Empowering Change: Organic Uncle’s Journey in Local Innovation


Pragya Pokhrel

Diverse groups of local people and communities seems to be exploring for alternatives to the current situation that makes easier, technologically advanced, and more efficient. A highly brilliant individual, Chandra Prasad Adhikari also known as Organic Uncle is also working hard on exploration who lived in the village of Shreepur, Chitwan, and was born into a farming family. He has delicately collected and preserved nature's valuables. He says that he has been involved in the agricultural profession from a young age and has been doing agricultural work professionally since 2032 BS. By 2048 BS, he noticed that there were more pest and disease issues and that the soil quality had decreased due to the use of chemicals. After that, he restricted the use of chemicals and started organic farming since 2049 BS, and along with the expansion, he registered an organic agricultural production center in 2058 BS. According to him, local innovation is the ability to manage issues in a simple and compelling manner while working, and these innovations are created to address issues that already exist. He has used innovation to handle problems in an easy and convincing way while working, and these innovations are born to solve existing problems. Here, I have highlighted his local innovations in organic Farming.

Due to the overuse of pesticides, it has harmed humans and the surrounding environment. So, Chandra Prasad is moving towards organic agriculture, which is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Also, antioxidants last longer in organic crops. Different types of organic fertilizers have been made by using local resources, waste materials at the local level, like vermicomposting, herbal compost, basket compost, the rearing of black soldier fly, dung and urine collection from cattle, etc.

Protected Vermiculture: Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is a simple technology for converting biodegradable waste into organic manure with the help of earthworms, making the soil healthy and fertile, and increasing water resistance capacity as well. It saves earthworms from insects, rats, and predators as well. It facilitates the preparation of vermicompost, which is crucial for the growth of plants. For small-scale vermicomposting, just one type of earthworm, the red worm (Eisenia fetida), was utilized.

Cattle shed improvement and urine collection: An improved shed with a drain is made so that it can collect urine and use in crops so that it can be used to protect against different types of disease and insect pests. Cattle urine is regarded as a good substitute for mineral fertilizer. Only 40% of the nitrogen emitted by cattle is found in the dung; the other 60% is found in the urine.

Herbal compost: Different types of herbal plants from the garden are used to create herbal compost. According to him, in this decomposing herbaceous plant container, three rings is created. On the bottom portion of it, an iron grid is created with 1.5-inch holes. After three to four months of adding rotting material from above, the manure begins to settle in the lower area. Because of this, appropriate waste management is made possible on the one hand, while the usage of this fertilizer aids in the prevention of diseases like nematode, damping off on the other. He said that these fertilizers continue to work well when placed in nursery beds.

Basket compost: Compost is made using baskets, particularly when compost manure is being produced. It is created by burying a bamboo or wooden pole on all four sides, forming it into a basket-like structure, and preserving layers of compost and mud in the center. This is suitable for the Terai region.

Black soldier fly rearing: Black soldier fly larvae can be mixed into feed for fish and poultry as a protein source. BSF can be reared to decompose biological wastes and is still in the pilot stage in partnership with the National Innovation Center, Agriculture and Forestry University, and the Organic Agricultural Production Center. According to him, by consuming the rotting organic waste that is giving us issues, the fly is generating a source of high-quality protein, and the trash it emits is high-quality organic fertilizer. In our large cities, waste management has grown to be a major issue. Without a doubt, BSF farming will serve as the foundation for making this issue a reality. This culture can, even if only a little, lessen the quantity when various items are imported in the form of millions of proteins.

Local seed conservation and seed bank: According to him, Due to the fact that the practice of exchanging local seeds is decreasing day by day and the practice of buying imported seeds is increasing, this has harmed the seed conservation status. Even the remaining local seeds are becoming infected with pests and diseases from imported seeds, and the people are becoming dependent on other seed sectors and agro-vets. Due to the declining Nepalese agricultural system, local seeds are on the verge of extinction, and there is an increase in the use of hybrids and GMO seeds, which are imported from outside of Nepal. So, to solve the problem, Chandra Prasad has been working on the conservation of local seeds.

