CIKS was recognized as the Technology Resource Centre (TRC) by the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) during the year 2005. The main objective of this project is to build the capacity of the farmers on organic farming through trainings, make farmers more familiar about organic farming by establishing demonstration fields, to establish a rural library and a training centre and to develop various training modules on organic farming.
ACTIVITIES ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH THIS PROJECT
Various training programmes and systematic follow ups were conducted to build capacities of farmers.
A training center was constructed in our experimental farm to enable training programmes to take place in the farm itself.
Demonstration plots / areas were established at the TRC and at the selected farmers’ fields to demonstrate and disseminate various organic farming technologies.
A rural library was established at the TRC to help the farmers and NGOs to access various books, magazines, audiovisuals and training materials on organic farming.
Many organic farming technologies were developed and disseminated.
Books and educational materials related to organic farming technologies were developed and distributed to the farmers.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROJECT
Short term training programmes and followup training sessions were conducted for the beneficiaries belonging to Thiruvallur, Thiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram districts. They were trained on various aspects of organic farming like soil conservation, enriching soil fertility, pest and disease identification and their organic management techniques, kitchen gardening, medicinal plants and its uses compost and vermicompost production, biopesticide preparation etc. They were also trained on standards of Internal Control Systems and Certification Procedures. As a part of training sessions the participants were also taken to visit organic farms and fields in our project villages as well as in our experimental farm. The follow up trainings were conducted by the Farmer’s Field School (FFS) method. Wherein the farmers were asked to get into the paddy fields to collect and identify the pests, diseases and beneficial insects.
| Farmers in paddy field at Agani during a training programme
II. Trainer’s Training Programmes (TTP)
Through this programme, CIKS trained the representatives of various NGOs across the state on organic farming and related technologies to spread the idea of organic farming to a wider section of people and to involve more people into organic farming. The participants were trained on various organic farming technologies including, seed conservation, improving soil fertility, organic paddy cultivation, pests and diseases affecting paddy, preparation of botanicals, pests and diseases affecting vegetables, need for organic food, marketing of organic produce, preparation of Ayurvedic medicines, capacity building of NGOs, Internal Control Standards and Certification procedures, differences between the traditional and conventional farming, System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of paddy cultivation, Marketing of organic produce, vrkshayurveda, global warming etc.
| Demo of using pheromone trap in paddy fields for the farmers of Kolathancherry
III. FIELD DEMONSTRATION
As a part of this project, a number of technologies related to organic farming were suggested to the farmers during the monthly sangam meetings in the respective villages. Apart from disseminating the technologies and providing technical support, the organization also supplied the inputs necessary for organic farming to the beneficiaries.
The following are the technologies suggested to the farmers:
Production of Azolla seeds (more than five varieties)
Production of BGA seeds (blue green algae)
Production of Green manure seeds (Three varieties)
Use of traditional paddy varieties
Use of traditional vegetable varieties
Usage of weeder and chaff cutter
Demo paddy field
Cultivation of fodder crops
Establishing a herbal nursery and generating income by selling the saplings
Establishing a demo kitchen vegetable garden
Conserving water by practicing drip irrigation and mulching
Growing trees like mango, sapota and lemon organically
Collection of cow’s urine
Method of using cows urine and Amirthakaraisal
Conservation of traditional paddy and green manure seeds.
Based on their interest and experience, the farmers selected the technologies and implemented in their fields. A total of 61 technologies were supported and necessary inputs for the same were provided to the beneficiaries of Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Thiruvannamalai and Nagapattinam districts.
The demonstration fields served as learning centers for the farmers and created awareness about organic farming among the farmers of neighbouring villages also. The beneficiaries also made some contribution for implementing the technologies.
The technologies that have been undertaken in the farmer’s fields for demonstration were evaluated periodically. Most of them have attained the state of 100%. The results were satisfactory and we found that in most cases farmers have also contributed additionally and expanded the scope.
IV. TRAINING CENTRE
A training centre has been constructed in our Sukkankollai farm. This building was formally inaugurated on 20th April 2007. This is being utilized for several trainings for farmers, NGOs and staff members. It contains a training hall to house 60 trainees, a dormitory and a small office space. This building was further extended to host more number of trainees and the new block was inaugurated on 20th April 2009.
