Quality is an important consideration at every stage of farming our products. The farmer sanghas whom we work with make sure that their members do not use any sort of chemicals during any stage of farming. Only organic manures, pest repellants and growth promoters are used in their fields. The volunteers from Timbaktu Collective assist the farmers and make sure that the farmers find help when they need it and in this way make sure that the produce is completely organic.
Organic soil fertility management methods
Our farmers follow practices like multi-cropping and crop rotation to preserve soil fertility. They prepare organic tonics for the soil like Jeevamrutham, Panchagavya and Amruthpani made from locally available material, like neem, castor, cattle manure.
Plants for biomass are grown around the fields and compost pits are used to make fertilizers out of this biomass.
Pests are controlled by using organic pest repellents like neem and methods like summer ploughing. Mixed cropping also helps in reducing pest attacks.
Watershed Development projects have been initiated to harvest and store rain water.
In summer when there is not much farm work the farmers spread sand on top of these slabs in the cattle shed so that the sand gets soaked in the urine and gets enriched. This sand is stored in bags and used as urea. This is called as Rythu Urea (farmer urea).
Organic pest and disease management methods
Neem oil that is supplied by the sanghas is sprayed for seed treatment and for controlling pest aphids. Neem seed kernal extract, cow dung and urine solution, multiple leaf (jilledu, kanuga, neem, vavili, vyari bama etc.,) extracts are some of the pest and disease management measures used.
To stop top soil erosion, farmers are informed about the importance of land development work. Farmers have taken up extensive bunding works through Timbaktu Collective’s watershed development programme. Besides all these, the farmers have been motivated to build earthen bunds in their fields wherever necessary to avoid erosion and conserve the fertility.
Timbaktu Organic not only focuses on production but also on storage and marketing of the produce. To make sure that the farmers get a good price for their produce and also to make sure that they do not get cheated by middle men Dharani provides storage, processing and marketing facilities.
Storage & Processing
All produce is kept in chemical free store-rooms. Organic pest repellents such as neem are use when required.
Other techniques such as sun drying, winnowing, light traps and red soil treatment are also used. We use an appropriate mix of manual as well as mechanical methods in the processing of our products. Storage of organic produce is a challenge and Dharani has been successful in finding out chemical free methods to store organic produce.
Oil is extracted using the cold pressed or Ghani method, which preserves the flavour, aroma and colour along with several nutrients, that are normally lost during chemical refining of the oil.
During procurement, Dharani makes sure that the farmers get a good price for their produce. The villagers themselves weigh the produce and sell at predetermined price. Dharani also gives the farmers a 5% premium on the sales prices agreed upon mutually.