Rationality of Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge/Practices
India is a land where agriculture is the main industry. Varied people are using different agricultural practices. Few of the important are documented below:
- Plot to plot bunding and terracing of sloppy lands.
- Ploughing the fields in March-April.
- Ploughing the fields after every effective shower.
- Finger millet is cultivated as mixed crop with black gram and cowpea.
- Sowing of paddy and finger millet are normally done in line, on the occurrence of first
- Low land paddy sowing is done in June-July.
- Number of seedlings per hill in transplanted rice is generally 3-4 and that of finger millet is
- Seedlings of rice and finger millet are transplanted at the age of 25 days and 20 days
- Neem leaves are kept along with seeds for protection against storage pest.
- Farmers dry the grains before sowing them.
- Apply Cissus quadmngularis to correct alkalinity.
- Apply neem leaves to correct alkalinity.
- Apply neem cake to correct salinity.
- New garden land and old wetland will yield better.
- Wetland demands intensive care than garden land.
- Red soil is suitable for continuous cropping.
- Instead of ploughing broadly, plough deeply.
- Deep ploughed garden lands conserve more moisture.
- Plough four times for garden land and seven times for wetland.
- Summer tillage ensures good crop.
- Achieving fine tilth is better than applying cattle manure.
- Plough deeply and sow thickly.
- Sow in the right season even if it is a quality seed.
- July is the optimum season for growing cotton.
- Crops applied with orgahic manure grow healthy.
- Apply goat manure for first crop and green manure for second crop.
- Cattle manure will provide nutrients to the succeeding crop also.
- Goat manure benefits the crops grown in the same season.
- Crop without weeding is not a full crop.
- Cyperus rotundus will destroy the farm family.
- Continuous drizzling leads to the occurrence of more number of pests.
- Put Vitex negundo or Pongamia glabra leaves to control moths.
- Application of kitchen ash reduces the attack of aphids on beans and vegetables.
- The poor prefer sesamum and rich prefer banana.
In the following pages few 0f the indigenous practices for medicinal plants are described:
Areca nut (Areca catechu): (1) A paste is prepared out of Strychnos nuxvomica leaves and
tender coconut water in equal proportions and used as an effective insecticide on areca nut.
This is being used by the Farmers in Karnataka. (2) The farmers in Andaman, In order to
protect areca nut seedlings from the adverse effects of salt water beneath the soil, farmers
plant them shallowly. (3) The farmers in Karnataka spray cow dung slurry over the areca nut
seedlings in the nursery once or twice a week to control common pests and diseases.
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum): The Farmers of Karnataka use the leaves of Strychnos
nuxvomica are mixed with cow dung and applied to the cardamom plants to destroy root
Castor (Ricinus communis): (1) One kg. of puffed sorghum is spread around the boundaries
of the field to attract the birds which feed on castor semi loopers also. The farmers in Gujarat
use this practice. (2) Two kg. of neem leaves are soaked in 2-3 lit. of goat urine and then
distilled. About 500 ml. of this distillate is diluted with 15 lit. of water and sprayed over
castor to control semi looper (Achaea Janata) and is being used by the farmers in Gujarat.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera): (1) To prevent rats from climbing coconut trees, a large palm leaf
is split along its mid rib; one set of leaflets is wrapped around the trunk below the crown and
the other set is wrapped in the opposite direction. It is being used by the farmers in Maldives.
(2) By placing fine coral gravel in the crown of coconut trees, the rhinoceros beetle is deterred
from burrowing and feeding, used by the farmers in Maldives. (3) To control flower shedding
in coconut, salt is poured on the apical portion of the flower buds and also spread at the root zone and given plenty of water, used by the farmers in Andhra Pradesh. (4) The base of coconut trees is covered with coconut fronds to prevent direct sun from drying out the stem and to keep the base cool. Also the leaves decompose and turn in to organic manure used by the farmers in Andaman and Nicobar. (5) The liquid extracted from opium plants (Cannabis sativa) and the latex extracted from Ficus spp. are mixed together and poured in to the hole of rhinoceros beetle. This makes the beetle come out itself and it can be collected and killed. This practice is being used by the farmers in Karnataka. (6) To check dropping of immature nuts, a trench is dug at 4 feet distance from the tree and filled with 5 kg. of neem leaves and 25kg. of green leaf manure and covered with soil. Such practice is being used by the farmers in Karnataka.
Coffee (Coffea arabica): (1) Farmers in Dominican Republic use Allium sativum and Carica
papaya as fungicides against coffee rust. (2) The farmers in Tanzania, On less steep slopes,
the matengo farmers occasionally construct bench terraces for their coffee farms; while ridge
cultivation is used on less steep slopes and on flat land. (3) The Farmers in Tamil Nadu use
Half a kg. of fresh cow dung is dissolved in 15 lit. of water and sprinkled on coffee seedlings
at nursery stage for better growth.
Garlic (Allium sativum): The farmers in Andhra Pradesh store garlic for longtime, by
keeping them in a vessel containing finger millet grains.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale): The Farmers in Gujarat grow Calotropis spp randomly in the
field of Ginger to act as a repellant for insect pests.
Jack (Artocarpus heterophyllus): Jack trees which are found in! higher elevations of the
terraces in Kolli hills are believed to recharge the ground water. This has been observed by
the Farmers in Tamil Nadu.
Lemon (Citrus limon): The farmers in Gujarat for control gummy disease in lemon, castor oil
is poured in the water canal while irrigating the plants and lkg. of tobacco powder is also
Pine apple (Ananas sativus): Farmers in Tamil Nadu grow pine apple on rocky places.
Rose (Rosa spp.): The Farmers in Gujarat control termites in rose saplings, they are dipped in
a mixture of water and latex of Euphorbia nerrifolia (50ml. in 10ml. of water) before
planting. Similarly, 100 gm fruits of Sapindus emarginatus are soaked in 1 L of water for 2-3
days. Then the filtrate is sprayed on rose plant on every third day to control leaf curl
Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum): The farmers in Tamil Nadu, for eradicating broom rape weed
(Orabanche cernua) in tobacco, a drop of ground nut or gingelly oil is placed above the
growth during its emergence. Similarly, they prepare a solution, made of 5 L of milk in 100 L
of water and sprayed after a month of planting for 1 ac. of tobacco crop to prevent tobacco