Smallholder farmers suffer from paucity of resources and are often vulnerable, even though they constitute 80% of farmers in India. To boost farm income, farmers in Pratappur administrative block of Surajpur District in Chattisgarh have started setting up machaan (trellis), to grow multiple crops.
Ropan Paikra, a smallholder farmer of Chandora village, who has been traditionally cultivating vegetables for years, is building a machaan. Like Ropan Paikra, a few other farmers across Pratappur are constructing trellises.
Talking to VillageSquare.in, Paikra said, “I am constructing the machaanin 30 decimals (13,068 sq feet) of land. It will ensure that I grow four or five different types of vegetables one after another. Earlier, I used to grow mainly potatoes and brinjals.”
Woman farmer Sonamati Paikra from Mayapur 1 village in Mayapur panchayat of Surajpur said that six people in her village have started this trend. As trellis system helps farmers grow creepers and ground vegetables simultaneously even in small plots, they have adopted the system to boost their income.
Sonamati Paikra has built her trellis in 12 decimals (5,227 sq feet) of land, to grow tomatoes and five other types of crops. She said that her father Sukhlal Paikra used to grow ridge gourds in the machaan during monsoon.
Members of Chhattisgarh-based non-profit organization Sangata Sahabhagi Gramin Vikas Sansthan Society (SSGVSS) who saw Sukhlal Paikra’s machaan system and its benefits, are promoting the same among farmers now.
Trellis structures are made with easily available creepers, local wood and bamboo. Generally five feet long bamboo poles are used, though farmers can create a machaan with wires also. The trellis measurement varies depending on plot size, but is roughly 15 feet x 15 feet.