About the initiative

It started in around May 2010 when I was looking for purchasing a house in the Village of Nanguneri, near southern tip of India. I had some money from the proceeds of selling a 1BHK house in Mumbai city. While on the lookout, I took the opportunity to visit the outscrits of my village to appreciate the nature. Enroute, on a two wheeler, my broker showed me some pieces of land just as matter of passing interest. Suddenly I stopped and reversed my gear. Why not purchase some land and do agriculture which I was holding very dear to my heart for long?  Having born in Ooty, I was naturally accustomed to appreciate nature. I always seek windows seats while on travel and keep gazing at endless fields and hues of green. But how do I manage farming from 1300 Kms away ? With mixed bag of thoughts I took no decision, returned to work back in Hyderabad.

Since then I was reading many books, watching agri films, contacting people and trying to arrive at a ‘model’. Initially I wanted to do precision and scientific farming after watching few youtube clips and reading MS Swaminathan book of “From Green To Evergreen Revolution”. I got more questions than answers.  I also chanced upon videos of Dr Vandana Shiva.  The quest took me to various reports which gave different views about modern farming practices. Very soon I realised, that is not the way to go. Modern farming practice is more destructive, non-sustainable and resource consuming.  (What I brought through flipkart for 1135 rupees, I recently i sold the book to an old paper merchant for Rs. 5/-). I started reading from following sources/books on Organic Farming, simple books on dry land farming etc.. by various authors

  1. Zero Budget farming by Subhash Palekar 
  2. Brought books from CIKS, Vikatan
  3. Agriculture CDs from Indian Agrifilms on over 20 titles
  4. “The One-Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka
  5. Youtube clippings of vandana shiva
  6. Youtube compilations of govt of Kerala (Kissan) especially on diary farming by Danish Majeed
  7. Attended Agriculture exhibitions, workshops, bio diversity conferences (Hyderabad)
  8. Sponsored my farmer friends to visit Agri training on organic farming by KVKs
  9. subscribe to Pasumai Vikatan all books, Follow very closely the success stories, keep notes.
  10. Grow around 50 species of plants in my home balcony,
  11. Experiment preparing Panjakavya in Hyderabad city and observing plant responses to various lighting conditions, create mini drip irrigation facility etc…
  12. Follow all newspaper clippings, create a collage.
  13. Visit various farms on road side where possible.
  14. “Silent Spring” written by Rachel Carson
  15. Follow publications of Al Gore including “An Inconvenient Truth” and others.
  16. Various Blogs like Point Return, Agriculture for everybody etc.

It is clear that Chemical farming has more or less killed the biodiversity of the country, destroyed traditional seeds and the age old procedures. Generations of farmers have been brainwashed into believing faster turn around of crops using synthetic fertigation, deweeding and resource intensive farming practices enticing them with higher profitability, sacrificing sustainability of ecosystem and the livelihood of locals.  The money mongers who exploited our natural resources (read soil biomass) during the initial years of green revolution from Punjab, West Godavari and other places have already migrated to advanced countries earning millions, leaving behind acres of barren and unproductive soil for those who stayed back.  These are suffering cancer and committing suicides.  Recently I even saw Govt has setup a cancer atlas, while doing nothing to build hospitals. They still travel in Cancer express from Bathinda to Bikaner.
Borewells are now much deeper (sometimes 1500 feet and no water) and search for food are systematically forcing people and the government to import from other countres like china and Africa. Combined with dramatic global climate change, local politics, exploitation by middle men, systematic exploitation done by Global companies, it will not be surprising if people in India are forced to live on only imported edibles.

On the other hand, India has moved away from manufacturing into Services, thanks to BPOs and software houses who have produced two generation of youth who have no expertise other than handling trouble tickets, copy paste and forward, NIL on innovation and entrepreneurship.  Information technology that is perceived today is completely different than what it was supposed to do. IT has become more commoditised, outsourced, skillsets have been broken into pieces where one boy/girl is specialised into only one thing at any time, just as it is found in Medical field. Plenty of computing power is wasted to achieve meager work.

IT has become more modular, structured and frameworked. IT is further made to look more complicated because of the need for security and high availability. Those who have not been tracking the history of IT would feel very confused or overwhelmed.  Good things also happened like most of the complexities have been hidden behind the human interface. Today the consumer of IT services need to have no knowledge of interface, just a finger is enough to operate computers and get all their benefits. An ordinary user can fully enjoy the potential of today’s technology without absolutely knowing what is behind it. That is where the problem starts as well – of killing the very spirit of innovation. A consumer cannot ask questions.

On the career front, IT guys are loosing their charm. The box selling vendors will successfully ensure there is no accumulation of skillsets without getting billed. Ensure there is no free knowledge distribution. Salary and comfort have increased, but there is an emptiness of unaccomplishment, pendancy every passing day. The insecure feeling, a vaccum in mind, that we are not giving back to society, that we are just pawns in the hands of consumer companies, builders, MNCs and political setup, that we are not actually what we are supposed to be etc pass the mind every day over the current generation. It has been proved again and again that your privacy, earnings and skills are not for you, but destined to be exploited by the long arm of Market consumerism.  There are MNC giants behind everything, even deciding what you eat, dress and how you behave.  With bigdata coming in every gesture you make will be  tracked, interpreted and opinion formed about you.

We see pretention, presentation and perception management more than true and hard work. We seek fake claims, make careless mistakes costing lives (refer bus accidents), purchase substandard chinese quality (knowing fully well), accept adulteration of drugs, milk and food,  encourage poisoning of foods (pesticides, hand-wash, zero bacteria everywhere), needless traffic (peer pressure to move around), artificial price hikes (future trading of Onions, potatoes), pressure from cosmetic companies (Miss universe), schools charging high fees (Fancy curriculum), Club activities collecting money every day quoting various reasons (parents are milking cows), etc. It is but natural that someone like us want to lead a simple, predictable life away atleast partially delinked from the above. use our own brain and sleep every day with a sense of satisfaction that we have done something positive to this generation, this planet atleast by keeping quiet.

With the backdrop of these thoughts, I decided that I will do farming for the next 30 years. The farming initiative whether it will mature success or not, it has already started giving me complete confidence, self respect and made me thing wide. First time I am able to understand my environment, good from bad, the condition of poor, dignity of rural folks. I am training myself  to identify trees, plants, various animal species, inserts, microbes. i have read inspiring books ranging from Algore to Bhaskar Save (mentioned above). I always have a talking topic.  RadhamuraliFarms (RMF) was born.

RMF in Nochikulam will operate with two wings – for profit and for non-profit.  The For profit will produce organic food and supply to households.  The non-profit wing will be called Srivaramanga Goshala and shelter stray cows, eradication of micro-nutrient deficiency in neighborhood and protection of dis-owned roadside trees besides environmental issues. 

RMF will do water management, farm cooperative societies, create seed banks, eliminate micro nutritional deficiency in neighbourhood and employ more manual labor (Organic farm). There will be bullock carts and bulls in our farm. Tractors will be minimal and tilling will be less.  Dignity of Agriculture as a profession will be established.  Young wards of Agriculture families, IT professionals who had to migrate to cities for their livelihood will have reason to come back. Professors, students and research scholars will have ample freedom to work on the fields to test their hypothesis.

RadhamuraliFarms will be Organic and support Multispecies !!!  It may also have extensions to include or support handicraft making, nursery, centralised food processing (Catering), Storage, Medicinal Plants, Native food cooking demos and other activities as appropriate to villages. RMF may also encourage eco-tourism on the farm.  Please refer to Vision Page for more details.

– Narayanan Alwar