The SJI organized a day’s training at Rekhay for 50 farmers from Martang, Domphu & Rekhay villages in seed saving and grafting. Another training was also conducted at Gayzor for 27 farmers from the neighbourhood in organic farming and compost making. The trainers were local progressive farmers.
Traditionally farmers grew their own seeds and were self reliant. Most framers continue to do so, especially for the crops that they traditionally grew. However, with changing farming pattern there are imminent risks of diminishing agro-diversity and growing dependence on the Government for seeds. This in turn makes farmers insecure. High quality, high yielding and weather, diseases and pests resilient seeds are one of the most important materials for farmers. Seed saving is central to sustainability and food self sufficiency, especially with climate change and food safety.
Trainer M.C Gurung from Morong said, “Monitoring the field and keeping daily record are necessary for growing healthy vegetables for sale and for producing good quality seeds”.
Trainer Jamtsho from Layrong said, “It is often tempting to grow our own orange tree, after eating a particular good juicy orange. Trees grown from these seeds, will not give you the same orange you have tasted or the trees may not bear fruit for many years. The best way to produce good-quality fruit is to grow seedlings from them and then attach, by grafting from trees that are known to be good producers”.
A common problem in farming is always lack/shortage of compost. Farmers generally say, “Compost making is extra work” but progressive farmers say, “Compost making is extra income”.
Trainer Tshering Gyelpo (popularly known as Ata Daza) encouraged the farmers to take up composting.
Organic farming works in harmony with nature by not using chemicals. Organic farming aims to achieve good crop yield without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it. Some of the techniques told to farmers on organic farming include:
- Using compost
- crop rotation
- green manure and legumes like rice beans or Dhaincha (Sesbania bispinosa)
- mulching on the soil surface
- good cultivation practice
- encouraging useful predators that eat pests
- using natural pesticides like Artemisia and marigold
Samdrup Jongkhar Dzongkhag is generally chemical fertilizer and pesticide free. Hence, training farmers on compost making and bio-pest management have been a priority for the SJI. Next month, trainings will be conducted for farmers from all gewogs in Samdrup Jongkhar Dzongkhag by an expert from Navdanya, India, on seed saving, soil conservation, pest management and compost making.