Multi-purpose farming (MPF) is a concept where various farmings are integrated to meet the requirements of family life. Due to increased population, urbanization and industrialization, agricultural land holding are decreasing day by day. There has been great demand of food grains and daily needs nowadays. Therefore, there is need to adopt such farming system in which farmer can earn handsome profit with their limited resources and recycle resources for enhanced profit margin. Adoption of fish farming based integrated agriculture and animal husbandry practices would serve the above purpose of farmers. 

Area for MPF:-

One hectare of area is considered a standard size of farm to introduce different enterprises, simultaneously. Less than one acre of land is not so suitable for the present concept of farming. Though, according to availability of land and socio-economic condition, each farmer can modify the farming pattern according to their suitability.  A square or rectangular field, four sides bund should be given. The bunds’ width will be 2.5m minimum.

Table-1: Distribution of area for various set up

Sl.

Particulars

Area

Sl.

Particulars

Area

1

House

25mX25m=625 m2

7

Paddy  straw  stack

(4X1.5)m2=6m2

2

Cowshed

20mX20m=400 m2

8

Bund (3)

 

(74mX2.5m=185m2-6m2)=179 m2

3

Poultry shed

 

10mX10m=100 m2

9

Bund(4)

 

55mX2.5m=137.5 m2

4

Compost pit

 

6mX6m=36 m2

10

Pond area

 

4072 m2

5

Bund (1)

 

65mX2.5m=162.5 m2

11

Paddy  field

 

4072 m2

6

Bund(2)

 

84mX2.5m=210 m2

 

Total area

10000 m2 =1 hectare

Multipurpose farming method:-

For healthy life, food items are necessary for maintaining nutritional status of body. The foods are generally-cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, milk, fish, egg, and meat. Therefore, we will arrange our cultivation pattern (farming) in such a way that it will provide all the basic requirements of family consumption as well as will provide better earning opportunities. So, we can get a stable family life. Family is the base of our society, hence if each family according to its requirements, modify their farm and farming methods, obviously in large scale, our whole society will be stable upto a great extent. Therefore, the various steps are-

  1. In this system, pond and nearby field embankments are used for growing vegetables, grasses, fruits and flowers. In water logged areas, paddy- fish farming has been highly profitable farming systems. The deep areas are used for fish raising while shallow areas are used for growing paddy. At the end, farmer will get fishes in addition to the paddy crops, vegetables, grasses, fruits and flowers
  2. Dairy is one of the oldest component  of integrated fish farming system. Cow possesses a distinct digestive system in which food material is crushed repeatedly in the presence of micro-organisms and become digestive which is directly utilized by fishes. For one hectare of water area 5-6 cows would be sufficient. In dairy fish combination, farmers can produce 3000-4000kg/ha/yr fish in addition to the milk
  3. Poultry is also an important component of integrated fish farming system. Poultry birds are restricted to their houses. In one square metre 4-5 birds can be kept and 500-600 birds would provide sufficient quantity of manure for one hectare of water area. Considering the market demand broiler for meat purpose and layer for egg purposes are reared. The important breeds of birds are Rode Island and Leg Horn. Birds require 80-100gm feed/bird/day. The birds start egg laying at the age of 5-6 months and continue for 16-18 month.  
  4. Crop cultivation on bund-1:- Area=65mX2.5m=162.5 m2; coconut plants are cultivated outside of the bund (half part) at 7.5m distance. In between of two coconut plants, papaya plants are grown. Later half part, guava plants are cultivated maintaining distance 5m and in between two guava plants, lemon trees are planted. Inside of the bund –vegetable crops are cultivated mainly-cabbage, cauliflower, knolkhol, brinjal, chilli, capsicum, radish, taro etc.
  5. Crop cultivation on bund-2:- Area= 84mX2.5m=210 m2; Outside of bund -banana should be cultivated at 2m distance. Inside of band-three-fourth part area for pigeon pea cultivation at row to row and plant to plant distance=60cmX15cm and remaining one-fourth part area near poultry farm, cowpea should be cultivated
  6. Crop cultivation on bund-3:- Area=74mX2.5m=185 m2- paddy straw stack (4X1.5)m2 =(185-6) m2 =179 m2; all the area is used to cultivate grasses i.e. napier, lucerne, berseem, guar etc.  for providing feed to cows
  7. Crop cultivation on bund-4:- Area=55mX2.5m=137.5 m2;  Outside of bund, coconut plants will be cultivated at 7.5m distance and in between two coconut plants, one betelnut plant is cultivated. Inside of the bund –three-fourth area is used to cultivate various leafy vegetables i.e. palak, amaranthus, methi, coriader etc. remaining one-fourth area is used to cultivate flowers mainly-marrigold and tube rose
  8. Other plant cultivation:- (1) In front of house a mango plant will be there (2) In front of cowshed a hog plum tree (Spondias mangifera) will be there (3) In side of compost pit a ‘Chalta Plant’ (Elephant apple-Dillenia speciosa) will be there (4) In front of poultry farm, a drumstick plant (Moringa oleifera) will be there.

