Laxmikant Hibare a resident of Kalaburagi, in Karnataka, only have degree till 10th but that didn’t put an end to turning his ancestral land into a green haven.
A land that lay desolate and barren 12 years ago is a lush green three-acre equity that Laxmikant Hibare (41) is incredibly proud of today. A citizen of Kalaburagi, in Karnataka, Laxmikant calls himself a progressive farmer.
By way of using organic agricultural methods, his farm has close to 850 sandalwood and red sanders trees, 800 drumstick trees, 225 Java plum trees, 49 Lucknow guava plants, 225 Thai Mosambi trees, 225 Grapefruit (red orange) trees and even 125 Mahogany plants.
By utilizing organic agricultural techniques, his farm has near to 850 sandalwood and red sanders trees, 800 drumstick trees, 225 Java plum trees, 49 Lucknow guava plants, 225 Thai Mosambi trees, 225 Grapefruit (red orange) trees and even 125 Mahogany plants.
Laxmikant has a will of steel he toiled himself to turn barren land into lush green farmland is one of undeterred willpower.
Laxmikant has to quit his studies after 10th due to his monetary boundaries .His father was native of Maharashtra, moved to Karnataka many years ago to settle down. “My father had a total of seven acres of land, of which only about three acres was fertile and cultivable. As the years went by, the land was divided between my father and his brother, and what remained with my family was barren land,” he said.2009 was the year when Laxmikant decided to try on the barren land that was a part of his family.
He said “People mocked me and were certain that nothing good could come out of working on a barren piece of land. Since they had not seen anything grown on it for years, they assumed nothing would,” But his will to do something and his commitment mark a difference .
“I went back to the basics – I started off by levelling the land. The process took close to a fortnight but that helped lay a good foundation for what I wanted to achieve,” he says. Simultaneously, he also started working on providing the soil with the much-needed nutrients and fertilisers. “It is at this point that I understood the importance of using organic fertilisers. While the initial results with using chemical fertilisers was great, it needed a lot of monetary input and the yield also started to decrease with the quality dipping significantly,” says Laxmikant.
“Moving to organic fertilisers is amongst the best decisions I took for the development of the land,” he says. Laxmikant consulted the officials at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), especially the Principal Scientist Dr Raju Teggali, who he says helped him through various stages. “It was on their advice that I learnt all about forest farming and started growing crops following their instructions,” he adds. Forest farming is a type of agroforestry practice characterized by the “four I’s”: intentional, integrated, intensive and interactive. Agroforestry is a land management system that combines trees with crops or livestock, or both, on the same piece of land.
These included sandalwood, amla, mahogany, moringa and various citrus fruit trees. There is ample space between the trees, and seasonal fruits and vegetables are grown in between the trees. “The sandalwood trees that line the farmland are an investment I have made for the future. The seasonal vegetables and fruits earn me a good return for now,” he says.
“With our region [in Karnataka] being prone to severe water scarcity, I knew I had to find alternate methods for irrigation on the field. I wanted to ensure that I had good yields with having to use minimum water for the same,” says Laxmikant. He chose drip irrigation to work with on the field. Around the years, he has also managed to regain consciousness one pond on the field and has also designed borewells across it.
Laxmikant also has a rather innovative way of reaching the customers and selling his produce. He says, “I find it easier to directly sell to the customer. This way, the middleman is completely eliminated and I get a sense of what customers are actually looking for. I am part of a few WhatsApp groups where customers directly deal with the farmer to buy the produce.” Laxmikant serves close to 1000 customers via WhatsApp and says that some stores in and around the village also stock up on his fruits and vegetable produce.
“I got into farming because it was the need of the hour but now I try to get school children to work on the farm and experience this. It is very important that the next generation shows interest in this and take it forward,” says Laxmikant, whose daughter, Shrishti Hibare, can often be found lending a helping hand on the farm. “It makes me very happy to see her and other kids showing interest in agriculture,” he signs off.