Khargone/Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Avinash Dangi, in Bistan village of Kargone district is a shining example of 'Atma Nirbhar' farmer. With his unique model, he is earning a consistent income in every season.
He has been working with his father for the past 18 years and was named among top ten national finalists by Organic India in 2019. He has earned a state level honour in the field of Biodiversity, 5 district-level awards and 5 other awards through private companies.
In June 2021, he adopted a unique model to develop one hectare (or two-and-a-half-acres) with his father. The model will complete its cycle in June 2022. Under the yearlong model, the father-son duo will cultivate 70 crops.
At present, he is growing 18 types of vegetables, 32 types of fruits and 4 crops of spices in one hectare. The crops are sown in 21 beds, which are 360 feet in length. The duo has adopted companion plantation wherein one species of plant benefit from the presence of the other when sown together.
Between June and December, the duo has harvested green coriander, groundnut, urad, marigold and sweet corn and earned over Rs 1 lakh.
As of now, there are 53 crops in the field. The duo is also benefiting from the collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture.
Avinash told Free Press that he is about to harvest arhar, chana, turmeric and ginger. He all set to replace harvested crop with cucumber, bitter gourd, coriander, tomato, moong and medicinal plants.
Avinash has adopted ëmultilayer multi crop fruit forest family farming modelí of organic farming. Multilayer implied taking 5-6 crops together by utilising the space below the ground for tubers, on the ground for green leafy vegetables and above the ground for fruits like papaya and climbers like bottle gourd. Thus, all types of fruits, vegetables, cereals and pulses will be available in every season for a family. A natural poly house will take shape within 4 to 5 years. The crops are sown as per season and only drip and flood irrigation is used.
Raising exotic plants
Besides traditional crops Avinash is growing crops which are native to South China and East Asia. It includes financially rewarding vegetables and condiments used in fast food. He is growing exotic vegetables like green and black bok choy, green and red lettuce, bacala, broccoli, and French beans, besides cauliflower, red and white radish, red and green cabbage, purple and orange cauliflower, spinach and fenugreek.
Fruit bearing trees
At present his farm has 252 plants of papaya, 252 trees of drum sticks and 252 plants of banana while it also has 122 patches of four species of cilantro and seven species of guava, 44 trees of coconut, mosambi, orange and mango, 20 trees of lemon, 14 trees of jackfruit, 14 trees of chikoo, 12 trees of apple and 12 trees of fig. His farm also has 10 trees each of red and green gooseberry, jamun, pomegranate, water apple and 4 trees each of litchi, cherry, phalsa, cashew and ramphal.
Multilayer cropping is beneficial for both the land and the environment. The model is financially rewarding and at the same time provides shelter to countless species of birds. It helps in sustaining balance in nature and biodiversity. The model offers convenience in nutrient management, pest management and water conservation. The low cost high production is time saving and can fulfil all the needs of a family.
Avinash maintains that he wants to make other farmers aware of this multilayer method of farming. He plans to develop a training course to help the farmers adopt this model.