Meet the Moon Gazing Farmers of India by Colonel Ajay Ahlawat –
In search of a higher crop yield, an increasing number of Indian farmers are opting for biodynamic agriculture in several states across the country. Take the example of 69-year-old Sarvdaman Patel, of Gujarat’s Anand. Often he can be seen standing in agricultural tracks, at noon, making observations that for a layman could be benign. It’s not the harsh sun that bothers him but the position of the moon. He claims that the position of the moon plays a vital role in the flowering of his crops.
Patel is not one of the astrologists but an Indian farmer, who is using Bio-dynamic agricultural technology to cultivate his crops. Explaining Bio-Dynamic Agriculture, Colonel Ajay Ahlawat said, “This agricultural technique uses the moon’s moment across the 12 zodiac signs in a time span of two-and-a-half days in a month.”
What is Bio-Dynamics Agriculture?
As the name suggests this technology uses the dynamics of life and nature to enhance the agricultural yield. This technique or method applies natural resources and principles to heal and balance the soil nutrient which in turn gives a better yield when farmed. This method of farming works towards treating the farm like a living being, which interacts with its environment and uses it for the development of the humanity. “This method aims at producing a living soil, by increasing its biological activity in accordance with the planetary and cosmic movements. To be precise, a lot depends on the movement of the moon, sun and planets. Their cosmic energies are coordinated in such a way that it benefits the growth of the plants. One can say, that this method provides a completely new holistic approach for better agriculture,” explained Colonel Ajay Ahlawat. However, this methodology is not just dependent on the celestial movement but also relies heavily on natural composts, which the farmer generally has to prepare.
How popular is Bio-Dynamic Agriculture in India?
If you are thinking that this is a relatively new method of cultivation in India, then you are wrong. For this method of agriculture is being practised in India since the late Nineties. According to the Biodynamic Association of India (BDAI), there are about a lakh Indian farmers hailing from Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand, who have been practising this new method of agriculture, which has now spread out to Gujarat. However, most of the consumers buying these crops are least aware of their method of cultivation as they are mostly sold off as ‘organic’ veggies or fruits.
“Several researchers conducted in India, comparing the crop yield of genetically modified crops and the biodynamic crops, have time and again concluded that the crops harvested using the latter technology are more superior. Not just are the quality of the food grains better but also the yields are more stable. And the best thing is that this technology doesn’t hamper the soil quality. On the contrary, the soil quality gets bettered, which in a way facilitated better living condition for the soil microbes,” explained Col Ajay Ahlawat.
Citing the example of Vivek Cariappa, the biodynamic farmer from Kodaikanal, Col Ajay Ahlawat added, “He has been a biodynamic farmer for almost 15 years now. His farm yield has remained almost stable, while those farmers farming using the traditional method have had to harvest not so steady crop yields.”
A fresh convert to Bio-Dynamic farming is Noida’s Amir Ahmed, a corporate trainer and dancer, who in his work zone met affluent but unhealthy individuals. This gave Ahmed the idea of setting up a farm in Noida itself. He thus partnered with a friend to invest in the 1.5-acre farm, where they use Bio-Dynamic technology to crow crops devoid of chemicals.
Get your own Compost
It’s not just the moon-cycle that a Bio-Dynamic farmer has to follow. He also has to invest time in developing a natural compost system, which uses cow manure and other organic matter is fermented in an underground tank and is used as fertilizers. Many farmers use tricks like planting onions next to cauliflowers to not just take care of pest, in a natural way
However, Col Ajay Ahlawat warned, “Bio-Dynamic farming has its own pitfalls too, as it’s a very specialized type of farming which the small and poor farmers will find it difficult to adapt to. The procedure to become a certified bio-dynamic farmer is not just expensive but cumbersome too. However, one can’t deny the benefits of being such a farmer. It thus comes as no surprise to see a large number of Indian farmers turning into bio-dynamic farmers.”
However, despite the benefits, this new type of farming needs to be popularized in a more concerted way, so that the masses can avail the benefits of such method of agriculture, which finally boils down to the gradual elimination of crops cultivated with the help of chemicals from our dining tables.