FARMER’S NOTEBOOKAbout 35 out of 100 panchayats in the district are adopting this model

Amidst reports of abandoning paddy cultivation due to high labour cost and labour scarcity in Kerala, records maintained by a leading paddy farmers’ group named Avunjikad Padashekhara Samithy in Malappuram District point to a saving of Rs. 63,375 on cost of transplanting in an area of 15 acres for paddy.

The records reveal that the total expenditure of fully mechanised paddy cultivation for an area of 3 acres is Rs. 38,430 instead of Rs. 74,890 in conventional method — a saving Rs.12,150 per acre.

A study shows that the cost of transplanting using a transplanter is Rs.36,000 and that of manual transplanting is Rs. 99,375.

Individual help

“This was made possible through the intervention of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Malappuram by developing a fully equipped women’s group named ‘Krishi Sahayi’ aimed at helping individual farmers and farmers’ groups in undertaking mechanised paddy cultivation in a cost effective way,” says Dr. Ayyappan, Director General, ICAR, New Delhi.

On gaining experience in the field under the supervision of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) scientists, women trainees decided to organise themselves into a self help group (SHG).

Thus, with the support and supervision of KVK, 11 women formed the group named ‘Krishi Sahayi’. KVK Malappuram convinced the paddy growing farmers of the advantages of mechanisation over conventional methods utilising Krishi Sahayi and as a result many farmers who turned away from paddy cultivation came forward to cultivate the crop in their fallow lands.

The group received several calls from farmers to undertake similar mechanised paddy cultivation in their regions.

But there was one problem. The group faced the constraint of repairing and servicing of machinery costing a huge amount from their earnings.

Vocational training

“In order to solve this problem the KVK conducted a vocational training on repair, maintenance and servicing of the paddy transplanting machine for this group with which we could increase their confidence level and income,” explains Dr. Habeeburrahman, Programme Co-ordinator.

Over a period of three years, this group has done mechanized transplanting, harvesting and threshing in an area of more than 300 hectares.

Considering the demand for such work force from different parts of the district, KVK took up a project on “Formation and strengthening of activity groups for mechanized paddy cultivation in all the 14 Blocks” in collaboration with district Panchayat, Department of Agriculture and Kudumbhasree mission under the ‘Haritha Malappuram’ programme byempowering the activity groups with machinery worth Rs. 3 lakh.

With Krishi Shahayi as master trainers, KVK Malappuram became instrumental in the formation of 17 similar groups. The multiple effect of these groups resulted in bringing back 1,200 hectares under paddy cultivation in one year.

Motivational force

This successful model has motivated the KVK to adopt it in 35 out of 100 panchayats in the district.

“The members of Krishi Sahayi belonged to economically backward class earning Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 12,000 annually from poultry, tailoring etc. At present they are having work on all days in the season and each of them earns about Rs. 350-700 a day,” says Er. Sajeena, Senior Assistant Professor, Mallapuram, KVK.

Proves two things

This model proves two things, according to Dr. Prabhukumar, Zonal Project Co-ordinator, ICAR.

One, is that mechanisation can be used to overcome labour shortage as and when required and two, the advantages of a group approach.

It is important for farmers to know the basic mechanism of the machine with which they work.

It will help them save time by taking care of it personally and reduce their dependence on others.

Two, instead of a single farmer trying to do something useful, if a group comes together then they can easily upscale their work.

For more details contact Ms. Er. Sajeena, S. Assistant Professor and Dr. Habeeburrahman, P.V. Programme Coordinator, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Malappuram, Kerala, 679573 Phone 0494- 2686329, 09895703726.