Two months back Pramod ji (Senior Manger, Agriculture) gave me a folder and told that it has Amir Presentation and details of conservation agriculture; direct question struck in my mind “So what, what I can do”. Anyways I just copied in my laptop and never dared to open it. Day before yesterday Amir visit was proposed in Dangs so I thought that before his visit I should read about him and conservation agriculture. Something I found in FAO website about him and about Conservative agriculture (CA); I read and thought “dude it is something very theoretical and applicable for them who have enough food and wanted to do some experiment in agriculture; it is none of your business”.
When we met on 11th September 2014, it was already late night so we just discussed on CA concept and work which has done at global level especially in Brazil and African countries. That discussion provided a glimpse and I could correlate it with reading about CA. on 12th and 13th September we have spent our full time in field and that was the time when our team felt the need and essence of CA.
Two days with Amir Kaasam sir was an eye opening time; first time I realized that how we are progressing and how we need to look agriculture. Agriculture is not about use of input, or about only agronomic practices but it is outcome of very dynamic natural system. We look for a crop or for a plant but never look farming as a system; a system which is very dynamic, very vibrant, and very much expressive. As a practitioner and as a farmer also we are totally forgotten to understand the expressions of nature; that is what I realized after Amir Sir visit. Soil is giving clear hint that it is losing top soil so stones has appeared on top; rivers have water full of mud (water colour is totally muddy) but still we are doing same and same in field since last many decades.
In two days we have visited 5-6 different villages; there we have seen SRI plots, local cropping practices, and interacted with farmers. At field Amir sir taught us how SRI can be done in more effective manner with CA. I don’t know how many times we have visited those plots and saw that area but first time I could see that a small gully has been formed by regular runoff (that because Amir sir pointed out). It stuck to me that we always look for what we do with farmer like a SRI plot or horticulture plants; we never draw a broad perspective to see the soil health, to understand other dynamics. He helped us to understand that a better crop practice like SRI is good but it can be the best if we will improve the farm system because even SRI cannot perform well in a degradable soil. Before that we thought that SRI will do better in degradable soil also at least as compare to traditional method but we never thought to improve that degradable soil at farm level itself. Amit sir dug the soil from agriculture land and demonstrated us that how soil is degrading year by year and what is the ultimate outcome; a barren or abandoned piece of land. All the details of CA he described us in plot itself; He told us that principles are universal but solutions are contextualize so we need to do experiments at local level to observe what works in our context. Amir sir visited in all our working area and gave his valuable feedback on our existing interventions.
After full day field visit we all sit together and sir gave an overview of CA to all our staff members and emphasized that why it is call of hour. One thing I could understand that now CA is not a choice for us but it is a compulsion for us; it is only way for sustainable agriculture. A global perspective and case studies from European and African countries helped us to understand more about CA.
After discussion with him, we decided that we will try it in our work area as a pilot in few plots. In Selective SRI plot immediately we will start it from mulching. Once mulching will be done, after paddy harvesting we will sow gram seeds without tillage. Hope this demonstration will give some more insights about CA.
Over all two days were totally like a fresh breeze for us; we learnt a lot and developed a new sight to look for agriculture practices. During graduation for 1-2 marks we mug relay cropping, cover cropping, trap cropping, mulching and so on but how much it is important for soil health that first time I have realized. Personally for me it was a short course of graduation degree programme; because he correlated all different courses what we read in Pantnagar with CA approach.
who are interested about CA approach of farming and its concept, please visit following link.