THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has been introducing more action plans which include converting the wastelands for farming, promoting kitchen gardens to ensure sufficient quantity of food amid the pandemic situation. Meanwhile, city-based NGO Thanal, which is funded and supported by Agro-Ecology Fund, has implemented a project named ‘Seeding the Change’ to help the indigenous people who lost jobs and livelihood during the pandemic. The project also aims at helping farmers to attain food self-sufficiency while promoting sustainable agriculture.
The project was implemented in June last year in three districts — Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Pathanamthitta — with the aim of providing immediate Covid-19 emergency response to 804 families across the state. “The families have been engaged in farming in a total of 130.5 acres of land. The aim is to provide these indigenous people from marginalised communities to grow their own nutritious food and vegetables,” said Jayakumar C, trustee and member of Thanal.
In Thiruvananthapuram, two panchayats — Karakulam and Venganoor — were selected for the implementation of the project where about 200 beneficiaries were selected. “The lack of adequate knowledge in terrace farming, homestead farming, kitchen gardening and lack of good quality seeds were the major concerns of the people in the district.
Though, the project started with 170 beneficiaries in Karakulam panchayat initially, 68 beneficiaries from the Venganoor panchayat were added later,” he said. The project was also implemented in five hamlets in Naranammoozhy village — Adichipuzha, Kurumbanmozhi, Karikulam, Cholanavayal and Manakkayam — in Pathanamthitta district who were completely dependent on agriculture. Currently, there are 484 families in Naranammoozhy who are currently cultivating in their 5-10 cents of land each.
As many as 82 families spread across five hamlets in Attappadi, Palakkad, were selected who were not included in the ‘Namuth Vellame’ project by the Scheduled Tribes Development Department and the ‘Millet Village’ programme implemented by the Kerala Agriculture Department. The agroecology team consisting of the staff and volunteers have been assisting the farmers who needed support.
These 82 families from Attappadi revived their agricultural land, indigenous farming practices and lost traditional varieties after 20-25 years. “One of the important outcomes of the project is that more woman farmers have come to the forefront of agriculture.” Thanal along with the support of the agro-ecology network is planning to continue expanding the project across the state.
achieving the aim
As part of the project, 804 farmers from three districts in the state were able to achieve food sufficiency amid the pandemic situation