HOW WE DO

 

   Supply of seedlings of seasonal crop species:

Date of planting of rain fed cotton, Pigeon pea, castor, etc. is effectively advanced, and the yield doubled, if seedlings are raised in plastic bags during the summer season, and transplanted at the onset of monsoon. The same technique can also be used in sugarcane.

 

 

   Tissue culture:

Low cost tissue culture uses pressure cooker, air cooler and jam jars instead of autoclave, air conditioners and Pyrex or Borosil ware, respectively. Rainwater serves as source of distilled water. A laboratory producing just a few hundred plantlets per week costs less than Rs.5 hundred thousand to set up. The ex vitro plantlets are used only as mother plants, which are multiplied in a nursery under exclusion of pests and diseases, and the second or third generation is sold to farmers. The cost per plant can be reduced drastically in this way.






   Farming on permanent raised beds:

Raised beds made of a mixture of sand and soil are laid on a plastic film. All the soil related limiting factors (wrong pH, soil compaction, salinity, nutrient deficiency, poor aeration, weeds, pathogens etc.) are eliminated in this system, so that plants respond well to fertilizers. Using three times the recommended dose of fertilizers, along with the necessary micronutrients, we get three times the yield in most crop species. Capital cost of the system is Rs.50 per sq.m and the annual running cost is Rs.5 per sq.m. Net annual profit ranges from Rs. 100 to Rs.250 per sq.m., depending upon the species under cultivation.

 

 

 

   Low cost greenhouse:

The primary function of a greenhouse is to provide plants with additional carbon dioxide. Neither heating nor cooling is required in peninsular India. Carbon dioxide is produced by green plants during the night, and by soil microorganisms all the time. Being heavier than air, it accumulates near the ground. If the crop is surrounded by a skirting of plastic film, one gets the typical greenhouse effect with increased yield. The top of this greenhouse is kept open. Per acre cost of a conventional greenhouse is Rs. ten to twenty million per ha. Our greenhouse costs just a tenth of this.

 

 

 

   Bamboo for outdoor structures:

Biodegradation of bamboo can be retarded by impregnating it with a mixture of sodium dichromate, copper sulphate and boric acid. Such bamboo poles can replace steel as a structural element in outdoor structures like scaffoldings for grapes, greenhouses, fences, and even water tanks, reducing their cost by almost 90%. The impregnation kit costs less than Rs.2,500 and the chemicals cost about Rs.2 per pole. As a crop too bamboo is very paying, yielding about Rs.5 hundred thousand per hectare every year.

 

 

 

   Using sea water for irrigation:

If sea water is used regularly for irrigation, even salt tolerant plants are eventually killed, because the salinity level of the soil gradually increases as the water evaporates. Growing plants on raised beds of sand, and irrigating them daily with sea water to flush out the accumulated salts in the root zone, allowed cultivation of many economically important species (e.g. coconut, Casuriana, Prosopis juliflora, Thespesia populnea, Salvadora persica, most of the mangrove species) with sea water irrigation.

 

 

 

   Shampoo powder from pods of Acacia auriculiformis:

A process has been standardized for making shampoo and soap based on saponins from the pods of Acacia auriculiformis. Chemically, the saponin from this species is identical to that from Shikekai (Acacia concinna).

 

 

   Growing root drugs in sand beds:

If plants are grown in channels filled with sand or gravel, the roots grow horizontally in the channels, instead of growing deep into the soil. This system allows the entire root biomass to be harvested and the roots are devoid of soil adhering to them. In some cases, a part of the roots can be harvested without destroying the plants.

 

 

 

   High intensity cultivation of cattle fodder:

Hybrid Napier grass, planted on artificial raised beds made out of sand-soil mixture and provided with all the necessary mineral nutrients, yields 10 kg green fodder per sq.m., once every 40 days. Thus a raised bed system of just 80 sq.m. allows harvest of two sq. m. every day, to obtain daily 20 kg green fodder, which is enough to feed a buffalo or a hybrid cow giving 10 litres milk per day, or a monthly income of Rs.2500 to 3000.

 

 

 

   Sewage disposal through irrigation of timber and fuel wood trees:

Irrigating a tree plantation with domestic sewage is not only cheaper than any of the modern sewage treatment technologies but also profitable because of the income from the timber. Under Maharashtra conditions, a hectare of tree plantation can evaporate daily 100,000 litres of water. One must use evergreen trees in this system, so that it is functional throughout the year.

 

 

 

   New method of irrigating tree plantations:

Water is given to trees by a drip irrigation system, but it is delivered 50 cm below the soil surface, with the help of a rigid plastic tube, about 50 cm long and about 12 mm wide, embedded vertically into the ground, near the base of a tree. A micro-tubule of the drip system is let into this tube. This method of irrigation prevents evaporation of water from the soil surface and there is also no weed growth. Doubling or sometimes even quadrupling of the growth rate was observed in trees watered in this way in comparison to those receiving the same quantity of water by the conventional drip, which wets the surface of the soil.

 

 

 

 

  Improved biomass burning stoves:

In traditional rural mud stoves, only about 10% of the total calorific value of the fuel is utilised towards cooking, while in the stoves developed by ARTI, almost 30 % of the energy gets utilised for cooking. Professional stoves designed for one particular function, and developed for a particular pot and a particular fuel, record a fuel use efficiency of even 40%.

 

 

 

   Utilisation of sugarcane trash:

Every ha of sugarcane produces about 10 tonnes of dry leaves (cane trash), which are just burnt in situ. By using an aerobic composting process, the sugarcane trash can be converted into a peat substitue for use by the plant nursery industry. Alternatively, the trash can be charred in a special charring furnace and converted into fuel briquettes.

 

 

 

   An autotrophic system for hairy root production:

Petioles of leaves are stimulated to produce roots. Due to lack of any other organs, photosynthesis produced by the leaves produce only roots. Such leaves, provided with mineral nutrients, water and sunlight, have a life of about 3 to 6 months. After senescence they are harvested and the roots are processed to extract the secondary metabolites.

 

 

 

   Low cost water tank:

Construct a 120 cm tall palisade structure by embedding vertical bamboo poles, at a distance of 60 cm from each other, along the periphery of an area marked on the ground. Top surface of the marked area should be smoothly plastered. Fix a continuous galvanised iron sheet of 120 cm width within the palisade and fit a piece of plastic film into this space. The tank, thus formed, is filled with rainwater after just 1200 mm of rainfall. Cover the tank with another sheet of plastic film. Cost of a tank of 25,000 litre capacity is just Rs.12,000.