IT’S CLEAR THAT AGRICULTURE AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, DONE RIGHT, IS THE BEST MEANS THE WORLD HAS TODAY TO SIMULTANEOUSLY TACKLE FOOD SECURITY, POVERTY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION.
KSSS MAKES CONCERTED EFFORTS TO PROVIDE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY USING PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT.
Kottayam Social Service Society promotes group framing for farmers. Group farming, alternatively known as community farming, is a livelihood approach. It consists of a group of small and marginal farmers, and landless poor in a village who work together to utilize the cultivable waste lands or under-utilized lands to earn their livelihoods. Little attention has been paid to group farming, an intermediate alternative model, despite the fact that pooling land, labour and capital could have economic, environmental and social advantages. With the support of KSSS people started group farming of tapioca, paddy, banana, vegetables and cash crops.
A novel scheme –‘Bhalavriksha Vyapanam’ was inaugurated at a meeting of 400 farmers held at Chaithanya Pastoral Centre. The inauguration was done by Mrs. Beena Binu (Block Panchayath President, Ettumanoor). The meeting was presided over by Shri Joy Onnukkallel (Municipal Chairman, Ettumanoor). Besides the organizers on behalf of KSSS, dignitaries, and leaders such as Mrs. Marykutty Sebastian (Gramapanchayath President, Athirampuzha) and Shri John Mavellil (Representative, Federation of KSSS Self help group of Men) delivered speeches.2000 coconut tree saplings were given away on the occasion.
Kottayam Social Service Society in coalition with Goonj Federation organized a Six-day Training Programme on Coconut Climbing for farmers. Shri V. M. Chacko (Regional Transport Officer, Kottayam) climbed the coconut tree with the help of coconut climbing machine and expressed his acknowledgment for the job. In fact, the programme was inaugurated thus to motivate the trainees and instill in them a confidence and sense of dignity that is essential for an ideal farmer and it made everyone excited. The six-day systematic training included demonstration and practical sessions in coconut climbing using machine, detailed classes on measures to be adopted for the protection of coconut trees, allied activities, possibilities for value addition, self employment opportunities, desirable qualities of an entrepreneur such as earning habit etc.
Fodder cultivation was promoted among the villagers last year. The merits of this are that the products can be used for the domestic animals in the farms and the root of these grasses is capable of controlling soil erosion. People who have implemented this activity speak very positively about its use.
Kottayam Social Service Society has been providing high yielding seeds and seedlings to the Self Help Group members and for the general public for agricultural and Ayurvedic purposes at cheaper rates though its agricultural nursery at the Chaithanya Pastoral Centre. Through this, we aim to promote an eco-friendly society by promoting kitchen and ayurvedic gardens. The quality we insist on and the comparatively less cost, encourage people to buy more plants. We also save certain plants, which are facing high existence threat from the face of the earth. This will increase our forestation, prevent drought and soil erosion and consequently able to breathe fresh air. There are two agricultural nurseries in Thadiyampad and Karimkunnam of Idukki district. Yearly agricultural fest is organized under this nursery at the Chaithannya Pastoral Centre.
Earthworms have been on earth over 20 million years. Their purpose is simple but highly important. Earthworm is a natural resource for fertility and life of soil. Vermin composting is the process of turning organic debris into worm castings. The worm castings are very important for the fertility of the soil. With the aim of promoting organic farming among people, KSSS endeavored for supporting vermin compost units among farm club members. The goals of this initiative were dual, that vermin compost making should sustain itself as an income generation activity; secondly, that it should contribute to sustainable farming locally.
Dissemination of information is a need of time. The right information at the right time will catalyze overall development of the people’s organization. Here we collect and disseminate information, indigenous knowledge and details of emerging trends in agriculture etc. to farmers for fruitful application towards eco-friendly development. The dissemination of the same will encourage the farmers for future reflection and action
We have developed and implemented the concept of seed bank among the farmers. The farmers will contribute the high quality seeds to the seed bank and other farmers can use it for sow and make use of the benefit out of it. The dissimilation of the seed will help the farmers to produce high quality product and yield.
