Dr. Pereira and M.S. Pereira on Soil Water Conservation
Dr. Pereira and his family.
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Dr. Pereira is a microbiologist & a coffee farmer and owns the Kirehully Estate in the Western Ghats, in Hassan District, India. Ms. Geeta Pereira, wife of Dr. Anand Pereira is a horticulturist and a coffee farmer.
What do you do to ensure soil water conservation in your plantation?
We have categorized our farm into different zones depending on the gradient and water table. Every coffee block has cradle pits (3 feet by 1 feet by 6 inches width. These cradle pits are for young plantations and in older plantations the pits are larger in size, preferably called trenches varying anywhere between 24 feet long 11/2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. These pits are dug across the slopes and thereby in spite of any eventful downpour or cloud burst, all the soil and nutrients along with water is retained in these pits.
In addition to these trenches and pits, different cultivation practices such as scuffling and cover digging of soil just before the on set of the monsoons, helps in conserving soil moisture. Coffee forests with their dense mulch and organic matter act as blotting papers in absorbing rain into the fragile earth.
We have raised the level of the roads inside the plantation in a hump like structure (road humps/road dividers) by adding extra soil and made pits so that runoff is limited.
We have also dug big trenches in strategic locations and during downpours the water is channelised to these trenches.
Our estate known as Kirehully, literally translates to "estate full of lakes or tanks". At present, we have six tanks; each measuring one and a half acres and 20 feet in depth. These tanks act as watersheds and recharge the groundwater, for future generations.
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