1. Success Story

Inspiring Story of a Farmer from Idukki who created A Spices Society to help Farmers Reclaim the Soils and Sell their Products

K. Ramesan, a farmer from Idukki, Kerala cultivates cardamom, ginger, turmeric, pepper & rubber and sells the products in the Prakash Gram Spices Farmers Society. Idukki farmers are continuously been faced not only by market and prices, but also natural disasters and wild animals.

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
idukki farmer

Ramesan, a farmer from Idukki, Kerala cultivates cardamom, ginger, turmeric, pepper & rubber and sells the products in the Prakash Gram Spices Farmers Society. Idukki farmers are continuously been faced not only by market and prices, but also natural disasters and wild animals. K. Ramesan formed a Society to sell the crops of the local farmers to give them due profit that doesn’t happen otherwise .Only a real farmer can understand his fellow beings says Ramesan.

Prakash Gram Spices Farmers Society, formed by 100 farmers, is functioning in Karunapuram Gram Panchayat in Idukki and is well known for its efforts and success towards helping farmers in reclaiming the soil that has been destroyed by the destruction of the soil and nature through excessive application of chemical fertilizers. 

The farmers in the collective grow all kinds of spices like pepper, cardamom, ginger, clove without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. Prakash Gram's bright new face includes a unit for producing organic manure, a nursery for producing coconut saplings, self - constructed rain gutters and ponds made of silpoline sheet in large pits for storing rainwater. The Prakash Gram Farmers' Association also imparts a lot of agricultural lessons to the farmers who aspire to do organic farming.

They also lease fallow land on a large scale and also is at present focussing on the production of various vegetables. Beans are produced in large quantities here. K Ramesan, President of the Prakash Gram Spices Farmers' Society and one of the architects of the community, testified that beans do not suffer from pests like other vegetables. The cultivation of pulses, brinjals, tomatoes and cabbage also brings additional income to the farmers of Prakash Gram. The Societies excellence is in planning to find the right market for organically grown products. Value-added coconut oil, honey, pure dried turmeric powder, pepper powder and coffee powder are sold in large quantities all over India. It sells quickly because it is chemical free and made in small batched very carefully without any adulterants.

They are also receiving support from the Department of Agriculture. There are also plans to start an organic shop at the Idukki to sell the vegetables. The Department of Agriculture has provided a subsidy of `2 lakh for the Vegetable Stall. Prakash Gram's activities also include organizing farmer empowerment seminars and conducting agricultural study tours.The Farmers' Collective Labor Force also operates under the Society. In addition, the society owns agricultural machinery worth Rs. 13 lakhs. The joint venture also secured a subsidy of Rs 10 lakh for the machines. The coffee bean machine, cardamom grading machine and dryers all elevate Prakash Gram to self-sufficiency. These farmers also find markets for their produce through the Eco Shops in Thiruvananthapuram. 

The Society is at present preparing for new interventions in the field of agriculture in the third year of its formation. The soil that once produced gold in the High Range is now barren. The aim is to find fallow lands and cultivate them organically and grow vegetables, bananas, kappa and various other tubers.5 acres of fallow land in Tukkupalam,Idukki  which had been lying fallow for 20 years has been leased out and cultivation has been started. The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Gram-Block Panchayats. To expand vegetable cultivation, 20 farmers are to be identified and a cluster suitable for cultivation on 5 hectares of land will be formed soon. For this, an agency like NABARD is being approached. K Ramesan, president of the society, said that there are plans to cultivate kernels in one acre. 

Prakash Gram's work is not limited to agriculture. For those who are interested in farm tourism, it offers facilities and opportunities for recreational activities like trekking. Those who love agriculture and wanting to learn more about soil and farming are always welcome  says K. Ramesan, President of the Society. 

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