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Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Smithi at Organic Mahotsav

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Smithi (Kerala Organic Farmers Association) is a voluntary organisation that has been working in the state since 25 years on Organic Farming. Their programs focuses on Ecology, Health and Clean Food. Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi was formed in 1992 by a group of environmentalists in One Earth One Life’ with leadership from famous ecologist John C. Jacob, naturopathy doctor Dr. C.R. R. Varma and expert in Organic Farming K.V Dayal. Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi is a collective made by the farmers to participate in clean food production, inspire local community to get involved in environment friendly farming. The Samithi also collects food products, give fair price to farmers, and thereby helping the communities procure chemical free food.

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Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi undertakes Organic Farming Certificate Course, organise Local Organic Markets to provide nutrient rich food to the fellow members in the community. Organic farmers who are locally authenticated could come and sell their own products in these open markets. Occasionally they also organise traditional rice festivals and melas to support paddy farmers. Samithi also helps in conserving traditional seeds with different qualities including pest resistance, drought tolerance, flood tolerance, saline tolerance etc. suitable for Kerala agro-climatic conditions. These seeds are generally shared to other interested farmers and newcomers through the Jaiva Karshaka Sangamam, seed festivals and food festivals. They have a campaign to conserve Paddy lands in Kerala under the name Vayalraksha Keralaraksha and organise programmes under this campaign for giving awareness on depletion of area under paddy cultivation and rampant conversion of fallow paddy lands.

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Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi Participated in the Organic Mahotsav, the Seventh in the series of the popular biennial conventions held by the Organic Farming Association. Their stalls stood out by providing the warmest welcome and relaxed atmosphere.The products on display were exclusive items that were brought to Udaipur with so much care and dedication. As we already know Kerala is famous for its  Plantains, coconut, gourds and yam. The Diversity in Banana varieties amazed all at Organic Mahotsav. These varieties had been collected from different parts of Kerala and were named Sundari, Kali, Palayankodan, Chundilakkanna, Kadali, Poovan and Charapadatti.

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Organic Mahotsav viewers stood enthralled astonished by the vastness and diversity of the Yam (tuber) collections of which their size ranged from 3-4 inches to a foot in width. Yams have a cylindrical shape with blackish or brown, bark-like skin and white, purple, or reddish flesh and they are starchier and drier. They were all named in Malayalam, the regional language. Some of them were like Muram Chari, Palakka Kachil, Kaduva Kayyan(resembled the paw of a tiger),Maatu Kachil, Kuzhi nirayan, Maaran Chembu, Nooran Kachil, Kuthu Kizhangu (Lesser Yam).The other products ranged from Organic Cold Pressed oil, Banana flowers, an alternative to coffee powder called Jhappi, Banana chips, Jackfruit chips, Jackfruit, Passion fruits, Air potato, Pineapple, Mango ginger etc.

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Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi stands as a testimony being the farmers who travelled the maximum distance to Udaipur and brought with them an astounding vastness and diversity of Kerala, irrespective of whether or not affected by the recent climate change experiences. We need resilient Collectives like Jaiva Karshaka Samithi to inspire many to come in to the forefront of Organic Farming.

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