Bengaluru: Renowned organic farmer Narayana Reddy died early on Monday. According to relatives, 84-year old Reddy after completing his daily routine went to sleep last night and did not wake up next morning.  Reddy took to organic farming in the early 2000s and made his four-and-a-half-acre farmland in Doddaballapur, Bengaluru outskirts, a model for organic farming. The farmland is visited by students from top Indian and foreign universities for agricultural workshops.

Reddy was born and raised in Whitefield-Varthur region. Though he had acres of land worth several crores, he still preferred to lead a simple life.

Recalling his 22-year-old long association with Reddy, noted environmentalist, Dr Yellappa Reddy says, Narayana Reddy had no degrees in entomology, soil science or pathology to study agriculture but his Gandhian approach to farming helped villages to become self-sufficient, which made him famous.

“According to Narayana Reddy, a seed is a living being and a plant is a living organism and only when a man develops a closeness to both, he can expect his land to be over 90% toxic free and completely fertile," said Dr Yellappa Reddy.

Dr Reddy also observed that although Narayana Reddy was able to inspire thousands of farmers and thousands to take up organic farming, the sad part is the village he was born in, is now staring at dangerous diseases due to pollution of the lakes of Bellandur and Varthur. Underground water in the periphery is also contaminated due to apathy by the civic administration.

In his 4.5-acre farm with a tube well which provides protective irrigation water, Narayana Reddy produced almost all the food needs for a family of six people. It also proves enough for outsiders who visit the organic farming training centre on occasion. 5,000 coconuts, 10 tonnes of sapota, about 2 tonnes of banana, 2.2 tons of Guava, 2 tons of papaya and 2 tons of vegetables are grown annually. Apart from cultivation, Reddy also has livestock like 6 cattle, 8 goats and 25 backyard poultry. Interestingly the farmland has 0% fertilizer.

Friends of Lakes convenor Ram Prasad who has been a friend of Reddy for the last 26 years says, Reddy was against government and bureaucracy playing games with farmers and enslaving them.

"Reddy was born in Varthur limits, this area was the hub of agriculture activity once but now urbanisation has taken over. Top builders queued up to Reddy in the quest to buy his land, but Reddy was against profiting by those means. He later brought land in Doddaballapur which now serves as a model for organic farming," Ram noted.