Organic Farming

 
 

Mana encourages rural development through the implementation of organic farms and farming practices among Indian farmers. Organic farming is a sustainable approach to agriculture that integrates knowledge and practices from traditional farming, ecology, entomology, and soil science. It avoids the use of modern farming chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizers, and focuses on using natural, local ingredients for pest control, and improving soil fertility. This helps to maintain the natural ecological balance as well as contributes to farmer communities becoming more self sufficient and less dependent on commercialized industrial inputs.

Mana Organics is focused on improving several aspects of regular Indian farms :

Organic Crop Production:

With the continuous use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the soil fertility can be greatly compromised. Mono-cropping (the production of one type of crop) can degrade the soil and attract pests. In order to avoid this cycle of soil degradation, we give our farmers expertise in the following areas:

  1. Organic Fertlizer use : preparing/storing different types of organic manures and compost, along with the methodology for application
  2. Intercropping: This is an organic farming method that entails planting two or three crops in close proximity. With strategic planning, this method can help to deter pests, boost the flavors of some fruits, and attract bees for enhanced pollination.
  3. Crop rotation: A farming method used for centuries, this technique accounts for a yearly rotation of different types of crops on the same plot of land in order to boost soil health. For example, planting green manure plants, such as legumes, returns nitrogen to the soil; rotating between deep-rooted and shallow-rooted crops can enhance the soil structure; alternating between fruit-producing and root-producing crops can deter the build-up of pathogens.
  4. Biopesticide/ biocontrol use: in addition to trap crops and integrated pest management, we make biocontrols and biopesticides (allowed under certification), available to our farmers for resilient pest attacks. These products are fungicide based products that do not leave any toxic residues in the plants or the environment, and target only specific species of insects, and hence are better for the biodiversity compared to the chemical pesticides.

Organic Inputs:

A healthy soil is the foundation of a successful organic farm, providing vital nutrients and helping prevent pest and disease infestation. In order to boost soil fertility, we focus on the addition of several types of nutrient-rich organic matter:

  1. Standard aerobic compost: This is a mixture of decomposed plant material, cow dung, and soil that helps add organic matter to the soil and increase soil drainage. The compost is also inoculated in order to help boost soil microbial populations.
  2. Azolla compost: A mixture of straw and decomposed Azolla caroliniana , an easy-to-grow waterfern which contains high amounts of nitrogen. The resulting compost is very good for adding nitrogen to the soil.
  3. Vermi-compost: Composed of cow dung, whose decomposition has been greatly accelerated by addition of earthworms, vermicompost helps increase soil organic matter. It also increases both nitrogen and micronutrient content, both of which are required by healthy crops.
  4. BD 500 : is a biodynamic preparation that helps increase soil microbial population.
  5. CPP: is a biodynamic preparation that helps increase soil fertility and plant health.

Self-Sustained Systems:

Proper, efficient management of available biomass is important in any farm. We focus on managing both the generation of new, useful biomass, as well as the proper care and disposal of organic waste in order to ensure that no outside resources are needed and no waste output is generated.

  1. Biomass Generation: Planting fuel wood and green manure tree species in non-productive, vacant lands can provide raw material for compost generation, as well as a source of firewood for farmers/workers. The biomass can also be converted into biochar to be used as a direct soil additive.
  2. Organic Waste Disposal: Establishing an efficient collection system for all waste materials (including cow dung, grass clippings, and fallen branches) can allow conversion into compost or biochar.

 

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