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Inventory of Peasant Innovations for Sustainable Development an annotated bibliography

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Krishi Parasara

(Quoted in Girija Prasanna Majumdar’s 1927)
Manure/Region Unspecified
After sunning the manure and grinding them in the month of Magh, one should bury them in the fields in the month of Falgoon and then on the eve of sowing it should be applied to the soil or else the yield of crops will not increase.
Walker, 1797 in Dharampal, 1983; 241-242, op cit
Manure/Region Unspecified
By littering their cattle with straw, they increase the quantity of manure. They collect leaves, and putrescent substances. When they have no means of rotting the straw, they mix it with dry dung, old grass and even branches of trees, which type place in a heap and set fire to. The ashes are then spread on the ground. The slime in the bottoms of tanks is dug up, and considered to be a valuable manure.
Rice lands are always manured to the utmost of the farmer’s ability. They spare no expense in this. In the Konkan they cover the fields with a thick layer of leaves, brush wood and even hay and set fire to it. Even in Bombay rice fields are manured by using hay and set fire to it. Even in Bombay rice fields are manured by using hay for this purpose. This manure is not got without considerable trouble and expense, and more than this, nothing shows more the care and skill of the cultivator.
M.S. Randhawa, 1983; 313, op cit
Manure/Region Unspecified
In 1889, Voelckar noted that the practice of ‘green manuring was widely practiced in some areas. He states that ‘SAN’ (Crotalaris juncea) is the crop most generally ploughed in ‘INDIGO’ is another; mustard is occasionally used and frequently on rice fields, the weeds are allowed to grow which in turn acts as Manure.
In Lohardaga, the favourite green crop is ‘SAWAN’ a wild form of Panicummiliaceum it is often grown with rice and after rice has been harvested, the green crop is turned in the soil and buried.
Green Manuring is well understood in some parts for example Gujarat (Bombay Presidency). It is also practiced in Hoshiarpur (Punjab), Burdwan, Hooghly, Chota Nagpur, Poona, and parts of Khandalash. San ploughed in as a green crop in preparation for sugarcane, is the usual form of green manuring. (Green leaves of Moong are considered as good source of organic manure. Pers. Commn. – G.S. Saha).
A large part of Madras, the spreading of wild shrub such as wild indigo (Wrightia tinctoriao), ‘Madar’ (Calotropisgigantea) ‘Avarai’ (Cassiaauriculata), ‘Kolinji’ (Tephrosia purpureaI), ‘Convolulus’ and the sheets and leaves of ‘Pongamia Pinnaja’ and other trees is much used on ‘wet’ lands principally on rice fields.
The shrubs and leaves are spread green on the fields and then trodden in by feet. At Hospet which is served by a canal, led by a weir or ancient from the river Tungabhadra, where the cultivation is exceptionally good, green manuring being carried out by growing trees that are grown around every field and along the banks of the water channel and defoiliated once in three years; the twigs and leaves are spread on the land where rice is sown; canal water is let in and the twigs are trodden into the soil with feet. About 8 days later, rice is sown broadcast on the top.
The practice of putting twigs and leaves on rice fields is largely adopted in Tirunelveli. Branch and leaves are used as manure near Bangalore in April and at the end of Monsoon. At Mahim, the leaves of sugarcane are spread on the ginger-beds to act as manure; leaves are also put round the plantation.
Majumdar, G.P.


(A Sanskrit Treatise on Arobori-Horticulture-Indian Positive Science Series-1, 1935, IRI, Calcutta also quoted in Agriculture in Ancient India,’ ed. S.P. Ray Chaudhuri, Chapt.IV, p.43-58).
Manure/Region Unspecified (pp.49-52)
If one applies powdered oil cakes of white mustard or sesamum at the root of Kharijjura, Vilva, and Lakuca trees; and the mango tree grows if it is watered in which husks are soaked; Airavata and Nichulapatra grow by simple watering, but they grow if watered with flesh and paddy washings.
(There are 64 such practices mentioned in the monograph mentioned above)



(Quoted in ‘Agriculture in Ancient India’ S.P. Ray Chaudhari, 1964; Chap.iv, pp.43-58)
Manure/Region Unspecified (pp.52-55)
An interesting account of the preparation of different kinds of manures which should be applied to various crops, trees and plants:

  1. For blossoming of Jati and Mallika species of Jasmine fragrant water is beneficial and for that of Jati which is always in flowers, the flesh of a tortoise is recommended.

(There are 41 such practices mentioned in the above chapter of the monograph. The chapter also mentions the various dimensions of manures and manuring viz a) various types of animal excreta, b) plant extract, c) animal, plant products/parts, fish washing bones, etc., d) minerals/fumigants and its mode of applications, viz., applications to the soil, fumigation, plastering different stages of crop/tree, etc.).
Chakrapani Misra

Visva Vallava

(Quoted in ‘Agriculture in Ancient India,’ S.P. Ray Chaudhari); 1964, Chap.43-58
Manure/Region Unspecified (pp.55-58)

  1. Watering with carrion broth is always good for the blossoming of all trees and particularly of the pomegranates. Its fumigation too produces quick and large fruit.

