THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A small grama panchayat in the south of Thiruvananthapuram is getting ready for an experiment which could set an example for others in self-sufficiency in food production and organic farming methods.
During this Thursday and Friday, the Kalliyoor grama panchayat in Kovalam Assembly constituency will launch the ‘Bhakshya Arogya Swaraj Yajna,’ a three-year campaign which has as its primary aim participatory food production to achieve self-sufficiency in the panchayat. The Biodiversity Maintenance Committee (BMC) of the panchayat is launching the initiative with the help of government agencies such as the Biodiversity Board, State Horticulture Mission, Agriculture College, Vellayani, the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute and local organisations such as Santhigram, Chappath.
Kalliyoor grama panchayat president Adv S Udayakumar said in a statement that the project would have a three-pronged action plan - ensure the participation of all people in the production of food, to make it a priority that we produce the food that we require and promote healthy lifestyles and eating habits. By combining organic farming methods with traditional knowledge and modern technologies, the panchayat plans to equip 100 families in each of its 21 wards - which means more than 2,000 families - to be 50 to 75 per cent self-sufficient in food within the next three years.
It is also relevant that the campaign coincides with the enforcement of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state from October onwards.
The panchayat-level inauguration of the campaign will be held on Thursday and Friday at SN Auditorium, Peringamala. Seminars, distribution of seeds, a book fest, exhibition and sale of herbs, leafy greens and organic products are planned as part of the event. Promotion of local cow varieties and cultivation of jackfruit are two interesting sub-campaigns that will be taken up alongside the ‘Bhakshya Arogya Swaraj Yajna.’
On Friday, there will be classes on the preparation of value-added products from jackfruit and organic farming methods. On Saturday, the panchayat will celebrate the ‘Njattuvela Nadeel’ festival and form ward-level sub-committees for the implementation of the campaign.
The panchayat has also chalked out a schedule of training programmes up to March 2015 for the systematic conduct of the campaign.