Rain-fed Crops

Rain-fed Crops

A lot has happened since the inception of Annapurna Farm in 1986.

With its extensive acreage, heavy soil and limited water we envisioned a farm with large areas of millets and pulses since these crops were grown extensively under rain-fed conditions in the area. Labor was bountiful at low cost, soil was heavy and could maintain moisture for long periods after rains and these crops fit well in an organic farm set-up.

Now after more than 30 years, when rains have become more erratic and seasons seem less pronounced, labor availability is low, costs are higher and wildlife has increased manifold, these crops are becoming impossible to maintain.

Annapurna is still growing Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and some Sesame on the rain-fed areas if the weather cooperates.

Rosella is very drought-resistant and wildlife is not fond of the extremely sour leaves.

We harvest the calyxes that are dried for juice available at Auroville’s Solar Kitchen (main community kitchen), we have started to use them fresh in our fruit compote mixes, and as a syrup on the rice pudding.

Sesame is grown after the heavy rains are over and if sown shortly after the crop can do with very little water but it needs protection from wildlife which we do with a portable electric fence. The sesame crop is used to make gomasio.

For the rest, the dry areas are used for cow fodder, green matter production for mulching, and compost materials and grazing area for our cattle.

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