Friday, 1 November 2013

This grape story could ring in a revolution

The Hindu

This grape story could ring in a revolution
Chinthala Venkat Reddy at his grape garden in Ranga Reddy district. Photo: K. Srinivas Reddy

If you have sun-dried soil, you could usher in a revolution. A grape farmer’s innovation in Ranga Reddy promises a bumper crop, sans fertiliser, pesticide and all

Can dried soil replace fertilisers and pesticides?

If the results of a novel Soil Management (SM) technique — developed by a farmer from Ranga Reddy district — are any indication, the crop yield would go up at least by half, drastically reducing the farm input cost component, even while preserving the soil eco system.

Agricultural scientists have been visiting a grape garden on the city outskirts, where the SM technique is employed by a Chinthala Venkat Reddy, a progressive farmer, leading to a phenomenal increase in yield.


The grapes harvested in this garden are the sweetest and the best in quality in terms of crispiness of the fruit and berry size, vouchsafe scientists of the Dr. YSR Horticultural University and the Krishi Vignan Kendra of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

The technique developed by Mr. Venkat Reddy is rather simple. The sub-soil from a paddy field is scooped up using hydraulic earth movers and dried in open air during summer. This dried soil is sprinkled at the stem of the plant periodically.

“Each plant needs specific nutrients. For example, the soil nutrients needed by paddy and grape are different. When you scoop soil from a paddy field, the soil will have plenty of nutrients needed by grape plant. When the plant gets the nutrients it needs, it grows healthily without fertiliser support”, he explains.

Phenomenal yield

With this technique, Mr. Venkat Reddy (Phone: 986-688-3336) has been able to get a yield of 30-32 tonnes of grape per acre, while his counterparts in other gardens, who make use of pesticides, fertilisers and organic manure, get a yield between 20 and 25 tonnes.

“Going by the healthy plants in the garden and the grape fruits yet to be harvested, the yield could touch 40 tonnes per acre this year. It’s nothing short of a miracle,” exclaims G. Satyanarayana, Joint Secretary of ICAR’s Krishi Vignan Kendra, Gaddipalli, Nalgonda.

Dr. Satyanarayana, who has been visiting the farm, says the technique is a boon for the farming community as it is not an experiment done in a one-acre farm. There has been consistency in grape yield over the years.

Impressed by innovation and consistent high-yields at lowest cost, the centre is getting ready to do a systematic analysis of the SM technique by agricultural scientists under the Rashtriya Krishi Vignan Yojana (RKVY) Scheme, informs. B. Srinivas Rao, Principal Scientist at the Grape Research Station in Rajendranagar, Hyderabad.

Mr. Venkat Reddy claims to have tried out the technique in growing paddy and wheat too, yielding good results in the process. Encouraged by the consistency, he has also applied for a national patent for the technique. The claim has been published by the Indian Patent Office in June 2012.