Organic Farming Gets Good Patronage in Pondy Villages
By Debjani Dutta
Published: 29th May 2014 10:18 AM
The stall put up by the Veedapuri Organic Farmers Production Company at Uzavar’s Santhai, in Puducherry on Wednesday | G PATTABIRAMAN
PUDUCHERRY: Organic farming is gradually taking root in Puducherry with locally grown products from the villages of PS Palayam, Abisekhagam, Mangalam, Vinayagampet, Kariamanickam, Bahour, Irularsandhai and Thiruvandarkoil coming into the market. Organic farmers jointly opened a stall on Wednesday in Uzhavar Sandhai, near the old bus stand, the space provided by the Department of Agriculture to market their produce. However, certification still eludes the farmers as there is no institution that certifies the produce unlike in Tamil Nadu.
After the NABARD took the initiative to facilitate the process of forming an Organic Farmers Producer Organisation, organic farmers from about 15 villages have come together and formed the Veedapuri Organic Farmers Production Company to grow and market their produce. At present nearly 50 farmers with 250 to 300 acres are part of the organisation, said Ravichandran, the president of the production company.
Around 200 farmers have received training in organic farming from NABARD, and have subsequently started raising crops, said S Sreepathy Kalkura, assistant general manager of NABARD who just got posted to Puducherry. However, due to the lack of certification, the farmers are neither able to sell their crops directly in the market, nor getting the market value for their produce. The only option is the participatory guarantee system (PGS), a third party certification by a listed NGO under which the farmers form a group and document their farming.
This has been initiated by NABARD after conducting training programmes in organic farming through the PGS, said Kalkula. Around 11 farmers have joined and made two groups. NABARD is facilitating it through NGO Ecoventure Trust, he said.
The Department of Agriculture has a tie-up with the Tamil Nadu government to certify organic farming through the Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department (TNOCD), said A Ramamurthy, Director of Agriculture. Organic farmers accuse the TN government of not responding to the Puducherry government’s letter, said Ravichandran.
Organic farmers produce rice, ragi, sugarcane, pulses, vegetables and fruit. Some farmers, who have land in bordering TN areas and have got certification from the TNOCD are processing products like amla in honey, amla in jaggery, amla juice, ragi powder, millet, liquid jaggery, groundnut oil, pickles, candies and soups, which are marketed in outlets.