For the past 16 years, 69-year-old Sarvdaman Patel has been using biodynamic (BD) techniques on his farm in Gujarat’s Anand district. According to The Times of India, the BD cultivation calendar is based on the moon’s movement through each zodiac every two-and-a-half days and covers all 12 signs every month.
It turns out that Sarvdaman is not the only one. About one lakh farmers in India practice this kind of farming. However, this practice is not something the consumers fully understand.
Hence, the produce is sold under the ‘organic’ label.
Farmers who practice biodynamic farming don’t only follow astronomical signs; they also rely on natural composts—BD 500 is recommended—which is cow manure packed inside a female cow horn and buried in the ground 40-60cm deep in autumn, reports TOI.
Vivek Rawal, CEO of bioRe, which is a research and manufacturing institute, says that according to their research, BD farming provides a better quality of foodgrains and more stable yields compared to other systems. It also improves the soil quality.
Vivek Cariappa from Krac-a-Dawna farms in Kodaikanal is another biodynamic farmer who has been practising this form for the last 15 years. He says that his yield has remained stable compared to conventional methods. He grows seasonal vegetables, pulses, cotton and indigo. According to TOI, he says, “Consumers should make an effort to find the source of what they eat or use.”
This practice also has its shortfalls. It is a very specialised form of farming and requires material and skills not easy to acquire, especially for small-time farmers. Plus, certification is complex too. However, farmers who swear by it, continue to practice it and find it more beneficial than conventional practices.