With the need for eco-friendly and chemical-free agriculture becoming increasingly evident, a tribal society in Wayanad in Kerala has decided to launch a project to carry out organic farming over 100 acres, possibly making this the largest tribal foray into organic farming ever, according to The Times of India.
In 1984, an innovative rehabilitation program was launched by Kerala government among Wayanad tribes for promoting tea and tourism, and it was mainly through the forming of the Mananthavady Tribal Plantation Cooperative Society (MTPC) to rehabilitate the tribes.
The society had developed as many as seven tea plantations over 995 acres, where hundreds of tribal people found refuge. After this successful initiative of rehabilitation, now the society plans for a wide range of organic cultivation in its plantations.
TOI reports that the organic project could mark the biggest tribal foray into organic cultivation in the state with around 100 acres at Makkimala to be brought under organic farming in the first phase, in addition to plantations in Kanjirangad and Lakkidi, which is also owned by the society.
A committee formed by Wayanad Sub-Collector as Managing Director and few elected directors were heading the society and its estates, mainly known as Priyadarshini Tea Estate, all these years successfully.
"Our foray into organic cultivation is part of diversification efforts to generate additional revenue and employment for the tribal workers as the tea industry is going through a rough patch. There is immense scope for marketing organic tea and other organic-certified produce from our plantations in the international market as MTPCS is one-of-its-kind project, where 100% of its beneficiaries are tribals. Already international agencies have visited us and they have expressed their willingness to help market out produce abroad after taking proper registrations," Mananthavady sub-collector V R Premkumar told ToI.
In the first phase of the organic farming project tribal farmers who work in the society would grow coffee, pepper, fruits and vegetables. Nabard has sanctioned a fund of Rs 1.25 crore for this first phase. Polyhouse vegetable cultivation will also be promoted under this project.