Income security:- 

  1. Actual income :- Suppose one hectare of land is used for paddy cultivation, then the income pattern-(1) Aman improved paddy minimum yield=2000kg (2) Boro paddy minimum=3000kg (3) Total=2000+3000=5000kg of paddy (4) Price of each kg.of paddy=Rs. 15. Therefore, total income annually from 1 ha of paddy land =5000X15=Rs. 75000/-
  2. Income from paddy –fish farming:- (1) Paddy field (4072 m2) earning = (75000X4072)/10000=Rs. 30540 (2) Income from fish :- Yield of fish  of fish field in rainy season(4072+4072)m2 =1500kg (3) Yield of fish  of fish field in summer  season(4072m2) =500kg (4) Total annual production=1500+500=2000kg (5)  Price of fish per kg minimum=Rs. 100/- (6) Total income from fish=Rs. (2000X100)=Rs.200000/-
  3. Income from dairy:- (1) If 5-6 milch cows are maintained, minimum 2-3 cows will be always in milking condition (lactating stage) (2) Per cow per day milk production minimum=5 litre (3) Three cow produce total =3X5=15 litre of milk each day (4) Price of 1 litre of milk in market minimum=Rs. 25 (5) Total earnings from milk annually= 365X15X25=Rs. 136875/-
  4. Income from poultry:- (1) Poultry (100 birds), no. of egg production=12000 (2) Price of each egg in market=Rs.5/- (3) Total income from eggs=12000X5=Rs. 60000/- (4) 100 poultry each year produces 200kg of meat (5) Price of each kg of meat minimum=Rs. 100/- (6) Total income from meat=200X100=Rs. 20000/- (7)  Total income from poultry farming= Rs. (60000+20000)=Rs.80000/-  Grand total = (paddy+fish+  dairy+ poultry)= Rs. 30540+ Rs.200000/-+ Rs. 136875/-+Rs.80000/- =Rs. 447415; Suppose half of price is management cost  (Labour charge+ feed price+purchasing cow+purchasing poultry birds+purchasing fish seed+purchasing paddy seed etc). So net profit is Rs. 223707.50/- ; per month net profit=Rs. 18642.29=Approx.Rs. 19000/-- (approximate estimation).

Additional income:-

The sources of additional income are selling straw, coconut, betelnut, papaya, banana, vegetables and flowers.

Sustainable income: -

Depending on only one enterprise is always a risk. Suppose, a farmer is only cultivating paddy the risks are: crop failured due to flood, disease, insect-pests, drought and low price of product in market etc. But depending on several enterprises provide income security in a sustainable manner means if one enterprise is failured other enterprise (s) will provide income. Therefore, motivation towards integrated farming is a well thought and wise decision.  In this present operation the income opportunities are Income from paddy, fish, dairy, poultry, vegetables , fruit crops and flowers. Simultaneously, farmers having a open door to initiate other enterprises if they have economic  ability and more family members (family labours). The other enterprises are generally- Goat farming, Duck farming and Pig  farming.