With the participation of the KSSS’s self-help group members, the Bhakshya Mithra Programme (a food security programme) has been initiated for one year with the aim to produce and supply nutritious and poison free food items. Through the Bhakshya Mithra Programme, KSSS has implemented 10 major activities such as ‘Ente Veettumuttathu’, Jaiva Gramam’, ‘Karshaka reksha’, ‘Karshaka sureksha’, ‘Ente Krishibhumiyiloode’, ‘Neerthada Vikasam’, ‘Arivukal Avakashangal’, ‘Grameena Vipanikal’, ‘Oorja Sree’, and ‘Ente Bhakshanam Ente Gramathil.
Organic Agriculture plays an important role as on alternative to the chemical based agriculture. Organic agriculture includes all agricultural system that promote the environmentally, socially and economically sound production of high quality food sufficient to feed all the people, while protecting the soils and enhancement their fertility as well as minimizing environmental pollution and the use of non- renewable natural resources. KSSS promotes organic farming of plantlets and seedlings, bio fertilizers etc. By the special intervention of KSSS, about 135 farmers get organic certification with INDOCERT.
We have organized exposure programme for the members of farm club and also for the leaders of SHG for getting exploration in different fields. The members were taken to the KVK and other similar agriculture centers. The exposure programme convinced the members by the positive impacts and fruitfulness of scientific agriculture practices.
As part of the income generation programme we have promoted different live stocks in the people especially self help group members. The members are get an adequate income from this for their livelihood.
We have promoted:-
Mollusc processing unit equipments worth Rs. 5, 00,000/- were distributed for 20 inland fishermen in Ayanattu Colony of Vechoor Panchayath. Repairing of Fishing boats, support for boat engines, distribution of fishing nets, Chinese fishing nets, setting up of cold storage facilities were the other components of the proposed welfare programme. These programmes were charted for uplifting the inland fishermen who had lost their livelihoods in the disastrous Kerala floods.
In order to strengthen the coffee farmers, KSSS in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology conducted a one-day training programme on coffee rejuvenation technologies for coffee farmers in Vazhathoppu Panchayath, Idukki district. The programme was officially inaugurated by a leader of the tribal colony Mr. Vijayakumar MM. Among the other dignitaries who attended the programme were Fr. Jomon Kunnakkattuthadathil (Secretary, Greenvalley Development Society).Mrs. Rakhi C.S. (Principal investigator), Mr. Cyriac Joseph (Programme Officer, KSSS), Mrs. Aiswarya Prasad (Asst. Liaison Officer, Coffee Board, ldukki) and Mr. DeepuThankachan (Tribal Promoter). A seminar on the topic, “Introduction and Popularisation of Technologies suitable for coffee Rejuvenation” was taken by Mr. Venkitta Raj.
In partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, KSSS distributed coffee bean samplings and organic fertilizers at Maniyarankucly, Vattamedu, Perunkala and Kolumban villages of ldukki district. Training on budding and grafting of the coffee plant was provided as part of the programme. Altogether 160 tribal families benefited from the project implemented with the aim to improve the production of coffee plants through the introduction of various rejuvenation technologies.
KSSS SHG members proved that it is not necessary that availability of lots of space is not a priority to grow fruits and vegetables in one’s own premises. Kitchen gardening was one widespread activity promoted innovatively by KSSS in the target villages. KSSS encouraged its members to grow kitchen gardens and reduce their expenditure on food. Surplus crops could be sold off to generate additional income for the household.
Fruit and vegetable processing activities have been set up at the central level and supported in the villages to generate new sources of income for the SHG members and also to develop new value-added products
Medicinal Plants form the major resource base of our indigenous health-care traditions. Kerala has been at the forefront of Ayurvedic revolution in the country. Recognizing the need, KSSS in conjunction with the State Medicinal Plant Board commenced the promotion of medicinal plants in its targeted villages.
The “Promoting Herbal Gardens in Schools” has been a fun-filled learning activity for the children where they got the opportunity to learn about the medicinal plants by actually planting the medicinal herbs and watching them grow in their gardens, and by exploring information about them from various sources. Kottayam Social Service Society with the support of National Medicinal Plants Board (Government of India, Department of AYUSH) and State Medicinal Plants Board (Government of Kerala) continues to create awareness among school children for identification, protection, promotion and conservation of medicinal plant species in the plant kingdom. For this purpose, we have covered 40 schools in Kottayam District. Medicinal plant species with name boards describing its common name, scientific name, family name and the medicinal usage were distributed.
