In a one-of-its-kind initiative, iron and steel giant Shyam Group has started organic farming in its plant at Jamuria in Burdwan district to cater to the kitchen requirements of around 3,000 staff who work in the plant.
The plant covers an approximate area of 400 acres of which the company identified around one acre of surplus land on the premises to utilise it for growing different kinds of vegetables to meet the canteen requirements.
The plant, set up in 2008, produces TMT bars, ferro alloy and sponge iron and has a capacity of 1.1 million tonne and a 1,000MW power plant. Company officials have experimented with organic farming on a pilot basis since 2011-end.
“At present, we have initiated organic farming on a pilot basis on 15 cottahs and are able to meet around 30% of our canteen requirements. When the full one acre would be utilised, which we are hopeful of in another three years, the plant would meet 75% of its kitchen requirements,” claimed Arun Talwar, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and brand in-charge of the Jamuria plant.
As the area comprises sandy loam soil, it has only made the task of agriculture difficult. But as Talwar puts it, a combination of cow dung and cakes of mustard oil and neem after being mixed with the soil has increased the fertility. “The farming is part of our CSR project,” Talwar said.
The farm produces cauliflower, brinjal, cabbage, cucumber, ladies finger, papaya, gourd and other leafy vegetables. Company officials, buoyed by the success of the project, now plan to replicate the idea in all their future plants.