Treading solar-powered paths to fulfil his green dreams
Mysuru farmer sets up first-of-its-kind natural rice and millet processing unit
Stretching the concept of natural farming by a step, a progressive farmer in Mysuru has established a rice and millet processing unit energised by solar power on the outskirts of the city.
Reckoned to be the first of its kind, it reduces carbon footprint and does away with consumption of energy generated through conventional norms like thermal power that entails burning coal.
For M.K. Kailash Murthy, who took to natural farming nearly two decades ago, establishing a rice mill energised by solar power was a long cherished dream.
“I thought about it for a long time. I cultivate paddy through natural means and on distribution to the public it enters the rice processing mill where it is processed. But, the electricity fuelling the mills were conventional. I wanted the last step – processing the paddy before distribution – to be eco-friendly too to make the produce fully natural,” he explained.
He sold his property in Mysuru city and used the funds to establish the processing unit with 95 solar panels that generate 30 kV power.
“I invested ₹22 lakh on the rice processing unit in Varuna on the road to T. Narsipura,” Mr. Murthy said.
Being an experiment, he was dissuaded from investing the huge amount on his green dreams by well-wishers. “But, my wife Brahamaramba reposed confidence in my venture and backed me,” he said, crediting her for the successful completion of the project.
Not only is the process of rice cultivation natural, but even processing is through natural energy.
“Besides the high nutrition content, the rice is less polished than what is generally sold in the market,” Mr. Murthy said.
Source of inspiration
A bank officer, Mr. Murthy plunged into farming after retirement. He was inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution’, which is recognised as the pioneer of natural farming concepts that entails no tilling, ploughing, and chemical inputs to soil, and precludes the use chemical insecticides and pesticides.
Once the rice is processed for the year, the solar power generated is also used to dry horticultural produce for preservation and value addition. Interested persons can contact Mr. Murthy on 9880185757 for more information.
Mr. Murthy has turned the economics of agriculture upside down. He managed to harvest paddy despite unprecedented drought using minimal water this year.
Under natural farming methods, only 25% of water usage is sufficient, he explained, refuting the common belief that paddy is a water guzzling crop. His method has drawn curiosity as well as appreciation from scientists, many of whom have visited his land in Madarahalli and Doddinduvadi near Kollegal, where he cultivates fruits and vegetables under natural conditions.
At a time when farmers are abandoning agriculture, Mr. Murthy is among the few who have trod uncharted terrain and triumphed, holding out hope to millions of farmers groaning under the crisis of increasing input costs amidst decline in agricultural income.