Organic farming thriving in Syangja

Syangja, January 20:

Farmers of Syangja district are taking to organic farming in a big way. According to the District Agriculture Development Office, around 16, 250 households in Syangja have taken to organic farming.

“We knew chemical fertiliser and insecticides were harmful for health. We knew they affected soil fertility, but we had no option. People now know that cattle urine and cow dung are good for soil,” said Man Maya Manandhar of Kitchanas-8, Syangja.

“Our parents used to suggest us to use cattle urine while growing vegetables and other crops, but we never listened to them. We realised its importance after experts from the Suryodaya Club asked us to collect cattle urine and use it in our farms.”

She added her spinach and cauliflower plantation got a ‘re-birth’ once she began using cattle urine in her vegetable farms.

“In the beginning, I used a bit of chemical fertiliser to make sure my labour does not go waste,” she said, adding, “Now, I have stopped using chemical fertiliser altogether.”

Another farmer of Bahakot VDC-7, Purnima Sen, said her organic vegetables are sold like hot cakes. She said she stopped using chemical fertiliser and insecticides long ago. “Agriculture experts from the Suryodaya Club have shown us that local plants and other materials can be used in place of chemical fertiliser and insecticides,” she said.

She further added that soil has become more fertile following the use of organic fertiliser.

In her early sixties, Sen works at her vegetable farm and earns Rs 60,000 every year on average.

Sen also prepares vermi-compost and sells it for Rs 20 per kg. She also prepares compost manure using plants like Banmara and Asuro and sells it to farmers.

Sen also tells fellow farmers to go for organic farming.

The Sustainable Soil Management Programme (SSMP) was launched in 12 districts in the region to improve soil fertility through the use of cattle manure, cow dung and vermi-compost.

A large number of local farmers have been trained under the programme. The trained farmers practise lessons learned and share their knowledge with others.

According to the Suryodaya Club, 258 people have received training of leader farmers, while 3,366 people have been working for the improvement of soil fertility.

Senior agriculture development officer at the District Agriculture Development Office Birendra Hamal said at least 25 per cent of the total of 65,000 households of the district are using locally-prepared manure.

The DADO is working to persuade all people to use organic fertiliser instead of chemical fertilisers.

“All our programmes aim to prepare quality organic fertiliser and increase the rate of productivity without the use of chemical fertilisers. The programmes are becoming popular,” he said.