Organic Farmers and Farms in Tamil Nadu

Organic Farmers and Farms in Tamil Nadu


Headquarters: Nammalvar Ecological Foundation, 60/3, L B Road, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai 600 041.

Field office: Nammalvar Ecological Foundation, Suruman Patti Village, Kadavur Post,Tharagampatti via, Karur Dt.

E-mail: and Phone: +91-94425-31699 and +91-94426-24589.

VANAGAM (Heaven on Earth) is a new NGO· registered in the name· of the Nammalvar Ecological Foundation for Farm Research and Global Food Security .

The new organization· will primarily focus on developing ecologically friendly and sustainable agriculture· methods . It expects to carry· on the Nammalwar tradition· of training the farmers all over the country· in ecologically and sustainable agriculture· methods of farming

The organisation· will also focus on traditional medical systems and to create· an affordable health centre based on alternative· therapies .

As a centre , VANAGAM will do· research· to bring· back our traditional culture· and seeds and exchange· these with other farmers in India . ‘We are in search· of permanent solution· for not using fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture’ , says Nammalwar .

The centre will work· with indigenous· breeds of cattle· , integrated pest· management· solutions and examine· how human activities can be· made to decrease· their contributions to green· house· gases .


Aranarai, Perambalur, Thiruvalluar District, Tamil Nadu.

Sivaprakasam cultivates on six acres· of irrigated and six acres· of rain-fed land· with assistance· from his family and hired help· .

Sivaprakasam gives the following reasons for his shift· to sustainable agriculture:

He was a progressive farmer· in the late· 1970 s , but later incurred losses year after year such that at one time· he incurred an expenditure of Rs .7000 on cotton and got a profit· margin· of Rs .100 only .

Deeper awareness· of the dangers of using too much chemical· fertiliser was driven home· by the realisation· that yields remained more or less the same even though smaller amounts of fertilisers were used (due to price· hikes) .

He had been looking for alternatives . Having consistently reduced chemical· inputs he now has no losses and has finally begun to reap· a profit· .

Sivaprakasam has been growing onion without fertiliser and pesticides and getting a yield· of 260 kilos per 10 cents . He uses organic· pest· repellent· for his brinjal crop .

Sivaprakasam cultivates cumbu , chilies , groundnut , cholam , coriander , red· gram , sunflower , onion , sugarcane and rice . In one plot· he grows a combination· of crops and trees , namely tomatoes , chilies (three month crops) , lemon (four years· , 20 foot· spacing) and moringa ( 10 foot· spacing) with teak and casuarina plants around .

The organic· manure needs of the farm are met with animal· waste· from his cattle· .

Vermicompost is prepared on the farm and leaf· manure comes from Morinda tinctoria which grows naturally on the contour· bunds .

Sivaprakasam’s future· plans include· practising a combination· of permaculture and organic· methods on a half acre experimental plot· to explore· the possibility· of meeting needs of an average· family from its produce· .

This farmer· is the secretary· of CAD (Community Action for Development) and believes that sustainable agriculture· is the only way· to stop· the continuous distress· sale of land· by small· and marginal farmers .

(Source: M. Karthikeyan)


Putharam Farm, Nemam, Thirukkathipalli (via), Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu.

Balakrishnan is an energetic· and inquisitive retired engineer looking after part· of the family land· . His is basically a tree· farm . He has planted a variety· of trees and has plans to introduce· many more .

When he took up the land· for cultivation· , it was a sandy upland , created long· ago by the overflowing of the river·Cauvery . He levelled the land· and started growing trees – primarily timber· and fodder rather than fruit· trees . The trees include· teak , eucalyptus , guava , maramalli , gooseberry , etc . He has grown a live fence with trees like subabul and eucalyptus .

This farmer· is very particular· about using organic· matter· . He collects whatever organic· matter· is available in the village and makes it into compost . He is also very interested in microbial action· on organic· matter· during decomposition and has tried two· different treatments with two· different fungi . One is Plerotus species and the other is collected by skimming the surfaces of water· tanks .

He is also experimenting with the ability· of fungi and algae present in tubs and other wet surfaces to decompose organic· matter· in small· vessels . The micro organisms multiply quickly , acting on organic· matter· (animal and plant· wastes) and produce· froth . He has applied this microbial solution· on the farm to learn· more about its effectiveness· .

The farmer· maintains two· adjacent· vermicompost tubs and harvests vermicompost alternatively from each of them . He has provided holes for movement· of earthworms between the two· . When he increases the moisture content· in one , the earthworms move· to the other for air· and comfort· . Then compost is harvested from the first· pit· , thus saving the need to sieve· the compost for reclaiming earthworms .

(Source: M. Karthikeyan)


Royakottai, Dharmapuri District – 635 116, Tamil Nadu.

ARCOD is working in rural areas of Dharmapuri District. Its objectives are:

(i) Establishment of collective leadership· among poor· rural women

(ii) Establishment of development· cadres in the villages

(iii) Protection and promotion· of natural· resources .

Promoting the practice· of Organic Farming in the villages is closely integrated into all aspects of their work· .

(Source: M. Karthikeyan)


Nagarkoodal Village, Post via Indur, Dharmapuri 636 803, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04342-311641, Email:

Contact: Meenakshi Umesh

Umesh is a mechanical engineer by profession· and works part· time· in the NGO· , ‘Agriculture Man and Ecology’ (AME) . Meenakshi is an architect , who specialises in low· cost· housing . Growing up in Mumbai , Umesh and Meenakshi felt that working in rural areas alone would be· sensible and meaningful . Meenakshi was exposed to agriculture· in Auroville , while Umesh was motivated after a stint with AME .

In 1992 , they invested in 12 acres· of land· in interior Dharmapuri . The land· , located on the slope· of a hill· , was totally degraded· and barren· , except for a few shrubs . Since then , over the past· ten years· , they have· planted a number· of trees of different varieties and introduced major soil· and water· conservation· measures . Despite the erratic· rainfall· , the restoration· efforts have· resulted in regeneration of the land· and several trees are now re-growing from the existing root· stock· .

As self· sufficiency was still beyond their reach· despite leading simple lives , they decided to buy· some more land·, this time· with a good· source· of water· . In 1996 they invested in an acre and half of land· , which had some irrigation . However because of the previous extensive use· of chemicals on that land· it took three· years· for the land· to gradually become· productive· .

By 1999 , the community· around were gradually moving from curiosity to conviction that they too could do· away with chemical· inputs on their land· . They had observed that Meenakshi and Umesh had successfully grown , using organic· methods only , reasonable quantities of paddy , ragi , wheat , green-gram , tuvar dal , black-gram , turmeric , coriander , bananas etc . They used organic· methods (neem , chillies , cow urine and anything else they found handy) to deal· with the pests .

It was around this time· that the city· couple· , now with considerable experience· behind them , decided to transfer· their knowledge· and philosophy· directly to the children of the community· (the next· generation· of farmers) . It was also a way· of passing on information through the children to the adults who , because they are not literate , cannot read· how dangerous chemicals can be· , nor do· they take· necessary precautions while handling them . Adequate education· and examples of alternative· agriculture· are therefore of critical· importance·.

So , a learning centre which focused on farming was started in 2000 . Most of the children who attend· the learning centre are from dalit and marginal farmer· families . Here they are taught that farming is an honourable profession· and that it is possible· to make· a living from it .

Some additional information regarding the farm:

Crops grown include· cholam , cumbu , varagu , red· gram , cow pea , green· gram , groundnut , etc . The following cropping pattern· is adopted:

(i) Samai (July) – Sanhemp and Daincha (October) – Wheat (December)

(ii) Samai – Cholam – Redgram (Samai harvested after 75 days replaced with ‘kollu’ which helps in controlling weeds.)

Cow pea is grown as intercrop and groundnut is grown as single crop . Fodder and green· manure crops include·sesbania , subabul and glyricidia , timber· such as teak and fruit· trees like papaya , citrus and guava are also grown . Vegetables needed for the family are also cultivated .

Seedlings are produced in the farm nursery· . Straw for the cattle· is bought from outside .

Compost is produced on the farm itself. Solar pumpset helps irrigation.

Pest control· measures include: (i) Ash and buttermilk (ii) Neem extract· application· , (iii) Cow’s urine , (iv) Chilli leaves affected with virus , ground· to powder and mixed with cow urine and applied for viral disease· on black·gram .

Umesh and Meenakshi live· in a house· designed by Meenakshi . They use· solar panels for lighting and a smokeless choola for cooking .

Puvidham today is an excellent learning centre for children where much of the learning is farm based . The school·has grown in size· and number· . A resident· facility· for over a hundred children from the villages is presently under construction· . Puvidham is presently working on developing a farm based curriculum for children

(Source: As communicated to OIP)


Sakthi Farm, Veerapathy, Puliyur Post, Kulathur Taluka, Pudukottai District – 622 504, Tamil Nadu.

Ganapathy lives on a small· farm with his mother , wife and three· children . He is an innovative , knowledgeable·farmer· who views each day’s activity· in terms of energy· spent .

Hence he does everything with a view· to minimising use· of energy· while at the same time· satisfying· needs . He has named his farm ‘Sakthi’ .

