METHODS:

 
Methods promoted under CMSA are blend of scientifically proven technology, local wisdom, and, farmers’ innovations. Over a period of time these methods are building good ecology where there is a balance between friendly insects and crop pests, and this is leading to reducing the costs on pest management to ‘zero’. Further, the focus is on building life into the soil by adopting various recommended practices, such as monocot - dicot crop combinations, multilayered poly crop system to harvest maximum sun light, mulching, creating enabling environment for local deep borrowing earth worms, efficient composting techniques and by using dung based inoculants paving way to reduce and eventually eliminate chemical fertilizers. Extensive use of Azolla in Paddy fields has reduced Urea usage drastically.

CMSA adopted Non pesticide management (NPM) approach for plant protection. NPM is the first step in CMSA. The ultimate step is natural and ecological farming, without any external chemical inputs. The main principle underlying NPM is that pests can be managed by understanding their behavior and lifecycle. The emphasis is on
prevention rather than control. A comprehensive strategy is evolved for pest management. These include: deep summer ploughing, community bonfires, seed treatment, bird perches, border crops, trap crops, yellow and white plates, intercrops, light traps, pheromone traps, delta traps in Ground nut, Alleys in Paddy, Cutting of the tips in Paddy at the time of transplantation. The above practices are called as ‘non-negotiables’ and are mandatory for all NPM farmers. The application of botanical extracts is only as a last resort. These non- negotiables have been adopted on a large scale.

CMSA considers soil as a living organism and bank for crop nutrients. Focus is on building soil microbial activity. Every crop removes substantial amount of nutrients. However the share of grains would be in the range of 15%. The core principle of natural soil fertility enhancement is to return the crop residues to the soil, either directly or through animal route during the crop period. To sustain the productivity level, the nutrients removed by the crop have to be replenished. Mulching, incorporation of straw and other crop residues into soil will replenish the soil. Role of earthworms is critical in soil fertility management. CMSA adopted three pronged strategy to enhance earth worm activity in soil: elimination of chemical fertilizers, adopting mulching and application dung based inoculants.

Animal dung has been traditionally viewed in terms of N, P, K, and it has been argued that it is insufficient to replenish nutrients in lieu of chemical fertilizers. As a matter of fact animal dung should be viewed as inoculants that kick start microbial activity, to release nutrients in soil. Recycling of crop residues, which have 85% of the nutrients extracted from the soil, coupled with inoculation with dung and urine as microbial inoculants (1gr of dung contains 3 X1023 microbes) releases the nutrients locked up in the soil, in addition to facilitating decomposition of other crop residues applied to soil.

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