“Farmers regard their farm land as their mother, but in their greed for a rich yield they poison the same mother.”
This is what the recent State Government-instituted Krishi Pandit awardee Vivek Cariappa and his wife Julie Cariappa had to say.
The Cariappa couple are strict followers of organic farming and they have been quietly doing so for over two decades now. While Vivek Cariappa studied in Delhi and Rajasthan, Julie Cariappa is from Mysore but got herself educated in the US and European countries right from the age of seven. Having roamed around enough abroad, Julie wanted to come back home to India for good. Her marriage to Vivek Cariappa only strengthened her resolve to settle in the quiet environs of the State, farming. That’s how the Cariappa couple landed in H D Kote 21 years ago.
In their effort to realise their dream in farming, the Cariappa couple bought about 28 acres of farm land near Halasoor in H D Kote and began their life as agriculturists. While about 19 acres of their agricultural land is irrigated through well water, the remaining 9 acres of land is solely dependent on rains.
Though it did not take long for the Cariappa couple to realise that agriculture is not a profitable venture, they did not fall into the trap of employing modern methods of farming with the use of fertilisers and pesticides to up their yield. They stuck to their belief that fertilisers and pesticides were as good as poison to their land.
Every well meaning farmer should switch to organic farming for long-term economic, health and ecological benefits, feel the Cariappa couple.
“It is quite ironical that the very same officials from the Agriculture Department who poked fun at my organic farming practices chose me for the prestigious Krishi Pandit award,” says Mr Vivek Cariappa.
However, he is happy that organic farming is slowly getting popular with an increasing number of farmers realising the benefits of organic farming.
“Cautiously, but with conviction, some farmers are switching to organic farming, and bidding goodbye to chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The negative effects of the use of chemical fertilisers has slowly dawned on them. As also the fact that organic farming helps cut costs. People are also going increasingly organic as they are aware of the health benefits of consuming fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains grown the organic way,” says Mr Cariappa.
The Cariappa couple uses a variety of natural products like vermi-compost in place of chemical pesticides and fertilisers. They do not even market the produce as soon as its ready but wait for the price to be appreciated before it is taken to the market. They say they haven’t suffered any losses because of this ‘wait and market’ policy of theirs.
The Cariappa farm has a good number of wild trees too, while the couple has accorded equal importance to ecological balance also.
In her free time, Julie Cariappa makes natural dyes for which she has received no training. “Experience is a great teacher,” she says. As if an extension of her belief, the two sons of the couple – 18-year-old Kabir and 14-year-old Azad – do not attend formal schools. Only 16-year-old Sukanya, the couple’s adopted daughter, goes to the Lion’s School in Saragur.
As the Cariappa couple say, over and over again, farmers should bid farewell to the pesticide-driven, 250-year-old modern method of farming and embrace the just 10-year-old organic method of farming.
It is a real pleasure to employ organic methods of farming, a pleasure that even awards and accolades don’t give you, say the Cariappa couple.