This project for improving livelihoods of farmers through Organic Vegetable Cultivation with a package of organic and sustainable farming technologies was implemented in Dindigul district with the help of Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai under their Small Grants Programme during November 2007 – October 2008.
The main objectives of the project were:
- To bring together small and marginal farmers who are involved in vegetable cultivation and help them to convert to organic cultivation
- To empower farmers with organic farming technologies and project management to make the programme sustainable.
- To help farmers to certify their products for a better price.
WORK DONE UNDER THE PROJECT
- A total of 20 acres of land had been selected from the irrigated areas of Dindigul district and vegetables, flowers, maize, grapes, coconut and fodder grass were cultivated extensively.
- Organic farmers’ self-help groups (SHG) were formed in the beneficiary villages. The members of the SHG were trained on various technical and general topics.
- Necessary inputs for the organic cultivation like biofertilizers, bone meal, neem cake, biocontrol agents, earthworms and farming implements were provided to the beneficiaries.
- Monthly trainings were conducted to empower the farmers on organic farming technologies. Beneficiaries were also trained on SRI method of paddy cultivation, uses of medicinal plants, organic certification procedures. Apart from this several short-term trainings and leadership trainings were also conducted.
- Exposure visits were also arranged for the beneficiaries to organic farms and fields and vermicompost production units.
- Farmers are implementing several organic farming technologies in their fields.
- Cost of cultivation for selected vegetable varieties from seed to harvest was documented.
Support for marketing of organic produce is being provided. Farmers of Dindigul district are marketing their products under the banner of Bhojanam organics.