Farmers launch organic farming initiative | GON

KOCHI: A group of farmers in Kerala has launched ‘Organic Farming Research Programme’ to help propagate successful organic farming techniques among others. Aluva-based Foundation for Organic Agriculture and Rural Development, an NGO comprising local farmers, had started monthly field visits and discussions in January.

Figures from International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) show that the f organic products business in India will touch Rs 6,000 crore towards the end of 2015.

“Nearly 20 farmers from different parts of the state have come together for the research trips. Unlike the farmer participatory research programmes abroad and in some parts of India, this was started and run by farmers. And they seek help from scientists whenever necessary,” said Mathew Sebastian, member of the director board of the foundation.

Well-known scientists from different fields have come in to support the farmers with technical and scientific knowledge. Y R Sharma, former director, Indian Institute of Spices Research, R Vikraman Nair, a renowned cocoa scientist, and J Thomas, former rubber production commissioner were involved in the project.

In April, the group will visit a farmer in Muhamma who had used beach sand for successful organic vegetable production. “Agricultural practices like this could in fact revolutionize the farming sector in Kerala,” said Sebastian.

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