Odisha-based Dilip uses an innovative method to grow potatoes using agro-waste, helping to put an end to stubble burning.

In a conventional method, the hardest part of potato farming is extensive ground preparation. The soil is harrowed to remove the weed roots completely.

It takes multiple rounds of harrowing, rolling and ploughing before reaching a suitable soil condition to accommodate the seed potatoes or tubers.

In Dilip’s method, levelling and tilling are not needed. The tubers are planted on the soil at a distance of 10 inches in a row and the distance between each row is 1.5 feet.

“After planting the tuber, cover it with compost comprising cow dung and kitchen waste. Sprinkle fertiliser around the compost and spread the layers of paddy straw above it,” he says.

After seven days, water the field. For maintenance, water every 20–25 days, and allow the tuber to germinate.

The tuber will use paddy straw to climb and it will grow at least 15 inches tall. It takes around 75 days till the final produce is ready, explains the 52-year-old farmer.

This method reduces water usage by 80%. “Paddy straw is superior when it comes to holding moisture for a longer period, so the water requirement is less,” he adds.

“The quality of the potatoes is as good as the ones grown conventionally, and I am fetching the same price. In fact, I am saving money on labour costs and water,” he says.

Seeing Dilip’s successful implementation, close to 100 farmers have learnt the technique from him.