Ganapathy practices eco-friendly farming on 2.5 acres· of land· . He also owns another eight acres· in two· different places where rainfed cultivation· is practiced . The soil· is sandy clay· with slight· alkalinity . Average rainfall· is around 650 mm with light· showers in July and heavy· rains in November and December . No machinery is used on the farm except for a three· horsepower pumpset for pumping water· , a plough and other simple implements . Work like harvesting and weeding is done manually by the farmer· , his wife and mother without hiring outside labour· .

Ganapathy decided to practice· sustainable agriculture· because:

(a) he did not want· to spend· money· on ‘poison , ’ i . e . , farm chemicals , as he believes food· for a healthy· mind·and body· should be· poison-free;

(b) he views every activity· on the farm from the point· of view· of energy· spent and so employs all possible· means to minimise the workload (this automatically leads to low· external· input· agriculture); and

(c) he envisioned , from the beginning , living in an environment· full· of trees .

This farmer· has cattle· . He also has turkeys , guinea fowl , goats , fish· , ducks , hens , doves , rabbits and geese , because he is interested in adding to and integrating as many living creatures as possible· on his farm . He grows several varieties of trees like coconut , bamboo , subabul , mango , neem , eucalyptus , etc . since he wishes to live·surrounded by trees .

The crops include· rice and cotton inter-cultivated with greens· , okra , sunflower , daincha , gingelly , radish and cluster beans . In a small· area· , he has jasmine and sugarcane .

On four acres· , he grows rain-fed groundnut and pulses along with pulichai in one season· , followed by varagu in the next· season· . This helps him get· continuous returns from the 60thday onwards· . On another four acres· he plans to have· mixed forestry .

Farming practices: The following indigenous· methods are practised:

a) ash obtained from the brick-making process· is spread· on the plants in the mornings so that it sticks to the dew-laden leaves;

b) a mixture· of five kilos rice bran with one litre of kerosene is applied in the mornings so that dew helps glue the powder to the leaves;

c) neem cake· applied during ploughing has an insecticidal effect;

d) natural· control· by birds attracted to the farm by the numerous trees , especially the fruit· trees;

e) in the plot· where fish· are let· into the paddy field· (Plot 1 ) the fish· feed on the insects;

f) the mixed crops like sunflower , marigold , okra and tomato prevent· the attack· of insects on cotton;

g) ducks are let· into the paddy field· to eat· weeds from 20 days after planting upto two· months and this normally reduces the manual labour· needed for weeding from six people· to one;

h) and ducks which are let· into the fields to control· weeds also feed on insects and their egg· masses· .

Farm economics: In Plot 6 ( .25 acre) , cotton is inter-cropped with nine other crops mentioned earlier , so that all the domestic need for vegetables , greens· and pulses are met and some is left over for sale . He also grows many medicinal plants like yellow· karisalanganni , white· karisalanganni , thuthuvalai , mumusukhai and vallarai .

Innovations: Ganapathy’s zeal· for experimenting has led him to develop· the following innovations:

a) curing ‘fox disease’ of fish· (considered incurable) by using turmeric and neem paste;

b) a two· pulley system· for lifting stones from the well with a mechanical advantage· of 1 : 3 ;

c) preventing invasion· of his farm by the red· hairy· caterpillar by adding kerosene to the water· in the channel·surrounding the field;

d) also using kattukottai and erukku to attract· red· hairy· caterpillars and thereby controlling them;

e) using hot iron rods to burn· the side· shoots of bamboo so that side· growth· is arrested; and ,

f) maintaining his coconut nursery· with minimum effort· by using pits along irrigation channels so that separate watering of the seedlings is not needed .

Ganapathy feels that anybody who wants to follow· this sort· of integrated farming , which involves managing many factors at the same time· , should have· patience· , intellectual· maturity· and total· involvement· . He believes that it is a prerequisite that the home· is located on the farm and the whole· family is involved in the endeavour· .

(Source: M. Kartikeyan)


4, Chidampara Vinayagar Kovil Street, Puliangudi, Nellaikattabomman District – 627 855, Tamil Nadu.

Velu Mudaliar has 45 years· experience· in agriculture· of which , for the past· 15 years· he has been practising sustainable agriculture· . He is a highly committed farmer· with a remarkable· inclination· to experiment . He and his youngest son look· after the farm .

Velu Mudaliar owns about 17 acres· of land· in the foothills and some in the plains . The land· in the plains is leased out while he personally nurtures the trees he grows on the land· in the foothills . The soil· on his farm ranges from clay· to gravel· . The uplands have· a rocky substratum with meagre surface· soil· . He has a bore· well 275 feet deep· which is run· on a five horsepower motor and an open· well which has a depth· of 85 feet .

He also uses water· from a neighbour’s well , which is pumped for one hour· every five days on a share· basis· . From another well constructed by 15 neighbours at a cost· of Rs .1 lakh each and six kilometres away , water· is brought by PVC pipes . Each farmer· can use· the pumped water· for two· and a half hours· , every 15 days . Velu employs 20 permanent labourers with varied skills . Two two-wheelers transport· the produce and inputs .

Velu got into organic· farming because of degradation· of the soil· over the years· as a result· of conventional·farming using chemical· fertilisers , increasing economic losses over the longterm , and depletion· of water· sources .

Crops: This farmer· grows fruit· trees like guava , lemon , coconut , mango , gooseberry and other trees like teak , sesbania , subabul and Nagai .

Guava: He maintains 600 guava trees . The fruit· is harvested twice a year . Planting is done in the usual way· , but a circular bund-like structure· is built around each tree· . Irrigation , fertilization , weeding and other cultivation·practices are carried out only within the circular structure· . It is irrigated once a week· normally and twice a week·during fruiting .

Compost is used once a year at the rate· of 80 to 100 kilos per tree· . Small amounts of sulphur are added occasionally . At the appropriate· time· , pruning is done to induce· flowering , to allow· greater use· of sunlight by the trees and to avoid· disease· and insect· attacks that dense· foliage· attracts . Practically no weeding is done in the guava orchard . . The farmer· also believes that disturbance· of the soil· by weeding results in more weed growth· .

Lemons: Velu has 375 lemon trees . As intercrop , curry· leaf· is planted . These trees are five years· old . As with the guava trees , a round· bund is built around the lemon trees and cultivation· is carried out only within this space· .

Manuring with compost is done at the rate· of 55 to 70 kilos per tree· . The soil· around the trees is loosened once in 45 days . The rest· of the area· is dug up once a year . Irrigation is once every 15 days . Composting and weeding are done immediately after the rains , in the months of September to November . There is fruit· all the year round·and harvesting is four times a week· .

Velu has another 200 lemon trees in the uplands mixed with teak trees . They are planted as shown in the figure·below . Since the soil· is rocky and has a lot· of gravel· , neem cake· , 20 baskets of silt and 10 baskets of compost were used in the pits while planting the seedlings .

Over the next· three· years· , no fertiliser was added . BHC was applied once to guard the trees from ants . Green leaf· manuring was done during the rainy season· .

Mangoes: There are also 250 mango trees which are maintained with meagre irrigation and 30 to 35 kilos compost per tree· per year . Irrigation is once a month . While planting the mango seedlings , six foot· deep· pits were dug and a mixture· of compost , silt and neem cake· was put· in them . The rocky substratum has little· to offer· by way·of nutrients to the plants , so they have· depended entirely on the contents of the pits .

Farming practices: In order· to control· ants , termites , etc . , a mixture· of zinc sulphate and lime is put· at the foot·of the tree· trunk· . (Zinc sulphate and lime are dissolved in water· until a right· mix is reached . The test· is , if turmeric powder is applied , it will turn· red) . Turmeric , varikkampatti fruit· (local name) and sulphur are mixed and used to control· pests . Spraying with neem oil is done if needed . Also neem kernel· extract· is applied and neem cake· is used (in the soil) when needed . Velu has found an effective· method· to control· insects by spraying the trees with an extract· prepared by soaking a mixture· of turmeric powder , kadhi soap and garlic for some time·.

The plot· grown with mango , lemon and subabul was considered unfit for cultivation· . But the farmer’s determination· and perseverance· paid off; he has grown the trees with little· water· and no external· inputs . He says the teak grown here is of very good· quality· .

He has coconut groves on another 11 acres· . According to Velu , profit· from coconuts is low· and the amount· of water· consumed is high· . In the space· between coconut trees he has grown guava , gooseberry , mango , sapota , subabul . Irrigation is done through channels . No compost is used for the coconut trees any more . Fronds and other plant· material· are placed at the foot· of the trees which form· manure , mulch and absorb· rainwater . Nowadays harvesting is not done manually . Only the nuts that fall· by themselves are collected and sold .

Rainwater is prevented from running off by the mulch formed by leaves on the surface· and the two· foot· high·strong· bunds around the field· . A ‘live fence’ of subabul , neem and other trees also helps in soil· conservation· .

The irrigation system· followed in the guava , lemon and mango orchards is unique· to this area· . The main· PVC pipes from the pumpset which pass· through the orchards have· side· outlets . When water· is needed , the outlet·near the tree· in question· is opened and a pipe· section· of the needed length· is fixed . This helps irrigate· only that tree· but the same side· pipes are used for irrigating the orchard area· . The soaking up of water· by channels is avoided by this method· .

