These Lockdown months hv opened a window into a new world - Farms, Farmers & the Villages that are sandwiched between the wide Farms & Narrow rural roads.
A thread, some impressions. #Khet
It is the Kharif season - cash is king, cash crops is emperor.
The region has sown Soybean, Cotton & Lentil (Tur Dal). Tur dal is more of a space filler interspersed amongst the columns of the cash crops.
Soybean has a short cropping cycle. Much of the crop in this season has been destroyed or has got stunted due to poor quality seeds, unseasonal rains, or crop infections. #Khet
What amazes me is that we debate endlessly about #FarmBills.
Reality is more about a thriving informal, High-cost money-lending mkt for farmers to buy seed & fertilisers.
More than half-way into the 90day cropping cycle, the seeds don’t germinate. #Khet
The Govt does its bit to announce substitutions. A farmer friend, Gaju bhaiyya owns a 2 acre plot & has sown Soybean for the first time.
His plants bear no pods. He stops going to his farm and turns up as a day worker in another farm to take up odd jobs. #Khet
Talk #Mandis - again an alter universe exists.
A visit to an Auction for Soybean at a pvt mandi threw up interesting insights on price setting & quality assessment.
I came back convinced this process wouldn’t last long.
I will keenly follow this over the next few years. #Khet Image
Talk #FarmMechanisation - the only stages there is a semblance of it is at the time of sowing, & at the time of threshing.
Everything in between and after is manually done, by deploying local labour. #Khet ImageImageImageImage
Manual labour is deployed to weed periodically, spray pesticides, harvest the mature pods, assemble them, dry them @ then reassemble them in a huge heap for the threshing to begin. #Khet ImageImage
At the end of this cycle the farmers have reconciled to lesser Soybean harvest, lower quality, but ... are expecting higher prices for their produce (Demand -Supply dynamics and economics trumps everything else).
#Khet Image
Talk prices - the MSAMB website, Agriwatch website all provide daily prices of the crop. The local private aggregator has assured that the price is expected to move up Atleast 30% over the MSP.
All of us wait, storing the grains in a multi purpose shed on the Farm. #Khet
The other and more widely planted Kharif crop, Cotton or Kapaas, will be harvested soon.
The region is covered in a blanket of white over the farms for now, and harvesting is just about beginning. #Khet ImageImageImage
In the meanwhile, the Farms come with joys as well. Like these sights👇
#Khet ImageImageImageImage
Talk #Water ... the region is rain-fed.
Very few plots are either well-fed or are motor pump fed. Not all farm plots strike ground water.
Also the reason why much of Soybean has been destroyed this Kharif season, and cotton growth is also impacted. #Khet
Talk #Approximation - decision making across the process is based on approximation & hearsay. From which seeds to procure to what fertilisers to use to when to harvest.
Wish there was more evident involvement from the local Agri support govt institutions. #Khet
Talk #Approximation - Parcels of farm land change hands across a wide spectrum of price.
An approximated premium is sought & offered for land with water access (read well, borewell) & electricity.
Premium or discount in land deals is beyond the realm of reasonable attribution.
Talk #Water - the MH govt today announced INR 10,000 CR for farmers of the region who have been affected by unseasonal rainfall this Kharif season.
The local paper sensationalises farmer distress, almost trivialising it to slapstick Bollywood lingo at times. #Khet
For folks that watch the season unfold frm the fence, the oscillation is btwn the visual beauty & the visible distress, btwn a desire to contribute to the local community to feeling scraped by members of the same community.
What is steadfast though is that one farm heals 👇#Khet ImageImageImage
Today was a somber one. One of the local farmers who had much riding on his soybean produce threshed his harvest. The beans had all turned black, with excess moisture content.
That’s 3 months of work on a 4 acre farm, with seeds & fertilisers bought on borrowed funds. #Khet
There was much the farmer could have done to save the produce on time.
Faults lie across the chain, but most of all in the Agri ecosystem, for not being standardised at all. The farmers get nil input from the local Agri extension offices. #Khet
The morning cycling trail was a new one today.
As the steepest section of the ghat was left behind, the pleasant brown of jowar crops stood out amidst the green Tur & cotton.
Made a mental note to look up the benefits of sowing millets on soil health
Also uncovered Coffee Pt #8. ImageImage
The #Khet is now seeing the yellow flowers of the Tur crop developing into pods.
The pods look healthy & full.
The farmers are hoping that the Tur harvest will make up for the Soybean disappointment in this Kharif season. Image
Learning .. Liebig’s Law of Minimum.

