Tomato crop production on saline soil

Soil turned into a fertile one
Tomato crop production on saline soil

NASHIK: Shelke brothers from Shirwade Wakad are an ideal example of how a person can overcome adversity with great willpower. Ramesh Kedu Shelke and Suresh Kedu Shelke set an example for other farmers by growing good-quality tomato crops in saline soil.

The Shelke brothers’ land was very saline with poor water quality. Their land’s salt concentration was extremely high, and they weren’t able to produce any crop in their field. Only animal fodder and wheat grew on this land. Therefore, the brothers weren’t generating decent profit margins. To overcome this obstacle, they decided to work on their soil as they needed to produce cash crops for greater profit margins.

To begin with, they collected water from the Godavari canal and stored it in a tank, thus solving the water crisis to some extent. However, the higher concentration of neutral soluble salts in their field led to the creation of a white layer on the field. The brothers decided to plant tomato crops in their fields. They added two tonnes of cow dung to 25 guntas (27224.9 square feet) of soil and did vertical and horizontal threshing with the help of a tractor. Post threshing, they prepared mud above four feet from their field with the help of vermicompost and other organic fertilizers.

They got guidance regarding this layer from the Shri Swami Samarth Gandul Project (Dhamori). They opted for drip irrigation as it requires less water and stays in the roots. Following the irrigation, the tomato crop was mulched for healthier growth. They selected the seed variety Aryaman of Seminas Company for production. Both farmers avoided chemical fertilizers and used vermicompost and water for plant growth. They sprayed pesticides to prevent crop failure.

Due to their efforts, the crop blossomed only in 50 days. Last year, they produced an average of 1200 tomato crates per acre using the same method. However, looking at the crop growth, their production will increase this year. Through this method, they spread the message that organic farming is the need of the hour and that farmers should switch to organic farming now.

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