In Conclusion: Organic farming costs more in terms of labour· than conventional· farming , because of pruning , manuring , etc . But , according to Velu , the shelf· life· of organically grown fruit· is longer than chemically grown fruit· and so one can charge· a higher price· for the produce . The fruits from this farm last· for 10 days on the shelf·.

The sesbania on the bunds are allowed to grow· into thick· poles . Their leafy portion· is used as leaf· manure . Three year old sesbania poles are sold .

Velu is a pruning specialist· . He has succeeded in making his guava trees bear· fruit· during seasons when the market price· is high· . He is attempting to get· his trees to bear· fruit· throughout the year through special pruning methods . Disease and pest· attacks are the main· hindrances to this effort· . The farmer· does grafting himself and thereby produces the needed seedlings .

(Source: M. Kartikeyan)


Karpaga Solai, Sendhangudi, Nagaram Post, Alangudi Taluka, Pudukottai District – 614 624, Tamil Nadu.

Talkative by nature· , Thangasamy’s life· revolves around tree· cultivation· . Whatever the topic· he chooses to speak· on , he finishes in praise· of trees . He emphasises that trees have· given him constant· income· , fodder , leaf· manure , good· micro-climate and what is more significant· , they have· made him a virtuous man· .

Thangasamy owns 25 acres· altogether: 12 around his home· and the rest· in another place· . He has been practising alternative· farming for the past· 15 years· .

The soil· of the 12 acres· plot· is slightly saline with a pH of 7.5 to 8.5 . The other plot· which had a pH from around 5.0 now has a pH level· of 7.5 . Average annual rainfall· in the area· is 600 mm to 750 mm .

This farmer· owns cattle· and sheep· . He also keeps turkeys , geese , ducks and chickens . He feels that it is difficult to practice· organic· farming without cattle· .

Why does Thangasamy practice· sustainable agriculture· ?

a) He incurred a heavy· loss· following modern farming and so had an economic incentive· for the switch· to alternate ways of farming .

b) He is convinced that agriculture· should be· in harmony· with nature· as otherwise it has negative effects on farm resources , like a continuous fall· in the water· level· of wells .

c) He also believes that soil· has life· and should not be· treated with ‘poison’ (agrochemicals) .

Fodder for the cattle· and sheep· is grown on the farm itself . He is cultivating nearly 125 species of trees on the 12 acres· near his home· . As these trees have· different physical features like different canopy levels and root· lengths , they assist· each other and enrich· the soil· in a wholesome way· .

He grows crops like paddy , groundnut , black· gram and daincha , in rotation· on the 13 acres· .

Gingelly , chillies , banana , guava , coconut and other fruit· trees are also grown . He grows crosandra , sappayru and calophogonia as cover· crops , so there is no need for weeding . He also grows about 100 species of medicinal herbs .

Five acres· have· crops in rotation· which includes paddy , black· gram and daincha . Coconut is cultivated along with banana , guava , pomegranate and gourds so that income· is generated three· months onwards· from gourds , one to four years· later from guava , banana and pomegranate and five years· onwards· from coconut . These plots are not ploughed .

Thangasamy harnesses the potential of natural· agents for pest· control· . Small tubs are placed in many places in his tree· garden so that the birds which come· to drink· water· feed on the pests and leave· their droppings· . Additionally , he has prepared a solution· with plant· products like neem cake· , erukku (Calotrophis) and kanchara , and keeps it in different places on the farm .

Insects attracted by the smell· fall· into the pots and die· . He has not faced any major pest· problem· during the last· five years· of organic· farming of paddy . He attributes this largely to crop rotation· followed on the farm . He believes that daincha and sappayru prevent· pest· attacks . The crop rotation· pattern· followed reduces weed growth· considerably . Further , the cover· crops suppress· the weeds . He feels that weeds come· up only if the fields are ploughed .

If left unploughed , the growth· of weeds is very low· and workload is reduced .

He has two· wells , one on the tree· farm and the second· , a bore· well , on the other farm . The bore· well is 300 feet deep· and the water· level· is falling by 10 feet each year . He is therefore forced to use· water· sparingly . For paddy , he uses an alternate wetting and drying method· . In the case· of tree· crops , the compost helps to retain the rain· and irrigated water· . He plants trees in long· pits of three· feet depth· and three· feet breadth . Crop waste· and other plant· materials are filled in these pits . When the rains come· , not a drop· runs off from the pits , thanks to the composting material· . It also prevents water· evaporation from the soil· by minimising direct·exposure· to the sun . Further , this method· enriches the soil· as micro-organisms proliferate in these conditions and erosion· of soil· is prevented .

He has reclaimed his once alkaline land· (pH 8.5 to 9 ) by using coir waste· , leaf· waste· and cattle· waste· and now the pH is 7.5 . He extensively uses compost manure and green· manures like daincha , sappayru and sesbania to enrich· soil· . He also uses bio-fertilisers like Azolla , blue· green· algae , Azospirillum and Rhizobium . Recently , he experimented by using red· gram plants as green· manure for cultivating chillies .
Before the changeover· to organic· farming , Thangasamy’s yield· was only 900 kilos per acre .

Now he gets 1500 to 1800 kilos per acre . When both farms are taken into account· , his annual income· is enough to meet· expenses . Fluctuations in income· and occasional· losses from agricultural· crops can only be· offset by income· from tree· crops like teak , rosewood , etc which he considers a great· wealth· that he is accumulating for future· generations .

He holds the following precepts to be· important· for the practice· of organic· farming:

a) Nutrition should be· given to the soil· and not to crops;

b) Cultivation should be· for both , the food· requirements of the farmer· and for the health of the soil;

c) Crop rotation· and mixed cropping are essential;

d) Trees are necessary components of a farm;

e) The family must be· located on the farm; and ,

f) Sustainable agriculture· is practical· to the extent· that one integrates plants , animals , micro-organisms and other organisms . (Source: M . Kartikeyan)


P.O. Box 63, Kodaikanal – 624 101, Tamil Nadu.

Contact: Arthur Steele

The Bhagyadan Estate is located in the Palni Hills about 20 kms from Kodaikanal . The average· annual rainfall· is 80 to 100 cms , mainly from September to December . The soil· of the area· is classified as Alfisols . The land· was formerly part· of the Shola forest . It is situated in a valley· near a river· . Three acres· of land· are planted with coffee bushes and another 1.5 acres·

are with pineapple . One quarter of an acre is used by the Palni Hills Conservation Council (PHCC) and the Wasteland Development Corporation as a tree· nursery· . It is managed by Arthur Steele .

The farm is entirely rain· fed except when Arthur is establishing young· coffee bushes . Then he has water· carried to the plants from the river· bordering his property· . Three women and two· men· are employed on the farm . He hires more people· during coffee picking .

Arthur objects to conventional· farming methods using chemical· pesticides and inorganic fertilisers and insists that nothing would convince· him to switch· over to chemical· methods .

He said that he once used inorganic fertiliser , and saw that it induced lush· growth· which was susceptible to insect· attack· . This confirmed his belief· that it is not advantageous· to use· chemical· pesticides and inorganic fertilisers .

Farming practices: Arthur’s main· crop is coffee . He also expects to get· returns on the citrus and pepper he has planted . Two acres· are planted with variety· ‘ 795 Coffee’ , and one acre with catimore . The shade· trees which are intercropped with the coffee and citrus include· jackfruit trees . Arthur is planning to train his pepper vines up the trunks of the jackfruit trees because he has heard that their bark is superior for this purpose· .

Arthur digs crescent bunds for each of his coffee bushes in order· to improve· moisture and soil· retention . This helps the bushes establish· themselves . He considers his work· with soil· conservation· and mulching as most important· in maintaining soil· fertility· . Crescent bunding not only conserves soil· , but also helps with ‘self-mulching’ , that is , the leaves that fall· are retained near the base· of the bush . Arthur avoids exposing the soil· to erosive forces , by slash-weeding instead of clean-weeding , and thereby returns organic· matter· to the soil· and allows the weeds to serve· as mulch . Arthur also applies cow and goat manure to his coffee bushes .

Neither the coffee bushes nor the citrus trees have· had any problems with insect· pests except for one outbreak of aphids . Kerosene oil and soap were used to counter· the outbreak .

Fungus in particular· the powdery mildew , has been problematic· . So far , Arthur has simply clipped affected leaves and burned them to prevent· the spread· of the fungus . Slash-weeding is used to control· weed growth· . This means that the weeds are cut· at the stem· and the roots are left in the soil· undisturbed .

Arthur’s most expensive input· is the cow and goat manure which he purchases from nearby villages . Transporting the manure is also costly . Arthur estimates that it costs Rs .200 for every Rs .500 worth of manure to transport·manure from the villages to his land· .

(Source: Deborah Rosenstein and Brenna Muldavin)


104/109 Raja Street, Valaiyambattu, Chengam P.O., Tiruvannamalai Dist – 606 701, Tamil Nadu. Cell: 094188291122

K . Venkatachalam , President of SEGO has been working on issues related to organic· farming since 1983 . He cultivates crops like paddy , millets , oil seeds , medicinal plants , rice , oil etc .

