Nedumkandam and Vathikudy grama panchayats in Idukki district have set an example by engaging maximum number of Farm Society Joint Liability Groups (FSJLG) in the agriculture sector. FSJLG is formed from Kudumbasree neighbourhood groups with women interested in farming. Their produce will form an important chunk in the Onam vegetable market — both through direct and indirect selling. Large quantities of banana, tapioca and vegetables of all kinds will come to the market, in addition to the value-added products formed by the FSJLGs of these two panchayats.

The 221 FSJLGs in Nedumkandam are together opening a three-day Gramasree Onam market at the community hall at Nedumkandam town. Over 5,000 banana clusters of nenthran variety, tapioca and vegetables will be sold directly to the consumers at a fair price.

Nedumkandam Community Development Society (CDS) chairperson Shylaja Balachandran told The Hindu on Sunday that the market is being opened in addition to the supply of FSJLGs farm produce through the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK) and private firms.

She said that the price fixed for the nenthran variety, which is in good demand during the season, will be much below the market rate as there are no middlemen. “Even then we will have a good margin which will help create more FSJLGs in the panchayat.”

She said that the grama panchayat and Krishi Bhavan made immense contributions to the FSJLG success story.

Usha Madusoodanan, member of Karshaka Deepam FSJLG, which is cultivating crops, especially bananas, in seven acres of leased land, said that this was the second harvesting season and she could sustain a family through farming alone.

In Vathikudy grama panchayat, there are 265 FSJLGs. Vegetables like bitter gourd, beans items, cauliflower, carrot, potato and tomato are cultivated in a big way here. Bindu Radhakrishnan, the CDS chairperson, said that they would open an Onam market at Murickassery on September 6, 7 and 8.

According to her, farming is carried out in an average of one or two acres per group, with some cultivating even in four acres of land. They either take land on lease from outsiders or from a group member.

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