Indigenous farming practices and permaculture, Madurai India

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The Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development (FRSD) in Madurai, India received a AUD1,000 grant from Permafund in 2014. Here is some of what they implemented with the grant. It is very warming to know that indigenous practices are being actively promoted and embedded withing permaculture farming practices.

Objectives of the project

  1. Formation of a Network of non governmental organizations and progressive farmers in rural Madurai district of Tamilnadu, India.
  2. Motivate the network to promote permaculture in their regions after proper training on permaculture, organic farming, native tree planting and forest gardening.
  3. Reduce ecological footprint and conserving local biodiversity by promoting permaculture by non governmental organizations and farming community in rural areas targeted by educating them through training workshop.

Some of the activities undertaken

Preparing Panchagavya

Preparing Panchagavya

Farmers in our rural areas were educated on natural farming using indigenous farming practices using locally available resources like medicinal plants, cow dung, etc., which is called in Tamil language the PANCHAGAVYA. Practical demonstration on preparation of the Panchagavya has been started in some of the local farm lands near Madurai by our organization. It is an organic fertilizer and organic pesticide best suited to our geographical condition. Therefore, FRSD, our organization has decided to educate farming community in all our rural areas on the use of Panchagavya for protecting soil and crops so that the causes for soil degradation is stopped and the harmful effects of synthetic fertilizers and harmful pesticides are avoided. Human health will be safe when we return to Nature.

Organic farming and its techniques are thankfully back in fashion. Unlike us city dwellers, lives of our forefathers were organic by default. They had many techniques and ways which made them lead their lives in harmony with nature. Panchagavya is one of them. Panchagavya’s benefits range from plants to humans to animals.Panchagavya in made from five products derived from the cow and its name- Panchagavya comes from the Sanskrit panch meaning five and gavya meaning cow. The main ingredients of Panchagavya are cow dung, cow urine, cow milk, cow curd, and cow ghee. But in an effort to improve the recipe and reduce the odour, water of tender coconut, bananas, toddy juice and sugarcane juice is added.

The uses of Panchgavya are many. In animals Panchagavya stimulates the production of antibodies hence building the immune system. In humans, it has been reported to increase appetite heal wounds and cure diseases like Psoriasis and white patches.

In this article I will discuss about the magical properties of Panchagavya for plants. Panchgavya has the following chemical composition:

  • Ph 6.02
  • EC 3.02
  • Calcium- 1000 ppm
  • Phosphorous- 4310 ppm
  • Nitrogen- 6650 ppm
  • Sodium 4310

Panchagavya, an organic product has the potential to play the role of promoting growth and providing immunity in plant system. Panchagavya consists of nine products viz. cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd, jaggery, ghee, banana, Tender coconut and water. When suitably mixed and used, these have miraculous effects.

  • Cow dung - 7 kg
  • Cow ghee - 1 kg

Mix the above two ingredients thoroughly both in morning and evening hours and keep it for 3 days: Cow Urine - 10 liters Water - 10 liters

After 3 days mix cow urine and water and keep it for 15 days with regular mixing both in morning and evening hours. After 15 days mix the following and panchagavya will be ready after 30 days.

  • Cow milk - 3 liters
  • Cow curd - 2 liters
  • Tender coconut water - 3 liters and Jaggery - 3 kg
  • Well ripened poovan banana – 12 nos.

Physico-chemical properties of Panchagavya revealed that they possess almost all the major nutrients, micro nutrients and growth harmones (IAA & GA) required for crop growth. Predominance of fermentative microorganisms like yeast and lactobacillus might be due to the combined effect of low pH, milk products and addition of jaggery/sugarcane juice as substrate for their growth.

There will be yield depression under normal circumstances, when the land is converted to organic farming from inorganic systems of culture. The key feature of Panchagavya is its efficacy to restore the yield level of all crops when the land is converted from inorganic cultural system to organic culture from the very first year. The harvest is advanced by 15 days in all the crops.It not only enhances the shelf life of vegetables, fruits and grains, but also improves the taste. By reducing or replacing costly chemical inputs, Panchagavya ensures higher profit and liberates the organic farmers from loan.

 

Words by S. PARAMANANDAN, Chief Functionary, FRSD

 

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