The organization· conducts periodic campaigns in villages and also exhibitions in schools , colleges and distributes seeds to the farmers free· of cost· . Nannan Nadu is a monthly bulletin of the organisation· .

Extensive tree· planting , distribution of saplings of indigenous· trees , volunteer· awareness· programmes have·been undertaken by them . His own four hectare , Amritham Organic Farm was converted to fully organic· with assistance· of student· volunteers in 2002 . The rich· biodiversity on the farm attracts many a students and environmental enthusiasts’ .

SEGO has been working on issues related to various· environmental issues since 1986 . In the year 1997 – 98 , SEGO organised a thirty five days long· Seed Yatra (A Roadshow for Conservation of Traditional Seed Varieties) covering a distance· of 1500 km and 15 districts in Tamil Nadu to highlight the importance· of traditional seeds . The yatra was a joint effort· of more than 35 NGOs working in the area· of agriculture· in various· parts of Tamil Nadu . The roadshow helped raise· awareness· among several farmers and NGOs working in agriculture· and the Traditional Agricultural Producers’ Association . The Traditional Seed Exchange

Network was established as a follow up of the yatra.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


No 82, Virattipattu, Madurai – 625 010, Tamil Nadu.

Chokkalingam has 20 years· experience· in farming . He owns 25 acres· located in two· different places . He cultivates paddy , coconuts and bananas .

The soil· is sandy clay· . He has five wells and therefore no water· scarcity· . In the 1995 season· , he cultivated paddy entirely by organic· methods for the first· time· .

He switched over to organic· cultivation· of paddy because over the years· using chemical· based methods , both yields and soil· fertility· were declining . Earlier , this farmer· used to get· 10 young· banana plants around the mother plant· but subsequently he was getting only three· suckers .

The farmer· says all the grains in the panicle of the organically grown crop were full· , while those in the chemically-produced crop were only half full· . He also found that bananas following the paddy crop had relatively better growth· .

(Source: M. Kartikeyan)


No. 17, Highways Colony, Subramanyapuram, Trichy 620 020, Tamil Nadu. Ph: 0431-

2331879, 2331842, 2332175, Fax: 0431-2332175, Email:,

Contact: Oswald Quintal

Kudumbam is a non-profit voluntary organization· promoting sustainable agriculture· since 1990 . Kudumbam also offers home· delivery· services of its products .

Products available: Rice, Red gram, Black gram, Green gram, Bengal gram, Cow pea, Ground nut, Gingelly, Pepper, Coriander, Chilli, Turmeric, Chilli powder, Coriander powder, Sambar powder, Turmeric powder, Idly flour, Dosai flour, Nutrient flour, Ragi flour.

Kulinji is also the ecological research· and demonstration· farm cum training centre offering training in integrated farming systems , animal· husbandry and nature· cure· .

Trials , experiments , demonstrations , trainings and farmers’ interactions are the main· core· programmes . It is located on 35 acres· of rainfed land· in an interior area· of Kulathur Taluk in Pudukottai District .

It can provide· seed , seedlings and saplings .

(Source: Brochure)


No. 18, Ulchi Magaliamman Koil Street, Puliangudi, Nellaikattabomman District – 627 855, Tamil Nadu.

Sri . Gomathinayagam is an organic· farmer· from Puliyangudi village in Thirunelveli district· .

Gomathinayagam , aged 75 , once a teacher· , has been in farming for three· decades . He and his friends have·started a farmers’ sangam in his native· village where they meet· every evening .

Through the sangam they subscribe to over 20 journals and magazines which they read· to understand· the world . He enjoys commenting on any social event· through a post· card· , which the newspapers publish· now and then . His entire· family ie . his wife , two· sons , daughters-inlaw and grand· children are all involved in farming . He decided to stop· education· of his sons at the 10 th standard· as he felt that they don’t need more of this kind· of education· .

On the education· system· , he comments as follows: ‘Most of us spend· enormous money· on providing higher education· to our children . Tell me , where has this led us to ? Why should children be· educated so much that they start· to look· down upon the mainstay· employment· of this country· ? Today , only those who do· not fit· into the mainstream or are not good· enough are supposedly attracted to farming . Who has created and sustained this view· ? The educated public ? And what do· they know· ? They have· neither the independence of economy nor of culture· . In both they are slaves . ’

He gives the following recipe for the use· of panchagavya:

Take 5 kg of cow dung· and add· one litre of ghee . Then mix them well and keep· in a shady place· for five days . On the sixth day , mix to this three· liters of cow’s urine , two· liters of cow’s milk , two· liters curd , three· liters tender· coconut water· and three· liters sugar· cane juice .

Put the mixture· in a shady place· for 15 days . Everyday mix it well , morning and evening .

After 15 days it will be· ready for use· . Add five liters of water· . The ratio· is 3 % ( 3 liters of panchagavya for 100 litres of water) . Panchagavya can be· used for all crops before flowering and after . Sri . Gomathinayagam uses panchagavya for paddy twice – first· on the twentieth day after planting and again on the fortieth day . It acts as manure and pesticide . Besides , panchagavya increases the shelf· life· of rice and improves its taste· as well .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


‘Fleurette,’ Sivanadi Road, Kodaikanal – 624 101, Tamil Nadu.

Contact person: Minoo Avari

The Khoram Estate was purchased in August 1980 . It is located 16.3 kms . from Kodaikanal , in a valley· called Middle Palnis . The nearest town· is Perumalmalai which is five kms away .

The property· is around 4 , 000 feet above M . S . L . To the north , it overlooks the plains of Palni .

West are the hilly massifs which form· part· of the Anamallai tract· while to the south one can see· the extreme boundaries of Kodaikanal Municipality .

This area· is therefore essential· for access· into the hundreds of acres· of land· available for sale in the north . The lands there are as gentle· as they are fertile· . The panoramas they afford· are as exquisite· as their myriad hidden mysteries . These magnificent lands are the last· remaining portions that are up for sale by farmers .

The Estate came with seven acres· of Arabica 795 coffee variety· , fourteen acres· of citrus and other trees on its total· twenty-five acres· . The water· is abundant , and it is potable . In 1986 one acre of the new , high· yielding imported dwarf· variety· of coffee , known as Catimore , was grown . In 1988 a further four acres· were planted and the programme· completed in 1989 with a balance· of six acres· .

Coffee planting was accompanied with citrus planting at 20 by 20 feet spacing . Temporary shade· trees were also grown at 15 feet intervals and followed each year with permanent shade· trees at 60 feet spacing . All the newly planted areas were first· thoroughly dug up . Unearthed rocks and stones were used to put· up massive· revetment walls . A 1 , 50 , 000 -gallon seepage· tank· was constructed over a period· of four years· .

Pepper was grown on a commercial scale· from 1987 after trials were conducted to find· the most suitable· hybrid for this area· . There is little· doubt· that this is the crop of the future· .

Requiring no maintenance· , it is easy· to harvest and is harvested at a time· when there is plenty· of labour·available , i . e . , after the coffee and citrus harvests are completed . Yields on a single vine· have· been upto 120 kg green· / 40 kg of black· pepper !

The eastern (top) section· of Khoram Estate has been ear marked for setting up an eco tourism complex . It will harbour· , in addition· , a cattle· shed· with attendant· gobar gas· plant· which will supply milk , lighting , cooking gas· and slurry for the orchard below .

The climate· is ideal for agriculture· . It has been rated as excellent for dairy and/or stud· farming . It has now been internationally acclaimed as having that perfect· ambience· for a world class· health spa . The weather pattern·lends itself to making the area· more than suitable· for alternate energy· resource· projects .

Khoram Estate has the distinction of being amongst the highest yielding coffee properties anywhere in the country·. It also sports a wide variety· of produce· and plants . To name· a few:

Cinnamon , leechis , mangoes , peaches , apricots , avocado , bananas , chillies , vegetables , Monstera deliciosa , pomegranate (seedless) , arecanut , guavas (seedless) , citrus (oranges , mosambi , kedar narthangai , grapefruit , Salem orange , sweet· lime and acid lime) , kadukai (soap nut) , nellikai , jackfruit , jambool , laquaat , African mahogany , albizzia , singattu , Grevellia robusta (silver oak) , white· cedar , vangai , kona , kumul , croteleria (Indegofera Tasmania) , rosewood , athi (wild fig) , kelaa , oapaya , custard apple , vaikalli , Mysopsis emminni and Dadaps .

Several hundred imported silk-cotton hybrid plants have· already been planted along the estate· perimeter· . Again , every tree· that is large· enough has a pepper vine· on it .

The estate· is now totally organic· . By using stone· walls and allowing soil· to build up as well as transporting large·quantities manually they have· recovered several acres· of waste· land· , which have· since been planted such that the major part· of the estate· is now covered with trees .

Research trials with the highly successful Vetticelium were first· conducted on this property· .

Applications of BD 500 and compost etc . , are all that the estate· requires and though the crop levels per acre have· dipped , the quality· is far superior with individual bean/fruit size· much greater than before . In addition· the shelf· life· of perishable products has been considerably enhanced .

