Khaira: Organic farming is the trend of the hour as many individuals across the country are choosing to grow their food, instead of buying vegetables grown with the use of pesticides from markets.
Sulochana Rout of Garsang village under Khaira block in Balasore district has taken up a unique method of farming which yields good harvest.
In her backyard, spanning no more than a few hundred square feet, she has adopted aquaponics —a technique that connects pisciculture with organic farming.
Besides a sizable monthly income, she gets fresh, organic ingredients for her self-sufficient kitchen.
Sulochana, a homemaker, found that her husband’s income was not sufficient to meet the expenses of her family with their two daughters growing up. She decided to be self-sufficient and started browsing options to earn from home.
“I always had a knack for gardening and farming, so I started to look into farming methods. After two years of painstaking research, I interacted with an association named World Fish Organisation to know the techniques of fish farming. Members of the organisation told me that aquaponics can be a suitable option for me. From then I have started aquaponics in the field in our backyard where paddy was cultivated earlier,” recalls Sulochana, while talking to Orissa POST.
Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics (cultivating plants near water bodies) in a symbiotic environment.
Sulochana, has brilliantly replicated this method in her farm. She produces various indigenous species of fish and vegetables like yam, ivy gourd, bitter gourd, millet, turmeric as well as spinach, brahmi (water hyssop) chillies, cabbages, cauliflower, potato and corianders.
The journey has not been a cakewalk for her. First, the locals brushed her idea aside as a ‘joke’. But her own efforts with the support of her husband, encouraging words of the sarpanch and financial help and training of World Fish Organisation have made her a successful farmer.
When asked if she needs help from the government, Sulochana said if the government gives her financial assistance she will dig her two ponds further for bigger space.
She has earned Rs 18,000 this month after meeting her household expenses.
Sulochana wishes to popularise her initiative throughout the state, where thousands of lakes and water bodies are lying unutilised. She believes that such a widespread endeavour will multiply the state’s produce manifold.