Sunday, November 3, 2013

Meeting Mathai M Mathew - Zero budget farmer (Subash Palekar model)

Mathai Mathews is a farmer from Palakkad (Gomathy,Nenmara),Kerala. He is retired from Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and lives on his farm doing zero budget farming. His farm is around 6 acres and has coconut, arecanut, nutmeg, pepper, banana, coco, mango trees, jack fruit and various other vegetables. In addition to this he has some chicken, fish and has one cow which is of Tamilnadu 'kankayam' variety.

He started zero budget farming around 9 years back after attending Subash Palekar's zero budget farming workshop. He has met many farmers and has read many books on the farming and knows lot of theory and has real experience in farming.

He has made trenches in the farm between coconut trees and mulches with coconut leaves, husk and all other materials available. Watering is done here in the summer season and it looks like all the roots of the trees comes to this trench for food. If mulching is done, just around the trunk, then the roots just gets stuck to this area and hence roots become limited to this area. Using this method, humas gets created here and it retains lot of water. According to him 1 litre of humas holds around 6 litres of water and hence trees will have always water available in this trench. He retains one area without trenches to compare the results. He showed two mango trees, one planted in non-trench area and other one in trench area, and the one planted in trenched area has grown really well and is in blooming stage.

He plants mangoes from seeds and then stone grafts it, he says, this way the trees gets good life compared to the saplings bought from nursery. Subash palekar has suggested a method in which four mango seeds can be planted nearby and each one stone grafted with a new variety and then tie them together and ultimately, they will become a single tree with 4 different mangoes.

Nutemeg trees are also watered only when their leaves show signs of withering. Chilli plants are planted here and there, and this can grow well in coconut orchard under shade, since their light requirements are less. Coco is planted he showed saplings planted under shade doing well, compared to the ones planted in direct sunlight. He says tapioca, chembu, ginger etc are good intercrops.

In his pond, he left some 20 small fishes and even after 8 or 9 years, he still have enough fishes for his own use. Similarly he grows chicken in a confined place and uses its egg and meat.

He is able to get decent income from farming and he is very helpful, explains all the basics of farming.


An article published about Mathai M Mathew in a daily, with detailed about the trench method of water conservation.


Another article about Mathai M Mathew sir....



Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Achuchayan I have seen some of your great trees and vegetables .Wonderful endeavour. Keep it up for the posterity.