In the din of concerns expressed over agriculture in Parliament,a small but interesting detail on organic farming got drowned.
The government revealed that an organic farming research group working for over three years at the C S K Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University in Palampur has observed improved crop growth when the soil was treated with the by-products of homa,primarily ashes,along with organic manure.
In response to an unstarred question by the BJPs Shreegopal Vyas in the Rajya Sabha,Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar also said that the research has shown crop diseases to have been treated by the chanting of mantras.
Yes,we have observed better crop prospects when the bhasmas were integrated with other components of organic farming. At present,these are only observations from our experiments and not a scientific confirmation. But we hope to publish our controlled observations within a year and a scientific paper on it a few years later after proper scientific validation, Dr YS Paul,Head of the Department of Organic Agriculture at the university told The Indian Express over the phone.
Paul said researchers found that bhasma produced after homa,using cowdung cakes,desi ghee and unbroken rice at sunrise and sunset,appeared to have better nutrient composition in terms of nitrogen,potassium,magnesium and zinc as compared to by-products obtained otherwise. The homas are usually performed in specially designed pyramid shaped copper utensils.
Pawar told the Rajya Sabha that experiments on wild marigold and aloe vera,which were fed organic manures treated or mixed with homa bhasma and Him-Bio a biofertilizer developed at Palampur that contains a homa bhasma treated with four different extracts of local fungi called trichoderma produced a higher yield than when they were treated simply with organic manure.
Paul said the organic research group had observed better yields in pea and maize too when treated with homa bhasma manure.
The research,which began in April 2006 with about Rs 40 lakh from the National Centre of Organic Farming,is aimed at scientific validation of this kind of organic farming that is being practised in many parts of the world,including Brazil and Germany,Paul said.
The 20-member research team is working on the project is looking at the possible role of mantras and homa bhasma in purifying the environment and consequently improving crop yield.