V. RURAL LIBRARY
Under this programme a rural library has also been constructed at the Sukkankollai farm in 160 sq.ft. area. In this library publications and magazines related to organic farming and related technologies, medicine, yoga, animal husbandry, general science, water conservation, agriculture, literatures and general books are maintained. This rural library caters at least 1000 people in the nearby villages. A Standard Operating Procedure for the maintenance of library and lending of books has been developed and being implemented.
VI. GREEN HOUSE
A green house has been constructed at the Sukkankollai farm in about 583.68 sq. ft. area with partial support through the project. It has been utilized for conducting various experiments and for growing crops under controlled environmental conditions. Trials were also taken to grow climate specific crops like cabbage and cauliflower.
| Our TRC building at the Sukankollai farm
VII. TECHNOLOGIES IMPLEMENTED IN OUR TRC
In our Technology Resource Centre various organic farming technologies are being implemented and serve as a sustainable demonstration farm for the farmers, NGOs, students, scientists and other aspirants. Following are some of the technologies that are implemented in our farm.
SRI method of paddy cultivation
On farm conservation of traditional paddy and vegetable varieties.
Demo kitchen garden
Demo herbal garden
Agroforestry area - for the conservation of natural biodiversity of the farm
Shade net house
Farming implements (Decorticator, cono weeder, Brush weeder etc.)
Organic fodder cultivation
Organic way of animal husbandry
Green manure production
Non – chemical pest management techniques
Collection of cow’s urine
Organic seed production in paddy, vegetables and green manure.
Buffer zones and bio fences
VIII. EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL
As a part of this project, nine books have been published. Following are the books that were published under this project. These books were distributed as source material for the farmers during the training programmes.
1. Iyarkai Velanmayil Thavarakaraisalgal
This booklet describes about the various plant based extracts used in organic agriculture to manage pests and diseases. Details about the preparation procedure and methods of use of these extracts have also been provided.
2. Manvala Mempadu
This booklet describes the importance of using natural resources to improve soil fertility. It provides information on the composting techniques and the use of green manure, green leaf manure and certain plant growth promoters.
3. Parambariya nel rahangal
This book provides detailed information on 81 indigenous rice varieties. For each variety, the cultivation details, agronomical features, characteristics of the ear head and the grains and yield of grain and straw are given. It also provides information on certain special features of the variety such as pest resistance, drought tolerance, medicinal properties etc.
Copies of these books have been distributed to the farmers and other NGOs working in the area of organic farming. Apart from these, a number of training modules and power point presentations have also been prepared for providing training to the farmers. During the trainings, the farmers were also supplied with various course materials on improving soil fertility, conserving traditional varieties, organic cultivation methods, pest identification, organic pest and disease management, medicinal plants cultivation and uses etc.
Iyarkkaivazhi Teevana Payir Sagupadi (Organic Fodder Cultivation)
This booklet gives detailed information on the organic cultivation techniques for important fodder crops of Tamil Nadu.
5. Iyarkkaivazhi Vunavu (Organic Foods)
This publication in Tamil gives basic information about organic foods. Some of the frequently asked questions about organic food have been answered in this booklet. Besides this it also gives information on some of the outlets where organic foods are sold in Tamil Nadu.
6. Iyarkaivazhi poochi matrum noi melanmai (Organic Pest and Disease Management)
This is a set of posters designed in the form of a booklet in Tamil. The booklet consists of the three sections with 10 colour posters. The first section consists of 3 posters discussing about the various pests attacking vegetables, highlighting identification of important pests of vegetables and their control measures. The second section of 3 posters deals with the various diseases attacking vegetables, their identification and control measures. The third section of four posters gives general information on various non-chemical pest control methods and methodology of preparing various plant extracts. The descriptions are accompanied by colour photographs, making it easier even for a layman to identify the various pests and diseases attacking vegetables. This booklet would serve as a useful tool for anybody wanting to shift to organic agriculture.
