As we reach the fourth session of the Be A Farmer program, it’s time for the young farmers to learn about more complicated concepts of natural farming. Introducing pest management using natural techniques was the main objective of the 19th February session.
When all the BAF Children gathered at the farm, their farm coaches Shilpa Teja and Shaik Basheer took them to their patches and made them observe the plants to find the ones affected by pests. They found that their beetroot plants were affected by 'leaf spot' and radish saplings are attacked by 'dung beetles'.
Basheer and Shilpa Teja explained to the children what a pest attack is, the different types of pests, and how to prevent and control pests. They have also introduced the difference between harmful and beneficial insects to them.
Neem oil has been used as a natural pesticide by Indian farmers from ancient times. Its benefits to plants are immense. It contains an element called Azadirachitn which is capable of controlling over 200 types of insect pests, as well as some species of mites and nematodes.It acts as pesticide only on harmful insects and helps the beneficial insects.
After their observing their crops, they were guided by Shilpa Teja in making Neem Oil Solution. Children learned from their farm coaches that Neem Oil can’t be directly applied to the pants due to its highly potent nature. To reduce its potency, it has to be diluted with soapnut solution along with water. Soapnut solution is added to make this neem oil solution stick to the leaves for making its effect on the pests. All the young farmers eagerly mixed both neem oil and soapnut water in the required proportions to make a natural pesticide. This solution was gently taken into their spray bottles and applied it to the plants under pest attack.
Sticky traps are glued-based traps that attract insects and immobilize them. This method is used by farmers not only to control pests but also to monitor what kind of pests are present and measure how effective their pest control methods are.
Children were introduced to the blue and yellow sticky traps and their benefits in farming. Each of them was given a sticky trap to attach to the sticks already placed in their farm patches. They have taken a small rope and tied the traps to the sticks.
Children took out their log books and learned about Integrated Pest Management before recording the measures they have taken to control the pests. They entered their observations and solutions in the Pest and Diseases section of their log books.
After completing their logbooks they were given OES activity books that are based on sustainability to work on at home and instructed to send pictures of their worksheets after completing them.
They waved goodbyes to OES team and their coaches, taking 2 bunches of spring onions grown at OES farm with them.
Organo Et School strives to empower people to embrace eco-living mindsets, behaviors and habits. We recognize that for any positive impact to be sustainable, it must be long-term and inter-generational.
Organo Et School is a learning initiative set up by Organo in 2017 and has been facilitating field visits and workshops for Schools and Interest Groups. Organo Et School has had over 25+ schools, 6500+ students and 3000+ adults participate over the last 5 years.
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