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Against all odds, still proud to be farmers

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: The second day of Krishi Mela at the Gandhi Krishi Vijnana Kendra (GKVK) campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences saw four progressive farmers being felicitated for their bold and successful experiments in farming at a time when agriculture is not a preferred occupation for most.

The winners of awards instituted in the name of the late M.H. Marigowda, one of the pioneers in horticulture research — B.S. Aravind, Ravishankar Hanumantappa Udagatti, Tammiah and Virupamma — come from different corners of Karnataka. But all of them have taken to sustainable organic farming whatever be the crop they are cultivating.

While Mr. Thammaiah from Ramanagaram grows ragi and tur in his four-acre plot using organic manure, Mr. Aravind from hilly Chikmagalur region grows coffee and pepper also using organic methods. Mr. Udagatti is also an exporter of agri products. Ms. Virupamma has successfully adapted integrated farming.

There was much exuberance and colour on the second day of the mela, with farmers from many districts flocking to the 500-stalls set up and people turning up in thousands.

Underlying the enthusiasm of farmers were also many apprehensions about where agricultural sector is headed, with unpredictable rain, fluctuating prices and increasing input costs weighing heavy on their minds. The most dominant worry of medium and small farmers seemed to be shortage of labour.

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