Home Food Homemakers-turned-farmers from Kerala reaping benefits of organic farming- The New Indian Express

Homemakers-turned-farmers from Kerala reaping benefits of organic farming- The New Indian Express

by Atlanta Business Journal

Express News Service

PATHANAMTHITTA: The four of them were like how homemakers usually are — with the kitchen as their world. But the deluge of August 2018 damaged all the crops in the area. And that changed their lives too. Thanks to the agriculture department, they are now a bunch of organic farmers quite popular in their village. Meet friends Jayasree Harikumar, 42, Vidya Jayaprakash, 42, Geetha Jayakumar, 50 and Savitha Jayakumar, 38, all residents of Thalayar on the banks of river Varattar in Kuttoor, Tiruvalla.  “We never thought we would become farmers,” says Vidya.

“There was a time when we could prepare curries in our kitchens only if we were provided with the vegetables, like many homemakers. But the 2018 flood recharted the course of our lives as all the crops in the village were left damaged.” After the disaster, officials from the agriculture department started a campaign to bring villagers back to farming.

“Their words gave us new insights and opened a window of opportunity to redefine our lives. Thus we decided to put on the farmers’ shoes,” she says.And now, they are cultivating organic vegetables on nearly an acre of land. “Life is good as we are busy farming, protecting and marketing our crops. We are also learning new trends in farming,” Vidya points out.

The main crops the women cultivate are bitter gourd, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, chilli,  cucumber, elephant yam, lady’s finger, plantain, pumpkin, snake gourd, ridge gourd, tomato, peas and spinach. “Though all of us are graduates, we couldn’t find a job. Our kitchen was our world. Now we are able to contribute a small income to our families every month. Each of us earns Rs 5,000 per month though we spend only three hours daily on our farmland,” Vidya says.

The farmer friends say the grama panchayat and the Krishi Bhavan are providing all support to continue with farming. The Krishi Bhavan supplies them with free seeds and saplings. Manure too is provided at a subsidised rate by the department.

“Agriculture officer Thara Mohan and assistant agriculture officer Biju P are always available for help to make the farming a success,” says Jayasree. They now farm the land owned by their families. But with their produce in high demand, the friends are planning to lease more land to expand their vegetable production.

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