Agriculture World

Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi Bags International Prize for Innovative Organic Farming

A 25-year-old organic farmers group, Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi, has won global recognition for their determined efforts in innovating organic farming.

The Samithi is one of the two winners of the Organic Medal of Honour that was started by Xichong, a Chinese Municipality in collaboration with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) Asia in South Korea.

State secretary of the association, Mr. Ashok Kumar V told The News Minute that “The award will be given on 30th May in Xichong. The prize amount is USD 5,000 that is nearly around 3.5 lakh Indian rupees apart from the gold medal. This would be used by the association”.

The 25 years old organic farming association has as many as 15,000 members who are active farmers. The democratic formation and operations of the association that includes their process of fund collection, was one of the main reasons for their attracting the international award.

Mr. Ashok said, “We have small as well as large farmers who grow vegetables, food and cash crops in our association. Some of them cultivate on two cents and others with acres of farmland. Every year, we pick farmers to become board members & stakeholders from among themselves”.

The association selects Board members, an executive & a state body that comprises of presidents, treasurers, secretaries & others from every district. Mutually they discuss issues relating to organic cultivation and make decisions. They have bodies in the Panchayat, Taluk, District and State level.

The State secretary added that “While most other farming groups work as Non Government Organizations and request donations, we do not do that. Our members pool in money in case of any activities”.

The association has shown ways to guard traditional rice varieties as well as vegetables local to the state. He said, “We encourage growers to cultivate traditional varieties of rice to preserve them. We then sell these varieties so that people can purchase and grow them in other areas”. A few traditional vegetables that are persuaded to be grown include eggplant, okra, green chillies, beans etc.

paddy

The Samithi also conducts organic farming courses for people who are interested. The course is held for around 20 Sundays in twenty different farms where both theory of organic cultivation and practical classes are held.

Mr. Ashok said, “There is no indoor class. Our teachers are the farmers who have been growing organic produce. Students get to learn everything right from the history of agriculture in the state to organic farming methods, growing value added crops & marketing of organic products”.

They are also trained on how to dispose of pesticides on produce and how to cook organic produce to preserve nutrients. Besides the organic farming classes, at the village level, women and children are taught to keep houses toxin-free.

He told, “It is not only in the vegetables and fruit that you have toxins & pesticides but many other things that you buy like paint, cleaning agents etc., also contain toxic components. Students are taught to recognize and get rid of these”.

The association also organizes an organic farming festival in various districts yearly where members can talk about their discoveries or experiences in organic farming. This year, the festival was held in Vadakara in Kannur.

He also said, “Here we have growers, both members and those experts who come from outside the state, teaching us on their innovative ways of organic farming. This helps in exchange of ideas. For example, a farmer from Tamil Nadu, Swaminathan attended the festival in 2018 and presented their innovative organic cotton plant”.



Share your comments