Tamil Nadu faced severe drought in 2016 and the state witnessed drastic crop failure. There was shortage of fodder for the cattle and in order to survive, most farmers fed dried crops to the animals.
Under this circumstance, Ponvairan at Madurai had excelled in fodder cultivation by adopting a novel method named Hydroponics. The technology involves growing plants in water without the involvement of soil like in traditional methods. The plants are treated in a nutritious medium and are grown in a favourable climatic condition.
With the help of the new technique, the farmer produced more fodder in less space and time and paved a new way for farmers. Ponvairan was a retired employee of TNEB and had taken up farming post retirement.
After learning about the novel technique, he took training under the Tamil Nadu Veterinary University and started the farm work. Speaking to DTNext, he claimed that he has grown sorghum, cow pea, green gram, maize and other plants used as fodder for cattle.
He explained that he initially soaks the seeds in Panchakavya, a manure prepared from cow dung, cow urine, curd and so on, for 12 hours. For 1 kilogram of seeds, 10 ml of Panchakavya is required. After 12 hours, he places the sprouts on a plastic tray filled with water.
The plastic trays are kept in an isolated room which is maintained at a temperature of 28 degree Celsius. The room measures just 180 square feet but it produces the same fodder as cultivated in an area of one acre. Similarly, the plants through hydroponics require just seven days to grow as compared to traditional cultivation methods which require at least 60 days for their growth.
Recently Madurai Collector, K.Veera Raghav Rao, visited his farm and said, “This is a model farm and others would be encouraged to follow in his footsteps.”