Kerala has unique tropical agro-climatic conditions, undulating terrains known for their scenic beauty. The state also receives more than 3000 mm of annual precipitation. The soil is highly acidic in nature, and studies have revealed an alarming depletion of organic carbon and low availability of several micronutrients. Home-gardens—the traditional agroforestry system of the state, which was largely based on low external input agro-ecosystems—have survived the test of time for more than 4000 years and supported the conservation of the local biodiversity.
Policy initiatives supported farmers’ communities that were keen to adopt Natural Farming. The movement was led by KVK Kottayam. The initiatives taken to promote Natural Farming were:
- Convergence with PKVY programme for the installation of a vermicompost unit for 32 farmers practising Natural Farming.
- Four trainings conducted for 32 farmers covering different aspects of composting, bio- fencing
- An incentive of Rs 4000 provided for the installation of vermicompost units to Natural Farming-practising farmers.
- Pulse seeds for an area of 10 acre were distributed to farmers in convergence with the Cluster FLD programme of KVK Kottayam in 2019.
- A comparative analysis of different microbial composting solutions was done under OFT.
Best practices promoted amongst farmers
- Vegetables: Cow dung and urine used as a manure mix and applied as fertigation to vegetables like amaranth, bhindi and brinjals
- Jivamrit and Beejamrit used for fertilizing vegetables.
- Leaf extracts of papaya, glyricidia and moringa used for pest management.
- Waste-fishing net pieces used for rapping rhinocerous beetles in coconut.
- Subhiksha Keralam: This is a flagship initiative of the Government of Kerala to enhance the production and productivity of major crops in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic. The Subhiksha Keralam scheme envisages bringing an additional 25,000 hectares under farming in the state by converging the activities under various departments such as animal husbandry, dairy development, horticulture and fisheries. It mainly aims to produce food through organic production protocols.
Source: Kerala Agricultural University