An experiment in collective farming, involving only women, is gaining momentum in Tamil Nadu with small groups engaged in raising minor millets and vegetables in 16 districts at a micro level. The model, evolved by Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective (TNWC) whose members are mostly widows, single women and Dalits, has improved the nutrition value of these marginalised families besides ensuring economic freedom for their women.Organic farming Groups of about 20 members, among whom about 10 actually work in the farm, take up organic farming in small tracts of land in villages. About 90 groups, working all over Tamil Nadu, also propagate the value of minor millets and organic farming, according to Ponnuthai of Vasudevanallur, State secretary of TNWC.
Going organic seems to be yielding rich dividends for the Erode Uyir Iyyarkai Vivasaigal Sangam (Erode Uyir Natural Farmers’ Society). So much so that its members are raring to go a step further and bring into their fold about 1,000 acres of land in Tamil Nadu for organic sugarcane cultivation. The 64 members of the society have already undertaken organic farming on about 400 acres in the State. Formed two years ago, the agricultural society has secured group organic certification for most of its members and also runs a retail outlet in Erode to sell their organic produce including pulses, vegetables, turmeric, sugarcane jaggery powder and processed food items. Most of the value-added products are made by the farmers
Five-acre farm is nestled inside a patch of Shola forest with natural streams and artificial ponds running through it Babu Rajasekaran wields a machete as he meets us around 30 km from Udhagamandalam, down the slopes adjoining Mukurthi National Park. He is there , to escort us to his organic strawberry farm.We look a bit dubiously at his weapon. “It just makes me braver about facing any wildlife I might encounter on the way,” says Rajasekaran. The five-acre Heartberry Farm is nestled inside a patch of Shola forest, with natural streams and artificial ponds running through it. “There are tigers here, spotted almost every day by the workers on the farm. Sloth bears and leopards are even more common,