Organic Farming Brings Hope
HOW IT BEGAN
Tamil Nadu is a state in Southern India. Sadiyaval is a small tribal village in Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu. Most of the people who live in Sadiyaval belong to a tribe called the Irulas tribe. The population in this village has now thinned down to about forty-four homes. The main reason being, farmers in this village were unable to cultivate crops and they had to resort to jobs on a daily wage basis. That was challenging for them, to say the least.
AMRITA FARMERS’ CLUB
Amrita SeRVe brought 20 men from the poorest families in Sadiyaval together to form a farmers’ club and trained them in organic farming. They were encouraged to experiment with it in 35 acres of land and the final decision was to cultivate organic Bhavani (A nutritious variety of rice in India) rice paddy.
As a group the farmers’ club members also learnt more about the latest organic fertilizers, new seeds, and the convergence method, which brings together traditional food systems with modern agribusiness.
The Sadiyaval Farmers’ club opened a bank account under the name of Amrita Vyayasayam kulu. They then formulated their guidelines to function as a group and delegated tasks such as land preparation, selection of seeds, soil, testing, crop planning and water budgeting.
BENEFITS OF ORGANIC FARMING
With chemical methods, when there is just a week without rain, the soil cracks and all young plants die. With organic farming, even after two weeks without rain, the soil was not damaged and the plants were healthy.
Moreover, the farmers used cow-waste like dung and urine for natural treatments of the soil and the plants. As a result, they stopped having the usual skin ailments like itching and burning caused by the chemicals.
Across 35 acres of land, the farmers have sown 1235 pounds of Bhavani Rice. This type has more hay than other varieties, which turned out to be a huge plus and was used in feeding the cattle. In fact, Bhavani hay is in demand and one acre can fetch about INR 1,500.
GRATITUDE TO AMMA
It’s the first time they’ve tried growing organic rice, so farmers from Sadivayal, Tamil Nadu, quickly brought the primary results of their efforts to Amma in Amritapuri. The rice that fell from their fingers into her hands was the sign of the first successful crop in the last five years. They say it is by her grace that their lives are taking a turn for the better.
SUCCESS STORY CONTINUES
The farmers are continuing their work till date with added zeal and enthusiasm. Their lives have changed for the better and their faces show hope that their lives will improve more and more with time.
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