming in one go. She says, “Sudden change in farming practice affected the yield, which was reduced by half for over a period of four years. Had we switched over gradually, it would not have happened. But we were convinced about the method and stood firm even during tough times. Gradually, soil’s fertility improved. Now, we get 40 quintals of paddy from our four-acre land.”