7. Semmai nel sagupady – Oru arimugam (System of Rice Intensification – An introduction)
The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method is gaining popularity in recent days because of the advantages involved in it like low requirement of water, seeds etc. This publication in Tamil provides information on ways to implement SRI method of rice cultivation organically. It also highlights the advantages of SRI method of cultivation.
8. Iyarkai Velanmayil Thavarakaraisalgal (Revised edition)
This revised booklet in Tamil describes about the various plant based extracts used in organic agriculture to manage pests and diseases. Details about the preparation procedure and methods of use of these extracts have also been provided.
9. Manvala Mempadu (Revised edition)
This booklet describes the importance of using natural resources to improve soil fertility. It provides information on the composting techniques and the use of green manure, green leaf manure and certain plant growth promoters for the management of soil fertility with additionally added points.
Copies of these books were distributed to the farmers and other NGOs working in the area of organic farming. Apart from these, a number of training modules and power point presentations have also been prepared for providing training to the farmers. During the trainings, the farmers were also supplied with various course materials on improving soil fertility, conserving traditional varieties, organic cultivation methods, pest identification, organic pest and disease management, medicinal plant cultivation and uses etc.
Mr. AV.Balasubramanian--Director, CIKS
IX. MEETINGS AND TRAININGS
1. TRCs CONSULTATION MEETING
CAPART hosted a consultation meeting of the TRCs (Training Resource Centres) to ascertain their experiences and views on the mandate of CAPART. This meeting was organized by Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS) at Chennai on 17th March 2008. Representatives from nine TRCs from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu participated in this meeting.
Mr. A.V. Balasubramanian, Director of CIKS, welcomed the gathering. The Director General (DG) of CAPART Mr. M.S. Desalphine in his inaugural address explained the purpose of the meeting. The DG also released four new publications of CIKS on organic farming. Mr. P.N.Srinivasan, Director, Rural Technology Division, CAPART presented some of the important findings and suggestions of the Shri.N.Vittal Committee report. The report had made a comprehensive evaluation of the TRCs in January 2005 and submitted its report in April 2005. SWOT analysis of both CAPART and TRCs were presented as well as the recommendations for rejuvenation of TRCs. The TRC representative utilized the opportunity to brief the DG and his team on their core activities and constraints faced. The DG chaired the feedback and discussion session and responded to the comments and suggestions of TRCs. Mr. P. N.Srinivasan proposed a vote of thanks. Mr.A.V.Balasubramanian, Director, CIKS, thanked all the CAPART officials and the TRCs for their participation.
2. TRAINING ON ORGANIC CERTIFICATION
Organic certification has become a need of the day to market the organic products with a marginal profit. Most of the farmers are aware of organic certification and its importance in marketing but are informed about the procedures to obtain certification. In order to help them, four training programmes on “Organic Farming Certification” were conducted at our Technology resource centre. Participants from different districts of Tamil Nadu participated in this training programme. . The participants were trained on the procedures involved in obtaining certification and also about the accreditation agencies. They were also taken around the organic farm of CIKS which has been certified organic.
3. STUDENT STUDY
A group of ten final year Under Graduate Agriculture students from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU), Coimbatore visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai for their short term project. They stayed at our TRC and carried out surveys on five different topics such as status of crop loan scheme that is being implemented by CIKS, status of micro enterprises that are supported by CIKS in Kancheepuram and Thiruvannamalai districts, cost difference between organic and inorganic vegetable cultivation, Case study of organic farmers and current problems in organic farming.
4. TRAINING TO ASPIRERS
A group of four members from the Academy of Development Science, Maharashtra visited our experimental farm in Sukkankollai between 21st and 22nd May, to acquaint themselves and get practically trained on various organic farming technologies. They were trained on various topics including organic farming cultivation methods, organic methods of pest and disease management, SRI (System of Rice Intensification) cultivation techniques, preparation of biopesticides and their uses, various methods of compost and vermicompost production, organic farming certification and standards of ICS (Internal Control System). Following this, demonstration of SRI cultivation techniques - method of nursery preparation and transplantation, preparation of biopesticides and compost production were done. They were also given an overview of various activities taken up in our farm and visited the biopesticide, biofertiliser and vermicompost production units, demo herbal and kitchen gardens and fields of traditional paddy varieties.
