Seeds of change
By Hindol Sengupta
Farming will go back to basics with the help of tomorrows technology.
The future of farming has been known to Indians for thousands of years, says Subhash Palekar. Half in jest, I ask the farmer who won the Padma Shri in 2016 if he is a fortune teller. With a laugh, he comes up with a profound reply: What we do today determines our future. Palekar is a proponent of a farming method he calls Zero Budget Spiritual Farming, which rejects chemicals and pesticides, and goes back to a more ancient form of agriculture. The method helps farmers bump up yields by adding a solution of cow excreta, jaggery, and gram flour to enrich the soil, and mulch from harvesting to add moisture. Apart from generating record yields from his farm in Maharashtras drought-prone Vidarbha region, Palekars method has also helped nearly 4 million farmers stave off poverty.