While homoeopathy has demonstrated benefit when used on human beings, it now appears that it has the same effect on plant life as well. Over local 400 farmers have switched from soil-degrading chemicals to homoeopathic solutions and according to a government-appointed research group, their potato harvests have shown a longer shelf-life, in addition to an apparent increase in yield.The man responsible for these homoeopathic formulations is Swami Paramananda, an ascetic in Allahabad who has been selling the mixtures to farmers for the last five years. With the use of some of his plant remedies, widely-used fertilizers such as DAP (diammonium phosphate) and urea are no longer needed, while other mixtures are used as preventative measures against plant diseases and pests.
"Potatoes grown using my mixtures don't shrivel up even months after harvesting. They don't require cold storage too," Paramananda says. "Farmers find these (mixtures) economical, effective and healthy. One little snag is that spraying can be laborious."
On top of that, Paramananda has a effective way of marketing his products to people — he goes straight for the gut by organizing community feasts that use homoeopathically-grown produce — and it seems to be spreading the word, appetite by appetite.
A government committee consisting of university scientists and government officials has been conducting preliminary studies into the phenomenon.
Uttar Pradesh Council of Agriculture Research's deputy director general Dr R.S. Rathore confirmed some of the claims for the homoeopathic remedies. "We saw some visible effects and the farmers were satisfied. But we will give out the results only after three years of testing. However, we did see that homoeopathically-grown potatoes have a longer shelf life."