Integrated FarmingJanuary 31, 2022
Self-reliance is the main objective of our farming projects, hence they should be oriented towards production.
They should not be dependent on outside resources.
An integrated approach to farming should include:
- lac culture
- dairy farming
- animal husbandry
- pest control
- cottage industries
- energy production
- research centres
- water conservation.
This approach will help make farming projects self-reliant.
Agriculture is the science of cultivating the soil and rearing animals. It includes the production of staple crops.
Staple crops which are important in Bengal include pulses of many kinds, cereals, coarse grains, oil-seeds, sugar crops and vegetables.
- provide protein
- supplement manure
- They fix nitrogen in the soil from the air
Calcium, phosphates, potash, etc must still be added to pulse crops.
Cereals are rich in carbohydrates and include:
Coarse grains include all types of:
It is most important to exchange seeds between India and the rest of the world.
Sugar crops include:
- sugar cane
- sugar beet
- date palm
Spices include cloves, cumin, coriander, etc.
Many types of medicinal plants can be grown in Bengal.
The variety of vegetables that are produced should be increased.
Tea and rubber can be grown:
- for use by the local people
- as cash crops.
Cash crops grown by cooperatives can help raise the economic standard of poor local people in a short time.
In the case of yellow mustard, big lentils and wheat, there is a choice of early, medium and late varieties.
But in the case of paddy there is no such choice.
If the early, medium and late varieties of any crop are available for plantation, and sufficient time is at hand to choose any of them, then the early variety should be chosen first for plantation.
In case the early variety fails, then the medium variety should be tried.
If everything is done properly, the production of this variety will be almost equal to the early variety. If the medium variety also fails for some reason, then lastly the late variety should be tried.
If the late variety is planted in the beginning of the season and fails for some reason, then there is no scope for cultivation and the season will be lost.
Liquid manure should be applied along with the second irrigation after proper weeding.
Paddy is the staple food in northeastern India.
In the boro variety of paddy, weeding should be done one month after transplantation, and then liquid manure should be applied. Care should be taken that the liquid manure is not poisonous, otherwise it will harm the pisciculture. Even rocky land can be made fit for cultivation after filling it up with good soil.
We should try our best to grow napier grass for cattle fodder on hillocks wherever possible.
It is more difficult to grow napier grass on hills than on flat land because it takes a lot of water. Nevertheless we should try, in order to save the best crop land for other crops.
Where there are railway lines which belong to the railway department going through agricultural land, cow pea, late áus paddy or black gram should be cultivated on both sides of the railway lines.
Whenever plants from frigid and temperate zones are transplanted into a warm or hot climate, they should be planted on high land, near stones and rocks if possible, so that at night they will be kept cool.
The fencing of all farm compounds except beauty spots may be utilized as a platform for spinach in spring and summer, and for beans in summer, the rainy season, autumn and winter. In the case of beauty spots, the fencing may be utilized as a platform for flower creepers.
Farming projects should grow crops for special emergency survival. These include:
- fodder for dairy cows to ensure milk production.
All farming projects must start the production of these items immediately.
They are the minimum items necessary for physical survival. These items will ensure your survival in any difficult times that may come in the future.
Fruit and vegetable gardens should be established on all farming projects. There are many varieties of fruit. Fruits can be utilized to make jams, marmalade, jellies, dried fruits, etc.
Floriculture is the cultivation of flowers. Jasmine, magnolia, roses and so on can be used to make essences which in turn can be used to produce many other products.
- Tube roses can be grown and sold throughout the world just as roses are today.
- Roses grow very well in red soil.
- Floral nectar can be collected from lotus and is very good for all kinds of eye diseases, including retinal detachment.
Honey can be prepared from the flowers of the lotus, lily, cornel and cotton tree.
A huge amount of honey is available in the flowers of the lotus, lily and cotton tree.
The lotus and lily also give floral nectar – nectar which is prepared by the flowers, not by the bees. This is a part of floriculture.
Floral nectar should be produced from floriculture.
How can floral nectar be collected? It has to be collected with the help of a dropper or syringe.
When I was young I used to eat the seeds of the lotus. In those days they were generally available throughout Burdwan. I also used to take floral nectar by licking the flower.
From the honey and floral nectar of lotus and lily, many types of medicines can be made. If this honey and floral nectar is sold in the market, it will command a very high price.
To extract floral nectar one has to employ the same method as doctors use to extract blood. This is because many ants and insects feed on floral nectar. A syringe can extract it without getting clogged up.
The stems of okra can be used for a special purpose.
If you have a pineapple field which is not producing fruits nor flowers. If the okra stems are burnt and scattered throughout the field, the fumes and smoke will help the pineapple develop fruit and flowers.
But one should be careful that the pineapple plant is not burnt.
This process will produce both fruit and flowers very quickly.
The field of floriculture has been neglected very much. It should be developed.
We can easily make rose scent and rose water from the rose garden at Ánanda Nagar.
Irrigation is also an important aspect of farming.
As a principle, subterranean water should not be used for irrigation purposes. Subterranean water should not be disturbed, otherwise the level of the water-table will drop, leading to an acute shortage of water.
The best system is to collect surface water. The rainwater, even from light showers, should be collected where it falls. If the huge reserves of water under some deserts are harnessed, it may do more harm than good. It is always better to conserve surface water.
Desert reclamation requires:
- water conservation
In the Thar Desert of India, a canal has been constructed to bring water from the Ganges to irrigate the land. The Ganga Nagar area has been reclaimed and is now producing a lot of wheat.
The canal can be extended even further into the desert. Conserving surface water is the best method of irrigation and is preferable to exploiting underground water reserves.
Ecologists claim that some deserts are essential for keeping the global ecology in a balanced state.
- The high day temperatures and the cold night temperatures in desert regions create a useful effect.
- The hot dry desert air rises and creates a vacuum which sucks in other air, such as moist air from the sea. This causes rainfall.
They say that if deserts vanish entirely, the overall rainfall will be reduced.
But certain plants can attract rain clouds. Examples are:
- sirisha [Albizzia lebbeck benth.]
- shisu [Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.]
- Himalayan white oak [Quercus incana Roxb.]
They also create a congenial environment for other plants.
Dairy farming includes milk production from dairy cows, goats, sheep and buffaloes. Milk powder and dehydrated curd should also be produced.
Animals are not to be sold for slaughter.
Fish should be cultivated in lakes, dams and ponds because they help conserve and purify the water.
Small fish can also be cultivated in the paddy fields during the rainy season.
Fish are the natural food of birds, so they are an essential part of a balanced ecology.