Nutritional security:-

  1. Importance of vegetables in diet (a) One of the main health benefits of vegetables is their high nutrient content (b)Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that contribute to growth and the maintenance of good health (c)Many vegetables are high in potassium, which is important for healthy blood pressure. (d) Vegetables are rich in a particular group of nutrients called antioxidants, which fight cellular damage and help prevent heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack and Alzheimer's disease (e) Another substantial benefit of vegetables is dietary fiber. As part of a healthy diet, fiber helps scour bad cholesterol out of your arteries, thus lowering your risk of heart disease.  Dietary fiber is critical for our health, not only on a daily basis, but on a meal-by-meal basis as well. Food cannot move through our digestive tract in a healthy way unless it is fiber-rich. And, vegetables are some of the very richest sources of fiber that exist.  (f) You need to eat vegetables everyday because you simply cannot find another food group that is as perfectly matched to our everyday human needs as vegetables. (g) Optimal nourishment is another reason that vegetables are important on a daily basis. You need to eat vegetables everyday because you need a supply of vitamins everyday.
  2. Importance of fruits in diet:- (a) Fruits contain many vitamins and nutrients that may reduce risk for many illnesses.(b) Fruits are rich in fiber, which is essential for the smooth movement of food in the body’s digestive system.(c)  Fruits help maintain easy bowel action and eating fruits every day will prevent constipation (d) All fruits contain carbohydrates, which are the body’s main source of energy (e) Fruit has been recognized as a good source of vitamins and minerals. (f) Eating a diet rich in fruit may reduce risk for stroke, other cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes (g) Fruit helps maintain optimum health due to the health promoting phyto-chemicals it contains.
  3. Importance of pulses in diet: - (a) People who are mostly vegetarian depend largely on cereals and pulses as their staple food, which serve as the main source of dietary protein and energy.(b) In general, pulses contain 20 to 28 per cent protein per 100 gm. with the exception of soybean which has as much as 47 per cent. (c) Their carbohydrate content is about 60 per cent per 100 gm. except soybean which has about 30 per cent.(d)  On an average 100 gram of pulses contain energy 345 kcal, protein 24.5 gm., calcium 140 mg. phosphorus 300 mg., iron 8 mg., thiamin 0.5 mg., riboflavin 0.3 mg. and niacin 2 mg. (e) Pulses as a class are good sources of the B group of vitamins except riboflavin. (f) Sprouting of the pulses not only improves nutritive value but also digestibility. During sprouting, starch is broken down to dextrin and maltose, and proteins are broken down to polypeptides, peptides and amino acids. (g) Pulses are low fat, high fibre, no cholesterol, low glycemic index, high protein, high nutrient foods. They are excellent foods for people managing their diabetes, heart disease or coeliac disease.
  4. Importance of milk in diet :- (a) The fat portion of the milk contains fat soluble vitamins. (b) The solids other than fat include proteins, carbohydrates, water soluble vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients in milk help make it nature's most nearly perfect food. (c) Milk products contain high quality proteins. The whey proteins constitute about 18 percent of the protein content of milk. (d) Casein, a protein found only in milk, contains all of the essential amino acids. (e) Milk also contains the following nutrients: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.(f) Milk is also a significant source of riboflavin (vitamin B2) which helps promote healthy skin and eyes, as well as vitamins A and D. (g) Adequate consumption of milk and dairy  products from early childhood and throughout life can help to make the bones strong and protect them against diseases like osteoporosis (a debilitating, brittle bone disorder) in later life
  5. Importance of egg in diet:-(a) Egg contains almost all the nutrients required by the human beings. (b) It has about 12 percent protein which is almost completely available to human body as it is of very high quality, having 96% biological value. (c) A whole egg has about 10-11% shell, 60% albumen and 30% yolk (17g). (d) Two eggs per day supply about 13.2 g proteins which are about 26.6% of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of an average active adult. (e) Eggs are excellent sources of all the vitamins except vitamin C. (f) Eggs are also excellent sources of all the minerals, rich in iron and also in phosphorus. (g) Eggs are good sources of choline which has been linked to memory.
  6. Importance of fish in diet:- (a) The uniqueness of fish protein is due to its excellent nutritive value, high digestibility (greater than 90 percent) and presence of all essential amino acids. (b) Fish flesh contains 60-84 percent water, 15-24 percent protein, 0.1 -22 percent fat and 1-2 percent minerals. (c) Sea food serves as rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids [PUFAs], especially omega -3 PUFAs, minerals and vitamins. (d) It is the only source of high quality protein available at affordable cost and in sufficient quantity. (e) In recent years, the link between fish oil and heart disease has been the subject of thousands of scientific papers. (f) Fat soluble vitamins A,D, E and K are present in fish in varying amounts-often in higher concentration than in land animals (g) Salt water fish are rich in iodine
  7. Importance of meat in diet:- (a) Similar to eggs, poultry meat also is a low calorie but highly nutritious food.(b)  The calorific value of broiler, roaster and hen meat is 151, 200, 302 calories per 100g respectively (c) The protein quality of poultry meat is better than other meats and its biological value varies from 65-85 (d) The poultry meat contains higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids than the fats from other meats. (e) The cholesterol content of poultry meat is quite low (f) Chicken meat is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins. (g) The liver meat is an excellent source of iron, vitamin A, vitamin B2 and niacin.

Recycle of resources: -

Multipurpose farming is based on the recycling of resources from one system to another.  In this technique, farmers get more produce at low cost, thereby earn better profit. The excreta and spilled feed from dairy /poultry drops directly in fish ponds and either directly utilized by fishes or act as fertilizer to increase natural fish food organism. The fertilized water of fish pond used for irrigation increases the yield of vegetables. In integrated fish farming, there is no need to use additional fish feed and organic manure in fish pond. Thus this will save approximately 50-60 percent of expenditure on fish feed. This system will provide the farmers, paddy, fish, poultry products (eggs+meat), milk of cows, vegetables, fruits and flowers.  In case of agriculture, the fertilized pond water used for irrigation in these crops enhances 15-20 percent crop yield. In case of dairy, the cow houses are constructed near to the pond so that the waste from dairy can be drained to the pond. The fresh cow extracts contain 0.60 percent nitrogen, 0.16 percent phosphorus and 0.45 percent potassium. In case of poultry, the poultry birds’ excreta contain 1.0 percent nitrogen, 1.5-2.0 percent phosphorus and 0.7-0.9 percent potassium. In elaborate way recycling of resources are-

