Times of India news
Publication: The Times Of India Mumbai; Date: May 30, 2012; Section: Spl Report; Page: 15
Nair’s Farmville spreads the message of organic farming
Gayathri Sasibhooshan/ George Adimathra
Kochi: For most residents in Peyad in Thiruvananthapuram, S Chandrasekharan Nair is just another farmer who cultivates rubber alongside a variety of cash crops at his six-acre plot. Nair, however, has his own Farmville on the internet. Blogging under the tag ‘Kerala Farmer’ (http://keralafarmer.wordpress.com/; http://keralafarmeronline.co m/lang/en/) since 2000, Nair is an amazingly rich source of information to farmers across Kerala on methods and techniques of rubber cultivation.
Nair’s blog talks about all that one should know about rubber cultivation. It deals with soil quality, marketing of the product, daily updates on price, and statistics on production and consumption. But the point that Kerala Farmer focuses on is green farming. Nair also urges the farming community to stay away from unscientific use of fertilizers.
“I started blogging because I wanted to share what I know about farming with others. I posted about farming techniques which I am familiar with and those that I learned while growing up. The fact that I was not an agricultural scientist but someone who actually reaped success at the fields must have convinced and pulled in surfers into my blog. Discussions are often lively and, to be honest, I also pick up new techniques from fellow farmers,” he said.
The 63-year-old farmer wakes up at 5am and spends a minimum of five hours online. He admits his English was poor during the initial stage of blogging. But, then, as in the field, he worked hard. Now he blogs in three languages —Malayalam, Hindi and English.
Nair tweaked the successful Thumburmuzhi model of waste management in Kerala to make it more cost effective. In the original model, cow dung is used as a source for microbes. But Nair used the slurry from his biogas plant and succeeded in turning waste into manure within 12-13 weeks. At his farm where coconut, tapioca and other vegetable crops are cultivated along with rubber, he makes sure he uses only ‘green’ manure.
IT professional across the state helped him learn the blogging techniques. He makes use of social networking websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to spread his rubber gospel.
Total area of cultivation in Kerala (2010-11) — 5,34,228 hectares Total production in Kerala (2010-11) — 7,70,580 tonnes In Kerala, rubber is generally grown in midlands and highlands. A majority of the cultivation is concentrated in Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Idukki districts. Kerala provides 90 per cent of India’s requirement Production all over India (2010-2011) — 8,61,950 tonnes Consumption all over India (2010-2011) — 9,47,715 tonnes Sheela Thomas, chairman, Rubber Board, says natural rubber production has gone up by 4.3 per cent during the financial year 2011-12
WHAT IS TMACT?
Thumburmuzhy Model Aerobic Composting Technique (TMACT) is a cost-effective and eco-friendly waste management system ideal to deal with garbage in Kerala, where biodegradable waste contains high moisture content. So, the best option is composting or turning it into biogas. TMACT can be set up for a large communities for just Rs 8,500, says its pioneer Francis Xavier, faculty, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Xavier claims TMACT does not release methane or results in odour.
The plant with a cement floor and wall with gaps in between should have a roof to prevent the waste from getting wet. After laying wet cow dung up to 6 inches on the cement floor, a layer of biodegradable waste, including livestock waste, can be laid which again should be topped with cow dung. The layering process should continue till the plant gets completely filled. The energy produced due to bacterial o growth creates a 75 C environment inside the plant that prevent flies from laying eggs. Since the moisture content is only 60%, the composting process will not create any odour.
RUBBER SOLUTION: In his blog, S Chandrasekharan Nair talks about all that one should know about rubber cultivation