Raju Ganiga, 53, is a public works department inspector in Karnataka and an innovative farmer.
He cultivates paddy, areca, and coconut on his farm in the coastal town of Kundapur via traditional farming methods, as reported by the Bangalore Mirror. But, it’s how he chooses to grow okra, or ladies finger that is interesting – in cement bags.
Raju fills the bag up to a feet with mud and manure and sows the seeds in them. Cement sacks are made using a resilient type of plastic and are able to survive rough filling, conveying, and loading conditions. These sturdy sacks prevent water stagnation and are ideal in regions that receive heavy rainfall.
The technique’s success is proven by the fact that this is Raju’s fifth year of cultivating okra.
Ganiga told BM, “I first saw my younger brother growing okra in cement bags and had heard about this method of cultivation. Before the monsoon begins, seeds are sowed and by the time it begins to rain, the plant will begin sprouting.”
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Raju grows his vegetables organically and says the produce is healthy as a result. “The crops are healthy and the produce has been good. During the first harvest, I managed to get about 20kg. Initially, the vegetables fetch a good price up to Rs 60 a kg, but the price reduces gradually. We need to look after the plants like our children. Even a small worm could damage the entire crop,”he said to BM.
A former officer with the Central Reserve Police Force, Raju says cultivating vegetables on his own has taught him a thing or two. “Agriculture teaches a lesson for life. You stop depending on others and it teaches you to share the produce and encourages you to spend more time at home,” he says.