X. VISITS / TRAININGS
During the project period, the organization has offered several trainings on organic farming to the representatives of other NGO’s, academic institutions and farmer groups. The details of the same are provided below.
On 10th October 2005, Mr. Ranjit Henry of KOLAM visited us along with a group of twelve visitors belonging to the Fair Trade network for an exposure to the work of our centre. They were appraised about the various activities of the centre.
Shri A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre (MCRC), Chennai, a TRC of CAPART, conducted a ten day training programme on “Rural Technologies” for the NGOs working in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu between 9th and 18th November 2005. As a part of this programme, a one day field visit and training was organized on 16th November at our experimental farm at Sukkankollai for the participants to gain knowledge of the rural technologies in the field. About forty representatives from various NGOs participated in this training programme. They were appraised about the activities of the centre and they were taken around the farm, where they had a chance to see the various traditional paddy varieties conserved. Theory and a demonstration on the preparation of the various biopesticides were also done for them.
On 29th December 2005, a group of eight students from Sri Jayendra Saraswathi College of Ayurveda, Nazarethpet, near Chennai visited our centre. There was a meeting between the students and the CIKS research team. They were explained about the work being carried out by the Centre for the last several years in the area of Vrkshayurveda.
On 24th and 25th February 2006, MCRC organized a workshop on Rural Technologies for NGOs in Tamilnadu and Pondicherry, in the village of Vadakadambadi near Mahabalipuram. As a part of this programme, on 18th March 2006, a training programme on organic farming technologies was organized for the participants in our training centre at Sukkankollai.
On 11th April 2006, a practical training on preparation of various plant based extracts and identification of various pests and diseases was conducted for a group of 35 students and faculty members of the CSI Ewarts College. They were also appraised about the various activities of the organisation. They were also taken around the farm to see the various traditional varieties cultivated in the farm.
On 19th and 20th July, an orientation workshop on organic farming was organized by AFPRO, Delhi in Pachmari for nearly 70 NGO representatives. Our staff Subhashini Sridhar served as a resource person in this workshop and discussed the participants on topics such as organic pest management, vrkshayurveda and SRI method.
On 21st and 22nd April 2006, a group of six members including farmers and NGO staff from Srilanka visited our centre. This trip was organized by Mr. Ranjith Henry of Kolam. They visited our training centre, Cooperative sugar mill’s biocontrol lab and organic farms at Chithravadi village. They had an interactive session with the farmers of Chithravadi village. They were appraised about the various activities of CIKS.
On 5th May 2006, a group of 32 students along with Dr. Prema Kumari from Loyola College visited our training centre to get to know the various aspects of organic agriculture.
On 30th May 2006, a visit to our experimental farm at Sukkankollai was organized by MCRC for a group of 42 students who attended a course on conservation of bioresources.
On 9th November 2006, Mr. Baluthennavan, Reporter, Pasumai Vigadan, Chennai visited our training centre and experimental farm along with his colleagues to know the various organic farming activities of the centre.
On 6th December 2006, Mr. Yoji Kamata from Japan visited our farm and training centre to know the various activities of our centre and work related to organic agriculture.
On 25th December 2006, sixteen members from the VORTEX organization visited our. They were appraised about the various activities of the centre. They also gave suggestions on simplifying some of the farm equipments.
On 8th January 2007 Dr. Kerry and Ms. Alexandria from Sturt University, Australia visited our training centre to learn about the various activities of the centre and organic farming technologies. They were taken around the farm and appraised about the various activities of the organization.
On 23rd February 2007, a group of 11 farmers organized by the LEAD NGO in Trichy visited our training centre and experimental farm to learn organic farming technologies.
On 27th February 2007, Ms. Peggy Carswell, Coordinator, Fertile Ground, Assam along with a group of six members visited our training centre and spent a week there and learnt the various organic farming technologies.
