Navi Mumbai: Leaving a corporate job, Minesh Gadgil, a resident of Gulsunde village in Panvel taluka, followed his passion for research and innovation. He started independent research on managing agricultural waste and succeeded in developing a method of manufacturing fatty acids and alcohol from seed husk by using solar energy.
Mr Gadgil also got a patent for the same innovation in 2010 from the Government of India. He even received the Krushi Bhushan in 2019 from the Government of Maharashtra. He didn't stop here and went on to convert the byproducts of the above process into organic plant growth promoters and composting enhancers. He sprays the self-made product 'Chayitanya' at his 20 gunta farm in Panvel; resulting in good quality and quantity of produce.
Mr Gadgil says that 'Chayitanya' can be a permanent solution of stubble or parali that farmers burn in fields, leading to air pollution in many states. He has already sent this proposal to the Ministry of Environment. In a detailed conversation with The FPJ, Mr Gadgil spoke about his journey and his views on organic farming.
How did you get the idea to enter organic farming?
In the initial stage of my professional career, I worked in laboratories and dealt with chemicals. So, I have an understanding of how chemicals function. Meanwhile, in 2010, I innovated the method of manufacturing alcohol from seed husks and also got a patent for it. While working on the project, I found that there are many nutrients in the processed liquid that can be utilised in agriculture, especially in organic farming. So, I started my journey in 2010.
How many types of rice, fruits and other produce do you grow in your backyard?
I have grown more than five varieties of rice like Basmati RJ-100, black rice, red rice, Kolam, and Telegana Sona, which have a less glycemic index. It means that a diabetic person can consume them without health risk. In addition, I have grown more than 100 fruit plants like dragon fruit, Thai Peru, mangoes, etc.
How will 'Chayitanya' help to solve the choking problem of stubble burning?
I have a permanent solution for stubble burning and have already sent a proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Central Pollution Control Board. Instead of burning agricultural waste, we need to cut the waste into small pieces, spray 'Chayitanya', rotavate the land and apply water on the above soil. In this manner, waste gets composted automatically and becomes a fertiliser.
How agricultural waste can be useful for farmers?
Agricultural waste can be used to produce biofuel. It can be done in the same way as seed husk is converted into biochemicals like fatty acids and alcohols, and finally into biofuels. Secondly, waste can be composed to convert it into nutrient-rich manure. This will not only lead to good yield but also protect the environment and human health.
In what ways organic farming can be helpful?
It's difficult to immediately replace the existing method of agriculture with organic farming as soil has now become more sensitive to chemicals. Hence, we need to make efforts to change it step by step. Due to high use of chemical fertilisers and heavy pesticides in the last few years, soil has become infertile while bugs and pests have become resistant to chemicals. Hence, we now require to spray more concentrated chemicals to protect the crop against pests. Most of the soil in the field has less amount of organic carbon. So, by using organic fertiliser we can increase it.
Do you think the government is doing enough to promote organic farming?
I think the present government has taken a number of initiatives to promote organic farming. They are educating and supporting the farmers to do natural and organic farming. Awareness can help to promote organic farming as many people do not know about it, though they discuss it.
Can organic farming meet the mass demand for foodgrains?
It's difficult to move completely towards organic farming. However, it doesn't mean that it can't be done. It is a multi-layered and time-consuming process. But, if the current trend of using chemicals continues, there will be an increase in diseases like diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems, heart problems and so on.