I went to visit the Pravin Chordia’s Chinchni farms as a part of our Science, Techology and Ecology class. Pravin Chordia by sheer grit and dedication has taken up around 200 acres of barren land at Chinchni to turn it around to a fertile soil with the organic farming inspired by the ideas of Shripal Achyut Dabholkar.
The idea here is to do a multi-level farming by incorporating as much varieties of plant species as possible. It helps to enrich the soil, as different kinds of plants give and take different kinds of nutrients. The various levels are planted this way. Fruit trees and immobile plants are surrounded by movable vegetable plants which are further supported by the biomass plants. This creates a bio-diversity, which makes a forest-like ecosystem, thus there is a symbiotic growth of all plants. You can find an odd sunflower, rose, teak, spinach, tomatoes, papaya, mangoes, curry leaves, henna, and just about anything. Diverse needs of the people are also kept in mind, for example, Eucalyptus for bio-mass; or Teak, Sandalwood as cash crops, mangoes for economic returns and fruits to be self-sustaining.
The soil is made fertile by a process in which 9 alternating layers of ordinary soil and biomass are made. The biomass is covered by a soil heap and then diverse varieties of seeds are planted to regenerate the soil. After 21 days one-third of the plants are cut and kept in soil and this process is repeated thrice, which enriches the soil and makes it ready for farming.
The experiment has proven successfully that a 10Gunta or a one-fourth acre plot can support a whole family and also provide them with a decent living. Truly, we undermine the potential of the soil but it is a living soul which is like a mother to the mankind. The use of chemicals over the years has made the soil sterile, which could be enriched again only through Organic Farming, or farming which is compatable with nature. Man should realize that he is a child of the nature not the master. I hope its not too late before it dawns upon him.