Nation Current Affairs 12 Jul 2017 Going green: Farmer ...

Going green: Farmer instals solar panel, cultivates sugar-free rice

Published Jul 12, 2017, 6:31 am IST
Updated Jul 12, 2017, 7:36 am IST
The organic way of farming has not just reduced his dependence on electricity, but also enhanced the productivity.
Solar panels at Devaraj’s field. (Photo: DC)
 Solar panels at Devaraj’s field. (Photo: DC)

Chennai: At a time when the agricultural yields are declining, owing to the increase in farmer suicide cases, a 70-year-old farmer from Ponneri has a success story to share. Meet E. Devaraj from the Sinnakavanam village of Ponneri in Tiruvallur district, who has embraced solar energy to cultivate sugar-free rice.

A woman sprays natural fertlizer in the field.A woman sprays natural fertlizer in the field.


The organic way of farming has not just reduced his dependence on electricity, but also enhanced the productivity. Devaraj who has been in the eco-friendly style for the last 5 years told Decan Chronicle that it is a way to sensitise many farmers into it.

He has purchased solar panels from the agriculture department at the cost of Rs 3 lakh, for which the government pays a subsidy of Rs 2 lakh.

The farmer, in his 3.5-acre field in the village, produces two varieties of rice – Karuppu Kavuni and NR9 sourced from Gujarat and Thanjavur.

“I bought 10 kilos of NR 9 variety for Rs 1,200. People warned me that the variety would not sustain due to the change in the weather conditions. But I tried,” he recollected.

The yield has been threefold. It was the same with the Karuppu Kavuni rice, which is predominantly used as gruel. “ I bought 36 kg of Karuppu Kavuni variety. The yield was a total of 925 kg,” the farmer said, with a pride in his voice.

His cultivation involves zero use of artificial fertilisers. Devaraj prepares his own fertilisers through a paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies. “Before sowing the seeds, I soak the seeds in the leaves of neem, ground nut and cow dung. During the period of cultivation, I spray natural fertilisers,” he explained.

Devaraj sells his yield directly to the public, as a co-operative society is more than 30 km away. “But there is a need for a cooperative society in our village, for those who want to sell it here,” he opined. So how did he go eco-friendly? He attributes the reason to Rafidullah, a Minjur agricultural department official, and  Nammalvar’s follower Sundaraman for showing the path.  

Devaraj is well known among his customers not just for selling the rice at a minimal price, but also for distributing the saplings of Costus igneous ( a medicinal plant that treats insulin) with the rice bags.