In conclusion· , it must be· noted that Khoram Estate is chemical· free· . It is totally organic· and follows a self-sustainable eco-friendly pattern· interlinked with highly scientific principles .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Bharat Nivas P.O., Auroville – 605 101, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0413 3155660,

Annapurna farm is managed by Tomas , Andre and Brooks . This 135 acre farm belongs to the experimental international township called Auroville , near Pondicherry . The primary purpose· of the farm is to produce· food·for the residents of Auroville .

The farm is presently growing approximately 5 acres· of paddy , and around 35 acres· of millet . Only indigenous·crop varieties are used . The millets grown are barnyard millet (kuderaivalli in Tamil , sanwa in Hindi) and kodo millet (varagu in Tamil , kodon in Hindi) .

There are also some tamarind plantations , and plots of casuarina trees . The farm also grows Hibiscus sabdariffa , or Rosella . The fruit· of this crop is dried and used for juice production· in Auroville’s solar kitchen· .

Annapurna has a dairy with 10 cross· bred cows· . Indigenous animals are preferred , so the farm is presently raising two· pure· Gir bulls which will be· used for breeding as well as for local transport· .

The performance· of rice has been very disappointing at Annapurna , with yields averaging only 1 , 200 kg per acre . The poor· yields may be· due to increasing concentrations of salt· and the increasing EC in irrigated plots . It also may be· due to the high· pH of the soil· , which is between 7.8 and 8.2 , depending upon the depth· . The system· of rice intensification (SRI) is being tried on some small· plots , however the performance· of SRI plants in the first·year was very disappointing .

Millets grow· well here , but consumer· demand· for such crops is low· in Auroville .

The farm depends heavily upon donations for its existence· , as production· related and operational· expenses are greater than income· from the crops .

Much effort· is devoted to recording and analyzing data of the production· processes .

Rainwater harvesting ponds have· been created with catchment capacity· of approximately 24 , 000 cubic meters . These ponds , when filled , provide· irrigation water· for the rice crops .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Kudumbam, Ezhil Nagar, Keeranur, Pudukottai District – 622 502, Tamil Nadu.

This farm was established by Kudumbam , an NGO· , in 1992 . There are five families living on it and looking after the activities . At the time· of purchase· it was barren· land· . Thanks to efforts at water· harvesting and planting pioneer trees , the farm is now well wooded .

Some good· practices demonstrated on the farm are:

a) Water Harvesting: Starting from the highest part· , water· harvesting is done in various· ways , like contour·bunding , percolation pits , deepening of ponds , etc . so that rainwater is fully harvested .

b) Regreening: Plants which are native· to the place· and which survive in difficult conditions – pioneer plants – are grown , to bring· green· cover· quickly to barren· land· .

c) Soil conservation: Soil erosion· is controlled by contour· bunding and vetiver .

d) Stone mulching: To make· trees grow· with rainwater only – even when rain· is erratic· – stone· mulching is done around the tree· trunks . This helps retain moisture .

e) Shelter belting: Part of the farm is left undisturbed so that thick· bushes establish· themselves . This acts as a shelter· for many creatures like mongoose , peacocks and birds which become· part· of the natural· system· of the farm .

f) Alley cropping.

g) Deep litter system: To maintain· birds for food· .

h) Aquaculture: Rearing fish· in rainwater-fed ponds .

i) Permaculture: At the lower end· of the farm , where there is a well with a pumpset , a plot· of land· is cultivated with the permaculture methodology . Tree crops include· sesbania , subabul , fruit· trees like guava and trees like teak . Vegetables and tapioca along with cover· crops are also grown here .

j) Home Gardening: This is propagated mainly to look· after vegetable· needs of the home· in poorly rainfed conditions .

Kolunji acts mainly as a training centre for NGOs and farmers.

(Source: M. Kartikeyan)


27, Ayyanar Nagar Pudukkotai – 622 303, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04322-265094/266613

Sugavanam is a Medicinal Plant Conservation Park (MPCP) established with the financial and technical support·from Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) , Bangalore . It is conserving the medicinal bio-diversity of Pudukkottai district· and trying to revitalize· local health traditions . There are 500 species growing in natural· conditions . They maintain· a herbarium of 300 species in a very systematically maintained space· .

Present Activities:

1. Watershed Training:

Sugavanam is part· of a micro watershed which was developed from 1990 – 1996 . The impact· of soil·conservation· and tree· planting can be· seen clearly . People who want· to learn· the impact· of watershed components on degraded· lands come· for an exposure· visit· here . A comprehensive training on watershed approaches and soil· conservation· and tree· planting techniques is offered here .

2. Organic Farming:

Training in organic· farming including composting techniques is offered to farmers’ groups .

Sugavanam has become· a thick· forest and wherever some sunlight is available organic· trial· beds have· been formed and demonstration· crops raised . Various organic· manures and natural· plant· based pest· control·measures are taught and demonstrated .

By the promotion· of organic· agriculture· we wish· to supply poison free· food· to the urban population . Through an alternative· marketing system· , it is hoped to bring· producers and consumers together to develop· mutual·confidence· and concern· .

3. Nursery:

A well designed nursery· with a capacity· of 1 , 00 , 000 seedlings is functioning here . Besides medicinal species required for a home· garden , agroforestry plants are also raised and supplied on demand· . About forty to fifty species are available always .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Do Nothing Farm, Madapuram, Vallioor, Tirunelveli Katta Bomman District, Tamil Nadu.

Ali Manikfan is a multifaceted· man· and has proved his mettle in fields like astronomy , fish· species collection· and identification , electronics , alternative· technology , ship· making , etc .

along with natural· farming and natural· cure· . He started following natural· farming some 20 years· ago . He has found a way· of preventing sea erosion· at Rameshwaram when he lived there on a small· farm . He runs all the electric· instruments in his home· by harnessing solar and wind· power· with an indigenously made fan· .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


M Vadipatti, Dindugul Anna District – 624 211, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 045436-4404

Contact: Muthusamy

ECHO Trust , an NGO· established in 1985 , has from 1991 initiated activities related to agriculture· . The trust· has 85 cents of land· in M . Vadipatti . Fruit trees like guava and mango are grown . Ploughing and weeding are both avoided and the area· is left undisturbed .

ECHO Trust is involved in organic· farming promotion· and campaigning .

(Source: M. Kartikeyan)


Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry – 605 002, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0413 2666337, 2339017,

Cell: 094432 87531, 094432 72780, Email:

Contact: Manager

Spread over 40 hectares ( 100 acres) , Gloria Land dairy farm has been a pioneer in organic· farming . Realising the ill-effects of chemicals and pesticides way· back in 1967 , Gloria Land persisted with organic· techniques all through the halcyon· days of the Green Revolution when the usage· of chemicals was proclaimed as the best way· of farming . The dairy is an integral part· of the farm , with nearly 120 heads of cattle· mainly of Indian pedigree· . No vaccination is given to the animals . The average· milk production· is 325 litres per day . Approximately 250 kg of cow dung· is used in the biogas plant· . Slurry from biogas plants is used as manure .

Approximately 15 – 20 acres· of land· is used for rice production· with an average· yield· of 40 tonnes per crop .

Gloria Land aims at self-sufficiency in organic· farming . The primary motive· being to stop· the input· of chemicals into the system· which comes through cattle· feed purchased from the market . The crops are therefore dairy oriented , so that some of the products and all byproducts can be· effectively used as feed for cattle· .

Groundnut , maize , cumbu , ragi , soybean , jowar etc . are some of the crops grown . Also coconut , mango , sapota , guava and papaya trees are grown . A number· of vegetables are cultivated . Honey is provided by beehives .

Gloria Land makes special efforts to promote· research· on native· varieties of plants with the use· of biological , low· tillage· or no-tillage mulching methods and the harvesting of air· and sunlight which is a new concept· in organic· farming . Innovation on the irrigation front· is also a continuous process· . The results have· been very encouraging . The work· being done at Gloria

Land has been acknowledged internationally and articles on the farm have· appeared in newspapers and magazines in India and abroad . The late· Manindra Pal , the genius· behind Gloria Farm introduced several people·to organic· farming , including Prof . Radhamohan of Orissa . The farm is now managed by his daughter .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


22, Highways Colony, Subramaniyapuram, Trichy – 620 020, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0431 2331879, Email:

District office:

LEISA Network – Madurai, Post Box No. 87, Madurai – 625 020, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0452 2533493, Email: /

Resource Poor Farmers (RPF) around the world have· been marginalized and excluded from development· with the unbridled spread· of the ‘green revolution’ . LEISA Network has been an initiative· of farmers (and farmers eco-clubs) to counter· such threats to life· and livelihood· .

LEISA Network comprises of a coalition· of 82 NGOs and over 2000 resource· poor· and landless farmers spread·across nine districts of Tamilnadu . The State Resource Cell , based in Trichy , provides financial support· and technology updates while the district· level· leading NGOs have· been assigned the responsibility· to monitor and oversee the program· . Headed by district· coordinators , all the district· level· activities are steered by field·executives along with participation and cooperation· from the farmers and animators .

