Preparing for the future by reaching back into the past

19th Jul 2008
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Here is an interesting story of a farmer’s decision to utilize the ancestor of an indigenous strain of wheat that was used in Malwa before the Green Revolution. The impetus for the change? — the fact that the newer variety of grain actually demanded more water than the older one.

Time was when Malwa, a region spanning central India, grew wheat that required no irrigation. What it required instead was careful nurturing of the soil to retain its moisture. That was then. Soil preparation began months in advance; chemical fertilizers were unknown and green mulch was the principal soil nutrient.

Now, however, most farmers crops require five to seven rounds of water plus costly chemical fertilizers. One farmer, recognizing the unsustainable nature of farming wheat in this way, chose to instead turn back the clock and utilize those trade secrets of prior generations.

Soji Ram sowed Amrita wheat in the beginning of rabi season last year; it is a contemporary version of the indigenous Malwi strand, over 0.3-hectare (ha) last rabi season. Amrita has been developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (icar) at its Indore wheat research station. Amrita does not need much soil preparation; what it needs is only two rounds of irrigation.

Undeterred by naysayers, Ram’s crop production actually bested his fellow farmers’ including his own siblings’ harvests. You can read the entire article here.

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