Biju Narayanan, a former engineer, give up his profession about 10 years in the past to take up farming. He says he has at all times been within the subject and his household owned just a few acres of rubber farm in Kannur.
However the land was rife with rubber plantations, which he nervous would finally degrade the soil high quality. So Biju determined to chop them down after the primary spherical of harvest and plant fruits and spices as an alternative. This was how he took on full-time farming.
“I used to be already uninterested in company work. I assumed, why waste life doing the mundane job when there may be sufficient land to farm in my native place?,” he says.
Biju began off by rising pepper and cashew — two costly and in style crops grown in Kerala. Later, he moved to planting intensive forms of fruits alone by implementing excessive density farming or excessive density planting system (HDPS).
“Normally, fruits in Kerala are harvested in the course of the summer time. So as to make the produce out there all year long, each regional and international varieties need to be planted. I’ve efficiently practised this on my 95-acre farm. This may be achieved wherever, even when the plot is small,” says Biju, proprietor of Ulickal Agro Farms in Kannur.
He says that selecting this methodology helped him get double the standard yield from one-third of the area required in standard fruit farming.
“A mean of 80 kg of every fruit is harvested from my farm each season. One other benefit is that the harvest lasts all by the yr, as many sorts of fruits, each regional and unique, are cultivated,” he explains.
“I did intensive studying and took recommendation from skilled farmers within the locality to start with. It was additionally a trial and error course of which will get refined each season,” he provides.
What’s excessive density farming?
This methodology of farming goals at environment friendly use of land to extend yield with out rising the quantity of area used.
Biju explains, “This can be a scientific farming system whereby a bigger variety of crops are accommodated in a smaller space. That is no totally different from common farming, besides it wants higher planning. Normally in Kerala, farmers begin fruit farms by specialising in a single or two regional varieties like mango or jackfruit. This may require a big plot as each these bushes are too leafy. But when each leafy and non leafy fruit bushes are built-in on a single plot, it ensures full utilisation of the area and farm merchandise.”
In different phrases, whereas a 10-cent property can maintain as much as 10 bushes by standard farming, choosing excessive density farming will allow you to plant over 50 bushes of many sorts.
A number of months in the past, the 53-year-old helped an advocate named Ok L Abdul Salam develop fruit bushes on his 12-cent property. “Abdul grows about 80 varieties of fruit bushes on his 12-cent land. This helps him to get no less than one crop at any time of the yr, and requires fewer bills for farm inputs like fertilisers, labour and pesticides.”
Biju has been utilizing this methodology for about three years. “Excessive-density cultivation is an efficient methodology to extend productiveness of high-value business crops, particularly fruits. Other than excessive yields, it maximises the effectivity of expensive farm inputs.”
He provides that India’s climatic situation, and particularly Kerala’s, is tropical in nature, which is good for fruit farming. “Even then, we’re nowhere on the record of high fruit producing nations of the world. By choosing HDPS, one can double manufacturing and introduce unique international varieties on their land,” notes Biju.
Other than his 95-acre farm, Biju additionally runs a backyard nursery and sells greens, fruits, flowers, decorative and different crops.
On a median, he harvests 80 kg of every fruit from the farm, he says.
“On Abdul’s farm, we now have planted 5 varieties every of mango, guava, jackfruit, rambutan, chikoo, mangosteen, custard apple, seedless lemon, java plum, jabuticaba, araza boi, santol, longan, kepel apple and extra. Nonetheless, planting and caring for crops is barely totally different right here than in common farming,” he provides.
Biju explains the step-by-step means of excessive density farming:
- To begin with, the tactic can’t be carried out with out skilled assist. Somebody who has already arrange such a farm can help.
- Preserve a niche of two.5 metres between two crops.
- Decide the plant saplings from any backyard nurseries or skilled farmers. Be sure they’ve been grown organically.
- Choose the crops based mostly on how they’ll develop. Selecting too many bushes that can develop excessive or change into leafy is not going to be a great determination in excessive density farming, Biju says.
- Plant them in a approach that much less leafy crops are positioned subsequent to these with extra cowl. This may guarantee correct daylight for every. Furthermore, selecting too many leafy crops will result in them taking on more room. This may cut back the variety of crops you possibly can develop.
- Ensure that crops that can develop tall will not be positioned close to quick ones. This may even limit daylight, and the taller plant will use extra vitamins from the soil, which can limit the shorter one’s development.
- The primary three years after planting the sapling are an important, Biju notes. Throughout this time, you need to prune and prepare the crops, which in flip will resolve how wholesome they are going to be.
- Coaching refers to controlling the route, form and dimension of crops by twisting, bending or fastening the crops. Common coaching helps change the form, dimension, and route of plant development.
- Pruning is the observe of selectively eradicating plant components to control them so you possibly can develop extra crops in much less area.
- Abstain from utilizing chemical fertilisers and pesticides, as these is not going to give a real concept of how the crops are rising. Use manure like compost, cow dung and neem oil/cake to make sure natural development.
- If there are any plant varieties that don’t want quite a lot of area, place them in pots, drums or develop baggage to save lots of more room.
- If the plot has uneven daylight distribution, keep in mind to plant the saplings accordingly. Crops that don’t want a lot daylight may be positioned in shady areas.
- Nearly all varieties will begin giving fruits after three years. Common watering or fertilising gained’t be wanted put up this.
Edited by Divya Sethu; Photograph Credit: Biju Narayanan/Fb.