(Source: Brochure)


Tharamani , Chennai – 600 113 , Tamil Nadu . Ph . : 044 2430937 , Fax: 044 2430369 , Email: energy· 1 @vsnl . com , Web: http://education . vsnl . com/mcrc

Developed spirulina technology for rural application· as well as a technology package· for natural· indigo dye·extraction and dyeing . Under the late· Dr  . V . Seshadri , did serious· and pioneering work· on organic· farming . The Institute continues to do· work· on organic· farming even today .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


35 Devarajanar Street, Vedachalam Nagar, Chengalpattu-603001, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04114-228271, Email:

Murugappa was the first· farmer· in his area· to use· Azotobacter , the nitrogen fixing agent· for sugarcane on a large· scale· thus substituting nitrogen-based (inorganic) fertiliser .

He grows paddy, pulses and vegetables using bio-dynamic inputs and sells organically grown products in and around Chennai.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


30, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai – 600 085, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 2447 1087 / 2447 5862, Fax: 2447 1114, Email : /,

The Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS) was formed as an autonomous· organization· in September 1993 and it was registered as a Trust in January 1995 .

Following is its charter of beliefs: ‘We believe· that even today in very many crucial and basic sectors , the vast majority· of the Indian population is sustained by the knowledge· , skills and material· resources of the traditional sector . However , these systems have· received very little· by way· of attention· and even less by way· of financial support· or institutional help· from the Government . Even when traditional sciences or technologies are studied , it is often in the nature· of the study· of history· of literature or ‘Indology’ and almost never from the point· of view· of their contemporary relevance and potential . Moreover , appreciation· of tradition· is usually limited only to the aesthetic and decorative dimensions of the products of our tradition· and not their functional aspects or as living traditions that have· relevance for today . Our main· objective therefore is to work· towards strengthening and revitalization· of Indian knowledge· systems with particular· focus on traditional agriculture· and healthcare systems . ’

Activities of the Centre:

• Action , research· and training programmes on various· aspects of organic· farming;

• Research on cultivation· of organic· rice , cotton , oil seeds , vegetables , etc . ;

• Setting up of rural gene banks for the conservation· of traditional seed varieties;

• Development of the use· of biological control· agents for the control· of pests in different agro ecosystems;

• Research on the applications of vrkshayurveda (traditional Indian plant· science);

• Setting up of an organic· farming resource· centre which would act· as a clearing house· for information on organic· practices;

• Arogyam – a scheme· to make· available organic· food· from farmers to consumers at reasonable prices;

• Seed banks in villages across Tamil Nadu with on farm conservation· of over 130 paddy and 50 vegetables varieties;

• Research and publications on medicinal plants;

• Training programmes on the use· of traditional medicine· for various· groups;

• Preparation of audio visuals on various· aspects of traditional healthcare systems;

• Publication of newsletters , manuals , posters and monographs on traditional health care· and traditional agriculture· .

Their main· field· work· area· is Kancheepuram district· which has two· experimental farms as well as a training centre and a field· office· . A field· station· is also located in the town· of Sirkazhi , Nagapattinam district· . The organization· has twenty six full· time· staff· members , a panel of consultants and a team of volunteers to help· it fulfill· its objectives .

‘CIKS Wire’ is the online monthly newsletter of CIKS . Those interested in receiving it can send· a mail to infor@ciks . org / ciksorg@gmail . com For a list· of prominent· publications check· its website .


C/o TVS Academy, SIPCOT-II Phase, Bethallapalli, Hosur 635 125, Tamil Nadu, Ph.:04344 260489, 260448, Fax: 04344 260419

Contact persons: Ms. Bindumathi Mohan & Mr. S.Murugakani

(Coordinator – Ms.Srividya Mouli)

The T . S . Srinivasan Centre for Rural Training (TSSCRT) was set up to establish· a model· farm , educate· and train local farmers in organic· agricultural· practices , build a network of farmers and disseminate· the benefits of organic· products to the public .

For the past· four years· TSSCRT has worked with farmers in and around Hosur . It has created awareness· in small·and marginal farmers about the harmful· effects of chemical· based farming . It has helped farmers who wish· to switch· to organic· farming practices by providing them training , guidance· and marketing facilities .

It conducts research· and experiments on bio-pesticide preparations , composting processes , organic· bio-growth promoters , mulching , green· manuring practices , etc . These are then standardised and taught to farmers in the various· training programmes conducted by the NGO· . Use of various· predators and parasites like Crysoperia , Trichogramma , NPV and pheromone traps are also included in the integrated pest· control· research· programmes .

Training programmes and demonstrations are held regularly at the Centre and in various· farmers’ fields to introduce· various· eco-sensitive , traditional (not yet forgotten) farming practices . Farmers are also exposed to new innovations like EM Technology etc . for an easy· and quick· switch· over to organic· farming .

The TSSCRT has also addressed itself to resource· conservation· techniques and actively promotes rainwater harvesting in various· village forums . By making available expert· guidance· it helps farmers to restore· water·sources , harvest and conserve· rainwater and prevent· erosion· .

A producer consumer· network has been created , thus assuring the farmer· of a steady· market for the crops . This ensures that the farmers’ produce· is marketed efficiently and that the farmer· gets a fair· price· for the crops .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Keystone Centre, P.B. No. 35, Groves Hill Road, Kotagiri 643217 Ph.: 04266 272277/272977

Fax: 04266 272277, Email:

Contact person: Mathew John, Director

Keystone has within its fold· , both , a registered trust· and a partnership firm . Both , though independent· with divergent philosophies , consciously attempt· to complement each others’ activities .

The Keystone philosophy:

Today there are only a handful· of development· groups with a conscious mandate· of working with both conservation· and basic needs issues . Thus , it becomes imperative to synchronise social , economic , and ecological systems and introduce· effective· strategies for change· . Keystone strives to achieve· this synchrony . It has decided to work· in the field· , specifically in mountain ecosystems with indigenous· people· . Keystone believes that a small· yet effective· group· of professionals , in touch· with ground· realities is capable of carrying through an issue· from the concept· to the implementation· stage· .

Keystone has practical· interests in:

• forest ecosystems and associated traditional skills e . g . , honey hunting practice· of indigenous· communities , use· of non-wood forest products;

• land· restoration· and conservation: organic· land· use· options , traditional agriculture;

• water· distribution and management· systems: drinking water· , micro-irrigation;

• appropriate· technologies in energy· , apiculture , shelter· , agriculture· , water· resources;

• marketing and distribution for a gamut of natural· products;

• local capacity· building for sustained action· including village youth training and building relevant field· station·infrastructure· .

Keystone is involved in the incorporation of millets into the public distribution system· is are looking forward to increase· their net working partners . It is involved with 32 local groups and 300 farmers . Products grown and promoted through them are coffee , millets , spices , silk cotton and honey . They are part· of the National PGS group· and IFOAM International .

Keystone has within its relatively young· lifespan· established linkages with a large· number· of individuals and organizations with whom it exchanges ideas , skills and shares experiences .

The group· members are a part· of The Shola Fellowship , a network of like-minded individuals , and a member of Apimondia – the world federation of beekeepers .

Keystone is centrally involved in the Participatory Guarantee System of certification· of OFAI

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Ooruppannadi Nivas, Kottur Malayandipattanam, Pollachi, Coimbatore District – 642 114,

Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04259 –286499 to 286504 Cell: 09442416543 Email:

Contact: Madhu Ramakrishnan

Madhu Ramakrishnan hated agriculture· in his youth , as the income· was very low· when compared with other professions . He studied to be· an engineer and then entered industry· .

Inspite of this , he has been farming for the past· 25 years· . Only recently he has began to understand· its real·nature· after reading Fukuoka’s ‘One Straw Revolution . ’

The farm layout is as follows: 32 acres· coconut , 5 acres· mango , 5 acres· teak , 4 acres· tamarind and 2 acres· of fodder crops . The coconut plantation is interspersed with cocoa , silveroak , arecanut , kadepela and medical plants as well as leguminous crops . The teak plantation has pepper plants . A small· orchard is also maintained with jack fruit· , chickoo , amla , guava etc . The plants and trees selected for intercropping provide· a large·amount· of leaf· fall· . Vetiver is cultivated to avoid· soil· erosion· .

The farm has plenty· of water· with three· open· wells plus canal· irrigation . There are 15 cows· and 40 sheep· . Gobar gas· plant· is also established and the slurry is used for making panchgavya . Only vermicompost is applied to the entire· farm . He gets 5 tonnes of vermicompost per month . Vermicomposting is demonstrated to interested farmers every second· Saturday of the month .

There is zero· tillage· on the farm since 1996 . Medical plants are grown for the preparation· of bio-cides for plants . All coconut wastes are recycled . Arrangements for wind· breaks are now under development· .

Ramakrishnan has found that as a result· of organic· farming there is no need for tillage· , no fertiliser is necessary , weeds are much less , water· requirement· is less yet the health of the soil· has improved , the plants have· natural·resistance· against pests and diseases , the produce is of good· quality· and there is less labour· requirement· , less expenditure and less work· for the farmer· . He strongly advocates organic· farming .

(Source: Correspondence with OFAI)


Vivekananda Kendra – NARDEP, Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari – 629 702, Tamil Nadu.

Ph.: 04652 246296, Fax: 04652 347177, Email:


Technology Resource Centre, VK-NARDEP, Kalluvilai, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04652 270755, 271270

VK-NARDEP is a project· of Vivekananda Kendra . VK-NARDEP is working in the fields of cost-effective housing , water· management· , organic· farming , medicinal herbs and propagation of non-conventional energy· sources .

