Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

Mixed Farming saves 200 Indigenous Varieties Of Tuber Crops

Adopted mixed farming in three acres area, saved indigenous varieties


Slowly, now the farmers have started experimenting with the traditional methods of farming. Mixed farming is also a form of the same. In this, several crops are planted in the field at the same time. Suppose you have cultivated fruits, then you can grow vegetables and spices as well. Farmers can also plant more than one grain at the same time, all of which require the same type of soil.

By doing this, the land of the farmers is not only put to good use, but if one crop fails due to any reason, it can be compensated by the other. In this way the farmers get some or the other income throughout the year. Shaji NM, a farmer from Kerala, adopted the model of mixed farming in a natural way and this almost doubled his profit.

Mixed farming model 

Shaji NM, a farmer from Illathuvayali village in Wayanad district of Kerala, started mixed farming with 3 acres of land. Out of this, he planted tuber crops in one acre. Different varieties of rice were grown on 9 acres of land taken on lease. Shaji NM practices organic mixed farming and is growing other vegetables and fruits along with tuber crops.

‘Tuber Man of Kerala’

Shaji NM is working to save crops like ‘Tuber’. He conserved some 200 types of tuber crops, including suran, sweet potato, Chinese potato, colocasia, arabica and cassava. He has sown 40 varieties of turmeric and 30 varieties of ginger in his field as well as protected them. Not only this, he is also conserving many plants with medicinal properties. Shaji NM has expertise in the cultivation of tuber crops. He is also known as the ‘Tuber Man of Kerala’ for his works.

tuber crops
Image Credit: Manage

Natural farming practices 

Shaji NM did not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, but completely adopted the techniques of natural farming. He practices zero tillage, mulching, vermicomposting, use of cow dung for manure, organic herbs like tobacco decoction and neem oil for pest management.

With the help of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra team, farmers are informed about the materials used in natural farming. Regularly conduct its test as well. In addition, participates in exhibitions and fairs to popularise many varieties of tubers. He provided 10 kg of seeds to the farmers with the condition that he would return the seeds to them next year. Due to this, the farmers were inspired to make seeds themselves and the dependence on the market kept decreasing.

tuber crops
Image Credit: Manage

Benefits of natural and mixed farming 

Spraying of botanical extracts to prevent pests and diseases reduced their outbreak. These include 200 varieties of tuber, 40 varieties of turmeric and 30 varieties of ginger. Also popularized natural farming techniques like Panchgavya, Jeevamrit etc. All these efforts reduced the cost of cultivation.


Shaji NM has benefited around 800 farmers every year through training. He was awarded the Indian Biodiversity Award in 2021 for his contribution to agriculture. Earlier in 2015 also awarded with Plant Genome Savior Award, State Akshayashri Award, State Kairali People TV Kathir Award, State Biodiversity Board Awards. Apart from these, he has also been awarded the Kerala Agricultural University Award.

tuber crops
Image Credit: Manage

How much increased profit? 

The cost of cultivating tubers in the traditional way used to be around Rs 3 lakh, while the same cost came to Rs 2,80,000 in natural farming. The net income in the traditional method was only Rs 40,000, while in the natural method it increased to Rs 90,000, that is, more than double. 

Also Read: Lilium Cultivation: Amenla of Nagaland made her hobby business, know what is special in Lilium flower

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