  1. Paddy cultivation: - By product of paddy cultivation, straw is used to feed cows, making cowshed, covering house roof, poultry shed, used as fuel for cooking, making a small sized shed on pond to protect fishes from excess sunlight at summer season, a certain amount can be used for compost making, excess to sell for earning money. Paddy grain:- Mainly home consumption whole round the year, husk is used as feed of cow and  fish, rice is provided to poultry, certain amount of rice can be added in feed of cows, a little amount of husk and chaffy grains can be used  for compost making, excess for selling to earn money. Paddy crop residues—These are incorporated into soil through ploughing
  2. Fish :- (1) Mainly for selling to earn a lump sum money as a cash crop (2) Home consumption whole round the year (3) Rotton fishes are placed to compost pit.
  3. Water:--(1) In summer season pond water in needed to irrigate paddy crop (2) Whole round the year pond water is used to irrigate vegetable crops, fruit crops, grasses (3) Water for domestic consumption (4) Providing water to cows and poultry.
  4. Poultry birds:- (1)Eggs mainly for selling to earn money (2) Home consumption for whole round the year (3) Broilers are sold in market for meat purpose (4) Home consumption for whole round the year (5)  Poultry droppings directly add to pond water as fish feed (6) A certain amount can be used in compost pit.
  5. Cows:- (1) Milk consumption for home (2) Excess milk for selling to earn money (3) Cowdung used as fuel for cooking (4) Cowdung is used in compost pit (5) Cowdung is directly added to pond water as fish feed (6) Night soils can be added in compost pit.
  6. Grasses:-(1) Used mainly as feed of cow (2) Can be used in compost pit (3) Chopped grasses can be used as fish feed
  7. Vegetables:- (1) Home consumption for whole round the year (2) Excess for selling to earn money (3) Residues of vegetable crops can be used in compost pit (4) A little part can also be provided as feed of cows (5) Chopped vegetable crops  leaves can be used as poultry feed (6) Chopped vegetable crops leaves can be used as fish feed
  8. Fruit crops:-(1) Home consumption for whole round the year as vegetables (2) Home consumption for whole round the year in ripped form (3) Excess for selling to earn money (4)  Fruit crops fallen branches, leaves, whole plant body (after harvest of fruit i.e. banana), fruit peels can be used in compost pit
  9. Flower crops:- (1) Mainly for selling (2) Beautify the home (3) Flowers required for various festivals of home (4) Remainings of flowers and flower plants deposited in compost pit
  10. Soil:- (1) Pond base level soil is used to bund repairment which is base of good vegetable crops.

Points to be noted to initiate multipurpose farming:-

  1. This farming concept will not match to all farmers. The farmers who will think that the concept is matching with their situation only they will introduce multipurpose farming
  2. The farm must be connected with road or the farm will be on road side
  3. The produce of multipurpose farm must have demand in nearby market
  4. According to their situation farmers can include more farming or exclude any farming.
  5. Shade producing plants should not be planted on pond bund, it will hamper fish production as well as hamper the crop production of side by farmer’s field
  6. Each year pond bunds should be repaired by the soil of pappy field.
  7. Every 3-4 years interval pond base should be renovated for better fish production
  8. Pond should be kept clean always from aquatic weeds or other plant waste residues
  9. There is need of lump sum amount of money at initial stage of farming or farmer can gradually make it
  10. Multipurpose farming is labour intensive and more care is needed
  11. It is recommended not to use chemical pesticides, if it is used follow precautions properly
  12. Lime should be applied in pond in certain time interval
  13. There must be electricity provision in farm
  14. At the time of floating of fish on pond surface water, the water pump must be used to add oxygen in water through rotating water
  15. According to family requirement, the farmer can cultivate a certain part of land for paddy cultivation and remaining part can  use for fish cultivation to enhance profit margin
  16. House must be within multipurpose farm-otherwise this type of farming is a great risk
  17. when farm size will be larger, then family consumption for  5-7 members family (expenditure)  is not a prominent matter.

Greatest consideration:- For  multipurpose farming, more care and proper management is highly needed. Therefore, only depending on labourers is a great risk. It will be more convenience if farmer has more family members (family labour).


Authors:

Hiralal Jana

Department of Agricultural Extension, College of Agriculture,

Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Agricultural Farm-713101; Burdwan, West Bengal ;

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.