A group of more than 100 farmers from Puducherry and Karaikal regions were provided an orientation with organic farming practices at the Sharanam campus in Ousteri of the Sri Aurobindo Society recently.
The farmers’ meet was supported by the Agriculture Technology Management Agency, Department of Agriculture, Government of Puducherry and the Rural Development Wing of the Sri Aurobindo Society and brought together various stakeholders in the field of organic farming.
The meet addressed issues such as market space for organic products, grievance redressal agency for organic farmers & traders, fair price mechanism for organic products and common platform between traders and organic farmers.
Eighty farmers from Puducherry and 30 farmers from Karaikal attended the programme. Traders, field experts, successful experienced organic farmers were also invited to the event to share their valuable ideas and innovations relating to organic farming. The Sustainable Livelihood Institute - Auroville, ICON - Organic Product Certification Agency, IIT- Chennai, Space Marketing Agency were among those who were present at the event aimed at bringing together stakeholders in the field of organic farming.
Boosting farm income
Inaugurating the meet, Agriculture Minister R. Kamalakannan, pointed to the Centre’s plan to double the farmers’ income by 2022 and expressed optimism that the thrust on organic farming would pave the way for raising a farmer’s income.
The Minister also noted that the Agriculture Department’s recent Memorandum of Understanding with the Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) was expected to significantly enhance agriculture productivity in Puducherry and Karaikal regions.
The Minister also complimented the sustained efforts of the Agriculture Department in carrying out research and providing training to farmers.
“The seeds of organic farming have started to bloom across Puducherry,” he said.
“After independence, the Puducherry government has very efficiently worked on the consecutive five-year plans and the Agriculture Department has brought many accolades to the Union Territory. We have attained self-sufficiency and have come a long way from poverty and famine, thanks to the agricultural revolution,” the Minister said.
He also pointed out that the country had moved from “Food for Hunger” to “Healthy Food for a Healthy life,” and now exports quality agricultural products to other countries.”
His take-home message to the farmers was that “agriculture without cow is not agriculture” as he urged participants to breed cows.
‘Reach out to more’
Mr. Kamalakannan also urged officials to document such events through video and image formats and make it available to other key stakeholders in order to reach more farmers. Such events will change the perception of traditional farmers regarding organic farming and build their confidence.
Vijay K. Poddar (Member Executive - Sri Aurobindo Society) called for active collaboration among the farmers, the government, corporates and international agencies.
Development Commissioner-Cum-Secretary A. Anbarasu and representatives of the Sustainable Livelihood Institute - Auroville, ICON - Organic Product Certification Agency, IIT-Chennai and Space Marketing Agency were among those who participated.