Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taming Monsoons - Season 2..

Last year, I had posted a blog on directing some of the rain water through channelization to avoid soil erosion and flooding of cultivated land. In case you missed it, you can find it here. We have been taking steps to further control the adverse effects of the much needed monsoons and thought of sharing some of our progress thus far.

Last month, we de-silted the channels. Excess gravel was used to make bunds along the channel bordering Melia Dubia plot (to let the water go beneath rather than flowing into the channel). Of course, this would be a problem when there is excessive rain and Melia Dubia trees (close to the bund) would be waterlogged. In that event, pipes would have to be placed under the bunds.

We have had a couple of good showers this week, which gave us an opportunity to evaluate the water flow and stagnation points and accordingly prepare before hitting the main monsoon season.
Another improvisation that was made this time was 'compartmentalization ' of the channels. A stretch of 4 feet deep channels were followed by a foot deep trough (10 feet long). This was done to enable filling of 4 ft deep compartment before flowing into the next compartment and retain as much water as possible and replenish the underground water table.

Water flowing into one of the 4 ft deep  compartments.

A 4 ft trough filled almost to its maximum holding capacity in a 45 min shower.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Melia Dubia, a year later!

Last August, we had planted 5000+ Melia Dubia saplings. A year later, most of the saplings have been able to grow into young, sturdy trees with an average height of 10-11 ft (although some of them are as high 15-17 ft). External inputs have been minimal. Biannual manuring has been followed and irrigation given once in 5 days (40L at a time). No chemicals or fertilizers have been used except Humic Acid on the weaker ones.

Following are the pictures of our Melia Dubia plot a year later. 

To give you a reference, where we were last year, check out the archives.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Moringa at 6 months

Moringa trees turned 6 months first week of August. So far the growth has been great with the plants reaching an average height of 6-7 ft. Regular organic sprays have kept the pests under control as well.

Flowering started in exactly 5 months. So far we have noticed flowering/fruiting in about 10% of the plants, we hope to see an increased flowering in another month or so. Irrigation has been reduced from once in 3 days to 5 days (however the quantity has increased 40L to 100 L)

First flowering seen at 5 months. 

Fresh moringas at 6 months

A closer look..

Just pruned...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mega scale farming in Ethiopia

April 2008. The government of Gambela state in Ethiopia had invited Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi to discuss his offer to lease 100,000 hectare for farming. Karuturi's expectations of a deal going through were so low that he sent his public relations officer Ashok Sharma and some  lawyers for the meeting. The managing director of the world's largest rose exporter, the Rs 645-crore Karuturi Global (KGL), had better things to do with his time than take a 700-km ride from Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa for a deal that seemed unlikely to materialise.

But his father, Karuturi Surya Rao, promoter of a Bangalore-based cable maker, and also chairman of Karuturi Global, offered to join the troupe. Though the deal seemed unlikely, Karuturi senior was worried about his son's soaring ambitions and wanted to make sure that no undue risks were being taken.

As it turned out, Karuturi was both right — and wrong. The state would not offer 100,000 hectare (ha). Instead, it wanted him to take 300,000 ha (or 741,000 acre, an area twice the size of the National Capital Territory of Delhi) on a 99-year lease at 20 birr (about $1.5) per ha per annum.

Read the complete article  here