This second phase of the Ford foundation supported project was implemented in Kancheepuram, Thiruvannamalai, Dindigul and Nagapattinam districts from July 2006. This project concluded in July 2009.
The major objectives of the project were:
- Build capacities of farmers to do organic farming thereby increasing their food and livelihood security.
- Find ways and plans to provide an enabling environment to practice organic farming.
ACTIVITIES DONE UNDER THE PROJECT
- Organic farmer’s self-help groups were formed in 21 villages. The monthly savings of the members were utilized for agricultural activities.
- Support for organic cultivation was provided to 230.96 ha from 24 villages of all the four districts in the form of input subsidy and crop loan.
- CIKS supported the farmers for organic cultivation by providing them with the necessary quality organic like neem cake, biofertilizers, earthworms, seeds, barrels, pheromone traps and nursery trays.
- More than 500 acres of land is currently being cultivated completely organically in 24 villages under this programme. All the area has been registered for organic certification and is under the status of in conversion.
- Trainings on different aspects of organic farming technologies, Internal Control Systems (ICS) and legal awareness were provided to the beneficiaries. Practical demonstrations of various technologies were also done.
- Exposure visits to other organic farms and farmers groups were organized for the beneficiaries. More than 5000 farmers have benefited from these training programmes and exposure visits.
- A small set of potential farmers were identified and provided with leadership trainings and taken to visit other organic farmers and their farms and developed as farmer trainers.
- A neem seed processing unit and a biofertilizer unit was established in Thiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram districts respectively. The production has been started in this unit. Quality inputs are being produced in these units and distributed to the farmers.
- To strengthen and build the capacities of NGOs training programmes were conducted for – THI, NARDEP, CAST, SIMCODESS, Velicham trust, Tamizhaga Uzhavar Thozhilnutpa Kazhagam. The follow-up trainings were conducted for these NGOs. Apart from this, four Trainer’s Training Programmes (TTPs) were conducted for the representatives of 28 NGOs in Tamil Nadu to build their capacities on various aspects of organic farming techniques.
- Loans have been provided to 20 farmers for establishing small-scale enterprises to enhance their livelihood.
- Education materials on Internal Control System and the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) were produced and distributed to the farmers.
- Four organic farmers’ producers societies were established in the districts of Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Nagapattinam and Dindigul. The capacities of farmers were enhanced through training support and hand holding. Currently, most of the marketing activities are taken care of by these societies.
- A business and operational plan was worked out for marketing.
- Based on studies undertaken and research, a private limited company by the name “Arogyam Organics Private Limited” has been registered. All organic marketing related activities will now be coordinated by this company. Farmers / farmer representatives would also be directors and shareholders in this company. Marketing support for all organic products produced by the CIKS network of farmers and also in future for other organic farmers will be provided by this company.