Organic manure losing value for tribals
Use of organic manure like cattle dung by a large section of tribal farmers in Adilabad district will soon be a thing of the past going by the current trend. An ever increasing number of aboriginal farmers prefer to sell huge quantities of indigenously produced dung while going in for chemical fertilisers when required.
In the agency areas, sale of animal dung for use as compost starts in February after the harvest of crops. There is a good market for organic manure in neighbouring districts like Nizamabad and Karimnagar as it comes cheap at just Rs. 5,000 for a lorry load. The main reason behind tribal people shunning age-old practices in farming is their poverty. The hard cash they realise out of the sale of cattle dung evidently sees them through the lean summer months notwithstanding the fact that they are forced to purchase costly chemicals later in the year. The young farmers in the agency tracts also seem to be losing out on the traditional knowledge associated with farming in undulating hilly lands. Some of them who interacted with The Hindu at Jainoor pointed out the unsuitability of undulating surfaces to the application of organic manure.
“The dung gets washed away in the first rain itself,” said Mesram Nagesh. He, however, was not familiar with the traditional practices used by the older generation of farmers in his village.
“The furrows have to be deep and run concurrently with the undulations unlike the one dug perpendicular to the slopes in the land,” said B. Ramakanth, a farmer from the tribal village of Tosham. “The deep furrows will arrest the washing away of the manure,” he added.
Another difficulty faced by farmers in the mountainous areas is the transportation of the rather unwieldy dung stored in heaps.