To propagate· organic· farming , VK-NARDEP undertook the dissemination of the following technologies:

i) Farm yard manure;

ii) NADEP compost;

iii) Biogas slurry;

iv) Vermicompost, etc.

With harmful· side-effects and contra-indications of synthetic medicines taking their toll· , the search· is on for a more humane alternative· . For us Indians , long· reared on mother’s medicine-chest , it comes as no surprise that grandma’s household herbs are proving their worth today . Long forgotten , and once freely available , these herbs today scream· for attention· . Widespread deforestation has also confined their spread· to a few places . The aggressive· patenting and copyright of these remedies by commercially oriented global interests make· it imperative that we safeguard our age-old· wisdom· .

VK-NARDEP appreciates the need for proper documentation of the geographical spread· and use· of various· herbs besides their non-commercial motive· production· . Armed with its widespread contacts with scientific institutions , other agencies and general· public , VKNARDEP endeavours to establish· a network of indigenous· health workers and physicians to raise· herbal nurseries and gardens , and to train people· in raising such nurseries and prepare·herbal medicines .

The enormous potential of biogas technology encouraged quite a few to install· bio-gas plants . Obtaining energy·from waste· and organic· fertiliser by-product enthused many . The initial enthusiasm· soon wore off as defects came to the fore· and the lack· of trained technicians for repair· work· was felt . This need was fulfilled by VK-NARDEP . It launched biogas users’ awareness· camps , as well as training courses for users and masons . Today it is one of the largest turn-key agencies for bio-gas construction· , having constructed 1500 plants .

VK-NARDEP has published , in association· with Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources , Govt . of India , a manual (in English and Hindi) on repair· and maintenance· of biogas plants .

As a result· of its R&D efforts VK-NARDEP has also developed a new biogas plant· model· ‘VINCAP which tries to reduce· the cost· of the existing models . The model· is presently undergoing rigorous· field· trials before it is offered to the general· public .

To reinstall a reverent regard· for Mother Nature , VK-NARDEP organises eco-clubs in schools and other institutions as also seminars and campaigns . It has also produced an audio cassette ‘Echoes of Eco’ containing meaningful songs with lilting tunes on ecology in Hindi , Kannada , Malayalam , Tamil and Telegu . A companion volume·contains their notations as well as their meanings in English and Hindi .

(Source: Brochure)


N. N. Farms, 244, Bahuttampalayam, Ekkaraithatthapalli P.O. Via Bhavanisagar – 638451, Erode District, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04295 221895, Cell: 09443071495

Nagaraj is a well known jasmine flower· grower . He grows banana , turmeric and vegetables organically .

Panchkavya, herbal pesticide and vermicompost are all prepared on the farm. Surplus is sold.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Pudhu Nilavu Organic Farm / Manonmani Vermi Farm,

Thalavumalai, Arachaloor, Erode District – 638 101, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0424 2357537

Email :

Pudhu Nilavu Organic farm / Manonmani Vermi Farm was started in 1999 by S . Poongodi and R . Selvam with the aim· of producing vermi-composters and not just vermi-compost .

Selvam and his wife wanted to create· awareness· and train farmers in vermin composting .

Manonmani is a Tamil epic· in which the earthworm is referred to in detail· . Hence Nammalwar gave it this name· .

The farm is 2.6 acres· and has more than 400 trees of 80 different species . Around ¼ portion· of the farm is being developed as a model· farm for training programmes . Although water· from canal· irrigation is readily available , this source· of water· is not being used since they prefer to use· water· sources from within the farm property· . They utilize· water· from a tube· well for drinking and so far have· taken water· from the well for saplings only on 7 or 8 occasions .

When they bought the farm in 2003 there was hardly any organic· matter· except for some hardy· weeds . Now the whole· farm has knee· high· carpet of a multitude· of grasses that can feed the cattle· and goats reared in the farm .

In 1999 Poongodi has started a vermi-composting unit· with help· from a bank· manger· (as at that time· banks considered vermi-composting a losing venture) . Realising that vermi-compost is very essential· for a farmer· to be·able to shift· to organic· farming she decided to build a training center· for promoting vermi-composting among the farmers . At that time· vermicomposting training was available only in research· centers and colleges or at some NGOs farms .

She initially started vermi-composting in tanks constructed using cement slabs . Many farmers trained but the number· of those who started units on their farms were very few – the reason· being that this system· needs money· for constructing tanks and shed· to cover· the tanks .

So she tried various· methods and finally found that leaving the worms in natural· way· is the easiest one . She has now developed an open· bed method· of vermicomposting in the open· yard even where there are no trees – just under the sun . She has innovatively used mulching over the bed of about 1 foot· high· and 3 feet wide (length varies) . Poongodi says: ‘Previously the shed was constructed over the heads of the people· . Now a roof is constructed over the heads of the worms’ .

After developing this method· almost all the trainees have· started their own vermicomposting units . Many of the commercially successful units are following this low· or no cost· vermi-composting . Several farmers (men and women) , women self· help· groups , college students (including agricultural· college students) have· came to her farm for training . Banks too have· now started giving loans for vermi-composting with out any hesitation· .

Poongodi is now on the faculty· of vermi-composting training programmes of many community· colleges . Poongodi and Selvam were instrumental· in starting an UGC approved , add-on course· on vermicomposting and solid· waste· management· in a local womens’ college .

The earthworm used is Eudrillus eugeniae species . However , other types are reared here for exhibition purposes . The centre also has seven different types of vermi-composting models – ranging from pots to cement tanks . The training course· includes lectures and demonstrations .

Fees for a one day training course· are nominal· – women pay· Rs .250 , men· Rs .300 and couples Rs .450 . A maximum of 20 persons at a time· are taken for training to ensure· better interaction .

The training centre also offers a 3 days intensive residential course· which includes topics such as: agricultural·history· of India , soil· health , water· management· , compost making , mapping , indigenous· plant· protection·techniques (amrut pani , panchagavya , insect· repellants) , cattle· breeds , etc .

Selvam has written many articles on organic· farming , farmers’ issues , genetic engineering etc . in various· dailies and farmers’ magazines and has also written and co-authored some books in Tamil .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Kuringi Bhavanam, Kilavayal – 630 410, Sivagangai District, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04577- 244222/244177/244111

Contact Person: V. Ramani

Organic practices for medicinal plants conservation· and promoter of kitchen· herbal gardens .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Natural Life Center, 32/1, East Street, Kulasekaran Pattinam – 628 206, Tamil Nadu,

Ph.:04639 251425

Appan has a three· acre plot· near the sea under orchard cultivation· since he believes that humans need natural·food· , not cereal or cooked vegetables to remain· healthy· . He grows primarily coconut and a few other fruit· trees which can survive the saline air· and soil· . He has always practiced organic· farming . Mulching is the only organic·farming technique he employs , using cow dung· or goat dung· mixed with leaves to provide· nutrition· to the trees . He believes that the best manure for any plant· is the waste· product· of the same plant· . Hence all the waste·products of the trees are given back to it through mulching . He claims , that alone is sufficient for healthy· growth·of the tree· and good· fruit· crop .

He teaches that all kinds of diseases , both physical and mental , can be· cured only by rawfood diet with yoga and without any medicine· or surgery· .

He is the author· of two· books published in English – How to cure· diseases with natural· foods ( 2 vols . ) and How to live· without diseases .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


M-3, Housing Unit, Salai Road, Woraiyur, Trichy – 620 003, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0431 2761029 (O), 2762257 (R), Cell: 09842476063

Contact: Smt. S. Muthumala Devi

SOPORT stands for Society Organized for the Promotion of Rural Tribals . SOPORT has been set up by a young·married lady , who by her own admission is a wealthy· landowner . She is heir to about 100 acres· of family owned land· in Theni district· . The area· is known for its coffee plantations and orchards . Most of the land· is hilly and is cultivated with coffee , cardamom and a variety· of fruit· trees like orange , guava , pomegranate etc . On the plains they grow· paddy , sugarcane , banana , coconut and tapioca .

Muthumala herself doesn’t farm the land· – she has plenty· of workers engaged by her family who from earlier times work· on the land· and thus earn· their livelihood· . Muthumala visits the farm regularly and takes keen·interest· in its running .

She says that the farm has totally moved to organic· farming since the past· five years· . Even before that , they were not strictly chemical· farmers as their use· of fertilisers and insecticides was mixed with some time-honoured traditional practices followed by all farmers in the area· .

So the decision· to be· fully organic· was not difficult to take· at all .

Asked about the consequences of not using pesticides she says that there is no serious· threat· of pests though there are attacks now and then . Earlier they used to inject· into the plants to ensure· that they remained healthy·but now they have· stopped pesticides altogether . Instead they have· adopted another technique . When they find·pests attacking one species of plants they allow· the pests to have· their fill· of the food· they want· . That takes their attention· away from the other plants and saves the rest· of the crop .

Muthumala who is a post· graduate in family counselling organises Self Help Groups and actively promotes organic· farming through them .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Elunkathir Organic Farm, P. Vellalapalayam Post, Gobichettipalayam, Erode District – 638476, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04285 246301, Cell: 094433 46323

V . S . Arunachalam , son of a small· farmer· from a rural background· is an ITI diploma holder· .