(There are 42 such practices mentioned in the above chapter).
S.P. Gupta, 1980; 16, op cit
Farmers stated that after cultivating Moon (Green pulse) and black gram (urad), the farmer breaks the pods and spreads the shell/skins it on the field as green manure (Farmer: Vijay Bhadhur of Ahamoliya Village).
P.M. Mane, 1989; 3-4, op cit
Manure/Semi-Arid Region

  1. Use of castor seed cake mostly by mixing it with urea is also a practice followed by few farmers. It is a typical example of traditional/existing knowledge having scientific basis. The simple reason for this is to make the process of releasing nitrogen from urea slow. In fact all types of cakes of edible as well as non-edible oil seeds like groundnut, castor, neem, etc. can be used for coating. It helps slow release of nitrogen and constant supply throughout the growth stages of the crop/s. Another important simultaneous effect can also be underline. For instance cakes of non-edible oil seeds like neem, castor, karanj, etc. are also used/applied in the soil. They act as repellant for some of the soil borne insects like white grub and termites.

  1. Skeleton of fish species like Bombay duck (dry left out portion) mostly used in the crushed form in the fields where crops like chillies are grown. This is a traditional operation equivalent to the practice of using fishmeal for some of the commercial horticultural cum plantation crops even in progressive/intensive agricultural areas.

Gupta and Saha, 1989; 21, op cit
Fertilizer Use/Semi-arid Region
Farmers hypothesis observed in Faizabad District, UP, Eastern India.

  1. The application of potassic fertilizer to watermelon increases the sweetness of the fruits. (Village: Isoulibhari, Farmer; Ramnarayan Misra)

  1. Use of moong plants as a green manure crop after picking up the pods is very good for the soil. It adds nitrogen to the soil. The symptoms of ‘khaira’ are not found in the rice plants if grown after adding moon leaves (Village: Isoulibhari, Farmer: Jagprasad Yadav).

  1. The benefit obtained by using green moong leaves is that it is not only provides nitrogen to the soil but also lessens the requirements of phosphate by the plant. The explanation behind this is that these leaves increase the availability of phosphorus to the plant. (Village: Isoulibhari, Farmer: Balkrishan Maurya).

  1. The leaves of ‘chul’ plant is used as organic manure. The broad leaves are allowed to decompose with the cow dung in a pit. Thereafter it is applied to the field. (Village: Isoulibhari, Farmer: Santkumar Yadav).

  1. Roosha plants are very good as organic manure. In the old days it was found to be widely used however, people started cutting all the plants for various uses. (Village: Isoulibhari, Farmer Santkuarm Yadav).

Mulching/Semi-arid Region

  1. The sweet potato plants are covered by leavers of roosh plant after sowing to protect them from rain. These are later on used as organic manure (village: Saraya Bagha, Farmer; Ramawadh Yadva).

  2. Weed flora is not removed by the farmers. There are used as fodder and for medicinal purposes. A separate note on ‘weeds as medicines in under preparation. They used as feed to their cattle.

Richard Kurin, 1983; 287, op cit
Weed Control/Semi-arid Region
Farmers of Chakpuri village in Punjab (Pakistan) note the condition of trees and bush that surround the field to ascertain the types of weeds that may sprout within a cropped plot of land. Farmers observe how crops are either adversely or beneficially affected by cold and hot weather dry spells, rain by different types of soil and fertilizers.
Hill and Ramsay

Weeds as an Indicator of Soil Conditions

(Reprinted from the MacDonald Journal 1977), Canada, pp.1-4
Weed Control/Region Unspecified (pp.1-2)

  1. In 50 Ad the great Roman scholar observed that land supporting wild plums, elder oak, and thumblerry was favourable for wheat production. North American immigrant chose land for their farm according to the vegetation it supported. They recognized that white pine-Norway Pine-Jack pine communities were characteristic of sandy soils of little agricultural value, whereas forests of birch beech, maple or hemlock indicated more fertile soils.

  1. Tall-grass prairie are suitable for orchard, cereals hay and fodder crops whereas bunch grass regions are more suitable for wheat and grass production.

Paul Richards, 1986; 97, op cit
Weed Control/Semi-Arid Region
The ethno-ecology of weeds of upland rice in Mogbuama reflects the importance of the contrast between the river-terrace and granite zones. Nearly every farmer asserted that tumu soils were more difficult to weed than kotu soils. The main explanations given were that beds were less firmly rooted I gravelly and stony soils and then that the greater moisture-retentiveness of salty soils encouraged weed germination.

M.S. Randhawa, 1983; 313, op cit
Weed Control/Semi-Arid
A shrub named ‘Adhatoda Vasica’ in Suni Valley (Punjab) act as a weed exterminator, the natives spread it when green on their rice fields and it is said to kill the weeds in 24 hours.
R.H. Richharia, 1986; 71, ibid
Weed Control/Region Unspecified
Rice farmers, particularly in hilly tracts, maintain a larger number of rice varieties with purple leaf-blades which are utilised to eradicate wild rice from their rice fields, as the latter with green leaves plants are easily distinguished from the former with coloured leaf-blades at the seedlings stage.
Department of Agriculture Extension, Bangladesh, 1986; 1-2, op cit
Weed Control/Humid Region

  1. Laddering practiced in Boro field after one and half month’s of transplanting to control weeds and pest.

  1. Pankling and laddering in wheat after 15-20 days effectively control weeds.

  1. Farmers irrigate the potato crop when the leaves turn black (Thulsa). The water reduces the effect of cold/fod (village: Isoulibhari; Farmer: Hanuman. Ed).

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