Intensive and Modern Agriculture
Anandwan started out as an all rock, no water, godforsaken wilderness of 50 acres. Today 265 acres of luscious cultivation adorns the 465 acre huge estate.
Someone once offered a donation of wheat to Anandwan. To this Baba exclaimed, "We don't want your wheat, teach us how to grow wheat instead!" Right from when Baba sowed the seeds of Anandwan on this 'outcast land for outcast men', he wished that food crops be cultivated indigenously so that the community would never have to depend on external sources for its most basic requirement.
Even today, this philosophy of independence guides the thriving agricultural practice in Anandwan. As a rule, Anandwan cultivates more than enough vegetables and food grains to last it for the current and coming years. The excess finds its way to the local markets and generates cash that contributes handsomely to the Anandwan Economy.
Thus, from being subsistence driven, agriculture in Anandwan has now become an income generating exercise.
Intensive Modern Farming
The farms of Anandwan produce a huge variety of food crops. These include soy, paddy, tur, wheat, eggplant, spinach, fenugreek, tomatoes, radishes, chilly, cabbage, oranges, bananas, guavas and mangoes to name a few. All this, despite poor soil conditions and unreliable rainfall. The farms employ low-input, organic farming techniques including intercropping and crop rotation to maintain sustainable and affordable agricultural systems.
Intercropping involves the intermingling of two or more different crops on the same field. It is widely recognized as a way to reduce the need for pesticides.
Crop rotation involves planting different crops successively in any given field. It ensures that fields will remain fertile over the long term by preventing the depletion of specific nutrients which would otherwise result from the excessive cultivation of a single crop in a field. Crop rotation also allows farmers to minimize the need for fertilizer and/or compost.
Since 2004, Anandwan has also partnered with Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) for training and technical guidance in advanced techniques of agronomy. The combined team has been working closely in every step of the farming cycle, from preparation of seed beds to transplanting, inter culture, crop protection, etcetera, until final harvest of crops. The results have been outstanding.
|Tur (Red Gram)||16.17|
In 1952, the livestock at Anandwan was worth Rs. 115. In 1985-86, 20 cows and 20 buffaloes comprised the cattle at Anandwan. Today 800 cattle are reared in all the MSS projects purely for milk, fertilizer and agricultural labor. The cattle produce 70,000 liters of milk annually. The community consumes 25,000 liters while the remainder is sold.
The cattle are fed on a unique recipe of high-protein para, napier and gini grass fodder that is specifically cultivated for them at Anandwan. While the protein content in normal fodder is around 3%, the protein content in these grasses ranges from 11% to a high of 27%. Cattle-herders from neighboring areas even sneak in to Anandwan's grounds to feed their cattle on this special fodder because of its high quality and the resulting health and productivity of the animals.
The Maharogi Sewa Samiti also provides pastureland for lame and dry cattle as a humanitarian gesture.