The main advantage from the practice of One-Paddy One-Fish Cultivation is that, the land gives sustained yield year after year. The economic and energy efficiency of this agro-ecosystem is known to be high and rice production is deemed to be surplus after meeting local needs. An understanding of this agro-ecosystem function becomes significant and it offers opportunities for redevelopment with additional scientific inputs. Hence, KSSS have made attempt in implementing the scheme with successful result.
In order to diffuse effectively the celebration spirit of the Archdiocesan Centenary to the farmers’ community at the grassroots, Farmer-Couple get-togethers were conducted at KSSS’ Regional levels. Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kottayam presided over the meetings in general and various prominent leaders inaugurated the get-togethers in the different Regions. Thus Hon. Minister for Rural Development – Shri. K.C. Joseph, Hon. Revenue Minister – Shri. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Hon. Minister for Water Resources – Shri. P.J. Joseph, Hon. MLA and Minister, Shri. Mons Joseph inaugurated the get-togethers at Kidangoor, Edackat, Chunkom and Uzhavoor Regions respectively. These get-togethers which were organized under the general coordination of the male SHG members were a splendid programme and presented a novel experience to all. Diverse competitions were conducted along with the get-together and the lucky farmer-couple was found through lucky-draw and specially honored. The warm Reception arranged with each get-together was also an encouragement and forum for strengthening the we-feeling among all participants.
The keeping of ornamental fish in aquaria is an age-old hobby, popular even today irrespective of age, class, creed or geographical variations in the residing area of hobbyists. KSSS in association with NABARD provided training on Ornamental-fish farming on June 18th with the aim of opening new economic opportunities and prospects. 49 representatives from the different villages in the operational areas of KSSS participated in the training. Classes were taken by eminent personalities from Matsyafed – the Kerala state Co-operative Federation for Fisheries Development Ltd. (It is the Apex Federation of primary level welfare societies in the coastal fishery sector started with the objective of ensuring economic and social development of the fishermen community through various schemes aimed at promoting the production, procurement, processing and marketing of fish and fish products. The individuals who have taken training in Ornamental fish culture have established ornamental culture and breeding centres
With the aim of creating more income opportunities for SHG members, monthly-training in Mushroom Cultivation is being provided at the central level from this reporting year. This programme has paved new ways for many individuals in society to derive income and contribute towards food security. Mushroom farmers sustain their production through the effective sale of mushrooms to available local and external markets. KSSS envisions promoting mushroom cultivation among farmers and facilitating supporting services in the future. During the training program, resource persons taught scientific aspects of mushroom cultivation, making of seed beds; value-added products derived from mushroom products and arranged opportunities for practical exposure at KSSS’ Mushroom production unit.
Bees are one of the most useful and busiest insects ever seen in the animal kingdom. Beekeeping has been an inexpensive hobby that provides a sweet bonus each year. KSSS organizes Bee-keeping training for those interested in this field and also those who have relative ideas and would like to know about the scientific methods. The training helped them to gather knowledge on personal equipment, cost, seasonal changes, bee hives, extracting equipment and sustainability of the same. The programme was an interactive session for those who had prior knowledge and enriching session for the beginners.
KSSS in collaboration with NABARD arranged training for the lead farmers. On July 15th, training was provided to a selected few Lead farmers from 5 regions (Uzhavoor, Edacat, Kaipuzha, Kidangoor and Kadathuruthy). Mr. Mohan V., DDM, NABARD for Kottayam and Alappuzha districts explained the aim of the special Training; qualities required of a good farmer and also encouraged their participation in forthcoming trainings. Mr. A.T. Thomas, renowned environment activist took a seminar highlighting the indicators and effects of Climate Change already affecting Kerala and the urgent need for organized efforts to counter environmental problems. 55 Farmers participated in the training. The Training was arranged as a preliminary activity for initiating Joint Liability Group (JLG) project of NABARD.
The concept of Sunday Market is one of the initiatives taken by KSSS to allow direct marketing by farmers. KSSS launched the Sunday Market project on April 3, 2016 at Mattakara village. The project aims to promote organic farming and help farmers gain better income from their farming and farm-related activities. Other than fruits and vegetables, confectionary items, pickles and other cleansing materials are also put for sale.