Soil productivity is limited to the least available nutrient rather than to the ones available in abundance.

The capacity of the barrel is limited to the length of the shortest stave.

Has applications work & life as well.

#Khet Image
These days, the road stretch here gets dominated by the imposing crawl of the “combiner” vehicles.
The Combine Harvesters multi-hat the functions of reaping & threshing.
That these machines are hired from Punjab, is validation of the prosperity of Punjab farmers.#Khet
A new unit coming up on the #Khet. The engineer from the conglomerate shares new methods with the village masons.
By the end of it, the engineer pencils in meaningful suggestions on execution from the mason duo.
Credentials go that far, local knowledge traverses much further ImageImage
A walk around the #Khet ... & life thrives in beautiful ways.
The gourd all the way from Sunder Nursery, the chilli & brinjal from the neighbourhood nursery. ImageImageImage
A visit to the local Krishi store.
We look for Black Chana seeds.
Daftari, Himmat, Vijay, Jaki ..brands on display.
Prices from INR 800-950 for 10 Kgs.
Ask if it is due to diff in yield or irrigation vs non irrigation variety, the vendor says it is “demand & supply”.
The learning potential from the #Khet is oceanic almost.
Over two changing seasons now, monsoons & winter, a new avian world has opened up, and 11 species form a part of my Life List now.
All of them sighted, marvelled at, listened to, and identified. 💕 ImageImage
On #Subisidies.
The learning is WIP.
There are 2 kinds of subsidies - one against credit,that is,it is offered only when the farmer borrows from a FI to spend on any farm related expense, usually for setting up Agri Marketing Infra like storage sheds or silos. #Khet
On #Subsidies
The other is where the farmer is expected to purchase things like farm Equipments on a full payment basis. There is a direct transfer of the subsidy to his bank account after a few months. #Khet
On #Subsidies
The %ages range from 25-75%. The range differs across various areas of spends as well as across gender & caste segmentation of the farmers. #Khet.
We are all implicated in Farming.

Wendell Berry puts it best when he says “Eating is an Agricultural Act”

To be interested in Food but not in Food Production is absurd.

Gum Karaya in the backyard and Sunrise. #Khet ImageImage
A reservoir created to irrigate the farms around the region.
An amusement park & a water park coming up on its banks.
Turns out the MH govt approved developing areas arnd reservoirs for water sports.
Even if it is in the water-starved region of Vidarbha. #Khet Image
Some postcards waiting to come up on some farm walls #Khet Image
On #AgriFinancing. We met a District incharge of a Central Govt lending institution.
“All our schemes & subsidies are tailored to benefit the large land owners.
There isn’t much for the small farmers.”
On #AgriFinancing, a minimum of 5 acres of land holding sought as collateral for almost every rural finance scheme.
More than 85% of farmers in this country have lesser than 5 acre holding #Khet
On #FoodProcessing.
We meddled with the Soybeans.
The beans gave the Soymilk, our coffee & tea lightener.
The Soy pulp gave Okara & Oats cookies.
The Soymilk gave tofu, a roti accompaniment
The Soy husk gave a light particle wood board that excited us much.
#Khet ImageImage
From a Farmer to a Non Farmer

Marte hum bhi hain. Marte tum bhi ho.
Marte hum bhi hain, marte tum bhi ho.
Hum sasta bech ke marte hain,
Tum mahanga khareedke marte ho.
- Sharad Joshi

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