On 14th March 2007, a group of 14 farmers from the organic farmer’s sangam, Sirkazhi visited our experimental farm and training centre to get to know the various aspects of organic cultivation.
On 17th March 2007, a group of 17 members from the ADA office, Chenglepet visited our experimental farm and training centre to get to know our activities.
On 24th March 2007, a group of 90 students and faculty members from CSI Ewarts Womens College Melrosapuram visited our experimental farm and training centre. They were also appraised about the various activities of the organisation. They were also taken around the farm to see the various traditional varieties cultivated in the farm.
On 1st June 2007, a group of 30 farmers organized by the CAST NGO in Thirunelveli visited our training centre at Sukkankollai to get to know the various aspects of organic cultivation. They were appraised about our activities and taken around the experimental farm. Practical sessions were also conducted on preparation of some of the botanicals.
Mr. Giuseppe Busalacchi from ICEI, an Italian Funding Agency, Mr. I. M. Najeem from ICEI, Sri Lanka, Mr. Harischandra Silva from Gami Sewa Sewana, Srilanka and Mr. Nimal Dayaratni from the Department of Agriculture, Ampara District, Sri Lanka spent eight days during July 2007 in our training centre to know the various activities of the centre and various aspects of organic agriculture.
On 6th August 2007, six students from Kalavai Agricultural College visited our experimental farm and training centre to have exposure on various aspects of organic agriculture.
On 30th October 2007, 19 beneficiaries from Sithivinayagapuram SHG, Sirkazhi visited our farm for an exposure visit.
Three farmer groups visited our training centre on 8th December 2007, 26th and 28th January 2008 respectively to learn the organic farming technologies. These exposure visits were organized by Tribal Health Initiative, a NGO in Dharmapuri. The farmers were trained on various aspects of organic cultivation. Practical demonstration of some of the plants based extracts was also done for them.
On 11th January 2008, Mr. Nicholas Halbery from Centre for Organic Farming and Mr. Paneerselvam, Ph.D. student from Denmark visited our farm to know the various organic farming technologies that are followed in our farm.
On 26th January 2008, Dr. Sangeetha and Dr. Anandan from Annamalai University, Chidambaram visited the farm to observe the various organic methods followed in our farm.
On 17th March 2008, a group of 13 farmers from Pazhnaiyur and Dharmathupatty villages of Dindigul district visited the farm to observe the various organic farming technologies that are followed in the farm.
On 17th May 2008, a group of students headed by Dr. Selvanayagam, Loyola College visited our Sukkankollai farm as a part of the Vocational training programme.
On 9th October 2008, a group of 28 farmers from Dindigul district visited our experimental farm to get to know about various organic farming technologies.
On 26th October 2008, Mr. Nicolas Rowlean from Canada visited our experimental farm and observed the various organic farming technologies that are followed in the farm.
On 18th November 2008, Mr. Srinivasan from Exnora International, Chennai and Mr. Abubakkar from ECOMWHEL visited our Sukkankollai farm.
On 7th December 2008, a group of 25 farmers from Sirkazhi visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai and observed the various organic farming technologies that are followed in the farm.
On 9th March 2009, a group of 45 under graduate students from Womens’ Christian College, Chennai visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai.
On 29th March 2009, Mr. Karthikeyan Managing Director, Senaapathy Kangeyam Cattle Research Foundation (P) Ltd., Erode visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai.
On 25th May 2009, Mr. Sabu M. Siman and Ms. T. Siju from Peermade Development Society, Kerala visited our experimental farm.
On 2nd June 2009, Mr. Rajeev Khedkar from Academy of Development Science, Pune visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai.
On 6th June 2009, a group of 30 farmers working with the NGO, Hand in Hand visited Sukkankollai farm to get to know about various organic farming technologies.
On 24th June 2009, a group of seven staff from the NGO - Hand in Hand visited our Sukkankollai farm and observed the various organic farming technologies that are followed in the farm.
On 14th September 2009, Mr. Maartin La Ferriere, Architect from BIOME based at Bangalore visited the Sukkankollai farm and observed the various organic farming technologies that are followed in the farm.
| SRI Nursery preparation