After learning that local crop varieties are disappearing during the agricultural training, he felt that Nepal should be self-sufficient in rice seeds, just as the powerful nations have taken possession of fertilizers and other seeds. Therefore, wherever he went from East to West Nepal, one of his tasks was to ask the locals for seeds for conservation. For this, more than Rs. lakhs have been spent annually. Therefore, he has been collecting rice seeds at home since 2064. By 2077, he had collected 114 varieties from all over the country. He provided 110 seeds to the National Gene Bank, NARC, Khumaltar, Kathmandu, in 2077.

Rice cum fish farming: The output of rice has increased by around 10–15% as a result of common carp species specifically eating weeds and depositing manure there. The cost and benefit of rice, fish, and simply rice cultivation were contrasted. Rice-fish farming has an overall cost of 1, 03,500 rupees per hectare and a profit of 48,900 rupees. Rice farming has a total cost of 92,500 rupees per hectare and yields a profit of just 9,400. The margin difference between the two farms was 39,500.

A safe inlet and outlet were created in the Rice cum Fish farming field. Use of a "V"-shaped outlet structure to control water level. Similar to this, nets are employed to keep fish from escaping from the water entry and outflow when they are raised in paddy fields. According to him, nets were employed to stop this because while the water level is high, water may flow, and when it drops, little water is drained and fish can escape.

Rainwater collection on the roof: During the rainy season, he has made rainwater collections that help in pond water deployment for fish farming. The rainwater collection tank facilitates effortless pond cleaning, effective fish gathering, and water flow to the pond without the need for energy.

Mulching: A trial of different mulching materials was applied in the field. The plastic mulch was used during the winter season, and dry grass or crop residue was found appropriate during the summer season. Mulches retain moisture in the soil, improve the soil's nutritional status, and reduce weed growth in agricultural plants.

Improved Plough: Chandra Prasad has modified a traditional used plough into a new-shaped plough, which is useful to make ridges, raise beds, and earth up.

Safe net: Due to the problem of insects and other animals, he thought of designing a safe net with the help of galvanized wise mesh that was used to protect the grains from those insects or other animals while sun-drying.

Seed conservation: He reports that tomato seeds were conserved by hanging the seeds using pahadi kagaj (varieties with notes on the date of placing), particularly in tomato seeds.

Seed Germination: He has made it plant-friendly by taking into account the quantity of moisture from the banana plant stem for germination of seeds, as opposed to utilizing polybags and growbags.

OPM (organic pest management) was conducted in Shreepur village, first as a learning platform through his organic learning Center. Then, after farmer school was extended in Kalika Municipality sponsored by Action Aid Nepal, it was stated that this approach was conducted in Sponge gourd (Ghiraula).

Organic Sunflower production: As a test, he claims to have made between 10 to 11 lakhs by growing sunflowers organically. As a method of organic gardening and a learning strategy, this has increased domestic tourism.

Magur fish farming was carried out using the organic method. To manage the waste of the home, fish were grown and frogs were raised by feeding the same fish, and when the number of fish grew very well, they were fed as food, and the production was also going well.

Reflection: He claims that many people from Nepal and other countries come to his farm for a variety of purposes, including to finish their thesis, OJTs, internships, and other programs, as well as to understand and learn about the techniques used in farming and regional inventions. On the research projects, IAAS, AFU, and other institutional organizations are cooperating as well. While local bodies and organizations do not show care over the documentation of new creative ideas, Chandra Prasad and members support fairs for the recognition of locally produced innovations and offer a variety of training sessions to empower youngsters. He has developed a platform where different farmers, entrepreneurs, and young people may learn and develop unique ideas for better promotion.

(The author is pursuing an Msc in agriculture from TU and she can be contacted at pragyapokhrel456@gmail.com)


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