Successful unlettered India farmer never buys seeds- has nearly 50 local varieties of seeds of korra, kandi (toor dal), pesara (moong), makka (corn), jonna (jowar), nuvulu (sesame), bebbari, minimu, animu among others.
Hyderabad, India: One of Anjamma's greatest strengths is the diverse variety of seeds of millets and pulses she owns. The unlettered farmers has nearly 50 local varieties of seeds of korra, kandi (toor dal), pesara (moong), makka (corn), jonna (jowar), nuvulu (sesame), bebbari, minimu, animu among others.
Ms Anjamma, winner of the AP Biodiversity Board award for preserving agri-biodiversity, said, "After harvest, the best seeds are kept aside for planting for next season. I never buy company manufactured seeds."
Not just this, she gives the seeds to other farmers too, not for money but in exchange for double the amount of seeds she lends, after the harvest season.
The seeds are stored as per traditional method with ash in a cane basket, topped with neem leaves and sealed with a mixture of cow dung and mud. "The seeds stay fresh and insect free for more than a year this way," Ms Anjamma explained.
Asked about farmer suicides, Ms Anjamma said, "Those who do not do multi-cropping and are dependent on cash crops are taking dangerous risks. Many farmers go for one cash crop, spend thousands in inputs like seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. If the crop fails, they have no choice but to commit suicide." Ms Anjamma does farming on four acres of land where she has planted 14 varieties of seven types of millets and pulses along with gongura, the leafy vegetable.
She said, "The crops selected are such that if one fails due to some climatic change, there would be another which can withstand it and give us a yield."
The government's contribution in Ms Anjamma's success counts as nil. The only help she received was from the Deccan Development Society, an NGO, in the form of buying her produce at the right price and providing interest free small loans when required.
Ms Anjamma said, "The investment in our farm is almost nil. We have our own bullock, we till the land, sow crops and harvest crops ourselves. There is almost nil outside investment. Most of the food is consumed at home and whatever is extra is sold in the market. Everything in the farm is used, from crops to husk and even grass which grows as weed. It is possible because we do not use chemicals in our field." Her son too wants to continue with rain-fed organic agriculture of millets.