After life had come to a standstill for Shivamogga farmer Durgappa Angadi, it was the agricultural practice of integrated farming that saved him from taking his life.
Two and half years ago, the 43-year-old farmer from Sasaravalli village of Shikaripur taluk had hit rock bottom, thanks to the repeated failure of crops and a surmounting loan of ₹9 lakh to be repaid.
Contemplating suicide as the only way out, it was a show on television about a farmer eking profits from integrated farming in Kolar, that stopped the man from taking the deadly plunge. “This gave me new hope as everyone around me was saying farming was a loss-making venture,” Durgappa told The Hindu.
Having nothing left to lose, he decided to give integrated farming a try and learnt the method straight from the experts.
“Within months, my experiment with integrated farming began, and I harvested a bumper yield by growing ivy gourd,” he proudly mentioned. And in 18 months, he could repay the entire loan.
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Following his success, Durgappa began reaching out to struggling and disillusioned farmers and elucidated about integrated farming with the hope that it could probably save someone else’s livelihood too.
At present, the man practices organic farming on two and a half acres of land and hauls in an average annual income of about ₹5.25 lakh. Apart from farming, Durgappa has also ventured into beekeeping and dog breeding.
Acknowledging the man’s achievements, the alumni association of University of Agricultural Sciences in Bengaluru has rounded down on Durgappa along with three other farmers in the state as ambassadors of integrated farming.
Physically challenged 27-year-old Ramakrishna Shavati of Ganaur village of Raichur district, Shabarish Suvarna of Udupi taluk, and H. Sadananda of Tapasihalli are the other practitioners of integrated farming.
Having become famous for their innovative experiments amidst the farming community in Karnataka, the farmers would be felicitated with a cash prize of ₹25,000 each, along with the Dr G.K. Veeresh Endowment Award by the association at an event in Bengaluru on Saturday.
A practice that focuses on sustainability and managing resources equitably, integrated farming is defined as a whole farm management system, which enables the farmers to identify opportunities and threats and act accordingly, and, at the same time, consider consumer interests in their business.
To know more about integrated farming, click here.