Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Gopal Mehta, a leading apple and stone-fruit orchardist, started experimenting with the environment-friendly mode of farming in the late 1990s in view of the rising cost of inputs and poor returns. Mehta, who is also the chairman of the Himachal Organic Farmers’ Association, maintains that the continuous use of chemical fertilisers and chemical sprays is doing more harm than good to the orchards of Himachal Pradesh.
The Mehta orchard is located near Shimla and the family have being practicing Homa Farming for 4 years. In this area, in the Himalayan Mountains, mainly apples, peaches and for some years also mangoes are being cultivated. The Mehta family has fruit trees: mangoes, apples, plums, peaches, lychees, cherries, etc. and also various kinds of vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, beans, peas, tomatoes, eggplants, chilies, herbs, etc.
Here are some of the results they have observed with Homa farming:
- All the fruits and vegetables have a better quality and exceptional taste.
- The peaches have an extraordinary size and a foreign buyer recently remarked that he had never eaten such good peaches anywhere before.
- Since the diseases and pests are controlled by Homa farming techniques, their harvest has increased compared to their neighbors’.
- It was very remarkable that in a year where there were hardly any apples growing in the whole area, the Mehta family received almost the same amount of harvest as usual.
- The mango trees of the neighbours suffered from some freezing cold nights while his mango trees did not show any damages.
- People say that on their farm they are practicing ‘Homa magic’.