Instead of using this training he decided to farm and fortunately chose to do· it the ecological way· . The special features of his farm are:

(i) Integrating goat rearing with crops;

(ii) Preparing panchagavya with goat products;

(iii) Mixing cattle· urine with irrigation water;

(iv) Vermiculture in between banana trees;

(v) Mulching in sugarcane;

(vi) Single seedling plantation in rice; and,

(vii) Green manure preparation· by sowing 20 kinds of crop seeds .

He made significant· contributions to farm reclamation efforts of salinated lands during the tsunami . His present engagement· is with Nariguravas (tribal) children .

(Source: Revathi and Nammalwar)


Amudha Surbhi Organic Farming Training Centre, 12, Thingalur Road, Nasiyanur Post, Erode District – 638107, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0424 2555227

Mohanasundaram and his wife Pushparani farm , teach· and train others in natural/organic farming on their farm land· . The plot· is three· and half acres· , of which one and a half is owned by them and two· acres· is on lease . They were not always organic· farmers , but have· been so for the past· eight years· . In 1986 when the farm used chemical· fertilisers , Mohanasundaraman’s father· got the first· prize· in the state· for growing maize . However even at that time· they did not use· chemical· pesticides or insecticides , only chemical· fertilisers .

Mohanasundaram’s conversion· to organic· farming came when he realised that it was not fertilisers that were having an impact· on the crop .

According to him eight years· ago he had used DAP as fertiliser for growing lady’s fingers .

On one occasion· he noticed that even after three· waterings the fertiliser had not dissolved but remained intact·around the roots where he had applied it . So he questioned the shopkeeper from whom he had purchased the bag· . The seller· told him that sometimes the bag· is not a good· one and the fertiliser does not dissolve· . It had happened occasionally to others as well; the shopkeeper had said that it was just plain· bad luck· .

That set him wondering , for he had noticed that the lady’s fingers were growing reasonably well despite the fact·that they were obviously getting no nutrition· whatsoever from the applied fertiliser . He understood then that the chemical· fertilisers are not really necessary and from then onwards· stopped using them altogether on the farm . Instead he started using micronutrients and found that this not only improved the yield· but also the colour· of the


Mohanasundaram’s farm grows vegetables , turmeric , bananas and green· fodder . He needs the fodder to feed the large· cattle· population . If there is enough water· he grows paddy . He never uses a bore· well as he believes this is anti-national . In¬stead he uses water· from an open· well . He has two· bullock carts and one hand· power·tiller .

His cattle· population comprises of two· bulls of ‘Aligarh’ variety· , two· ‘kangeyam’ cows· (they are an indigenous·variety· that are very sturdy· and can work· like bulls – unfortunately they are fast disappearing) and three· hybrid cows· . He also has ten ‘Jamuna’ goats and forty odd· mixed poultry of desi variety· . He believes that desi is best explained this way: You can feed two· Aligarh bulls the fodder required for one kangeyam cow . You can feed two·Kangayam cows· what is needed to feed one buffalo . And you can feed two· buffaloes with what is required for one hybrid cow . So when you have· to feed hybrid cows· there is bound to be· fodder scarcity· . That is why he says that although he once owned twenty-eight hybrid cows· he sold off as many as he could and purchased local breeds instead .

To enrich· the soil· with cattle· manure he simply puts all the animals at night on a plot· which is not under cultivation· . Over a period· of time· , the accumulated dung· and the urine generates earthworms and the soil·improves naturally . He rotates the cattle· in this manner· around the different plots and saves himself the manual labour· of having to clean sheds etc . , and the bargain of getting good· soil· as well . It’s the lazy· way· of doing farming , he laughingly claims .

There is no dearth· of purchasers for the products of his farm . In fact· , he always sells at a premium . He avoids brokers and wholesalers as far as possible· and prefers to sell· directly to the consumer· at the farm itself . If no middleman is involved he claims he earns a 60 % profit· from such sales . For the past· four years· he has been selling the green· turmeric as a root· crop for planting material· to other farmers .

He believes that panchagavya can cure· people· with ailments like psoriasis , ulcers , diabetes and arthritis and prepares panchgavya for sale for human consumption· . Many officers from the agricultural· department and the university visit· his farm and though he is just an SSC , he is often invited to deliver· guest lectures at the university in biology and zoology· . Pushparani , his wife , is one of the leaders of TANWA (Tamilnadu Women in Agriculture) .

His message: For the future· , there is no choice· except organic· farming , if you want· both agriculture· and the agriculturist to survive . Many have· already changed over . It is high· time· everyone does .

His recent interest· is in promotion· of eco system· based agriculture· .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Ph.: 0431 2553757, Cell: 098942-53757

Anand a young· man· who actively pursued his father’s dream· of creating a forest on barren· land· while still in college . To his father’s dream· he added his own vision· of creating a forest that could sustain· a community· of people· who could work· on the land· , living in harmony· with nature· and with each other . A tall· order· indeed but one that Anand pursued with great· fervour· .

About a decade ago , his family purchased a plot· of four and a half acres· of land· in a drought prone· area· . Three and a half acres· were planted with a variety· of fruit· bearing trees like chickoo , mango and guava . One acre is cultivated with paddy and other cereals . The fruit· trees have· begun to bring· in an income· now . The cultivated crop is sufficient to feed the family of two· adults and three· children who live· and work· on the land· . They have·experimented with the Madagascar method· of cultivating paddy .

His farm has been wholly organic· from the beginning as he firmly believes in the natural· way· of life· . He uses panchgavya which is self· prepared and also some bio-fertilisers , which he purchases .

As there are no other sources available nearby he gets water· from a bore· well . His farm is presently the only green· spot· in an otherwise parched and barren· landscape all around . He intends that one day , in the not too distant· future· , his forest will have· not only fruit· trees but a mixture· of timber· , fodder and medicinal trees , all indigenous· forest species . Anand says he is a first· generation· farmer· . He has no prior experience· in farming and is learning from those who are working on the land· . Initially he took up the study· of botany· in college , not finding it of much use· , he switched to biotechnology .

He is presently the state· coordinator of the tree· planting programme· initiated by the Isha Foundation , Coimbatore .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Koppampatty Post, Thuraiyur Taluka, Trichy – 621 012, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04327-253366

Nallusamy and his wife Shanti are well known tapioca farmers who have· only recently converted their entire·twenty-five acre farmland· to organic· . Nallusamy says that a few years· ago he met Nammalvar who strongly advocated that he turn· to organic· farming . However , rather than take· Nammalvar’s word· for it , Nallusamy decided to visit· several organic· farms .

Being completely convinced , he converted his own farm to fully organic· . The benefits were immediately visible .

Ten acres· of the 25 acres· farmland· are under tapioca plantation , turmeric is grown on five acres· , coconut plantation occupies another six acres· and the remaining four acres· have· a mixture· of paddy , onions and vegetables . Shanti is the one who actually manages the farm with Nallusamy co-ordinating the activities and assisting from time· to time· . They own five Sindhi cows· . They now prepare· herbal pesticide , panchgavya and vermicompost . Nallusamy says that with this combination· of organic· nutrients and pest· management· strategies no insects dangerous to the crops visit· his field· . Even rats do· not dare· to visit· his farm , he confidently asserts .

He sells the rice directly to the consumer· and at a premium – 40 % more than the market rate· . There are enough local customers who want· to buy· from the farm itself so he does not have· marketing problems for rice . Turmeric and onion are sold wholesale to the market while tapioca goes to the sago factories . The vegetables are for personal consumption· only .

According to him , the ten acre tapioca plot· gave them a harvest of four thousand 80 -kg bags of tapioca . This was much more than they were getting earlier . Besides , with chemical· farming the roots of the tapioca would break·below the surface· more easily , so part· of the crop used to be· lost that way· . Now with organic· farming the starch content· in the roots is more , the soil· is also looser and so the root· crop comes out completely . It is the starch content· that decides the sale price· of tapioca and people· even come· all the way· from Kerala to buy· their tapioca at a premium .

Turmeric too has shown a better crop with organic· farming . Previously he used to get· 16 quintals per acre but now it has increased to 20 quintals . He attributes this increase· in yield· to the fact· that he has gone in for mulching in a big· way· in the turmeric plot· . Mulching also conserves water· and prevents weeds from growing .

And if a farmer· is still hesitant about switching to organic· farming , Nallusamy offers one final· reason· which he says never fails to impress: ‘We straightaway save· Rs .1 .5 lakhs a year by not having to purchase· chemical·fertilisers . ’ What more arguments will anyone need after this in favour of organic· farming ? That is why Nallusamy has now joined the band· of campaigners for organic· farming , eagerly recommending to all farmers to switch· to this form· of agriculture· at the earliest opportunity .

Nallusamy now takes classes on vermiculture for farmers at the agriculture· department .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Kullampalayathar Thottam, Perumapalayam, Nagalur Post, Via Athani – 638 502, Bhavani Taluk, Erode District, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 042567-261463

Despite owning a fifteen acre plot· of farmland· , Krishnamurthy almost gave up farming since he simply could not make· ends meet· . His is a drought prone· area· and the main· problem· naturally is water· shortage· . Ironically , however , weeds grew in abundance· and this state· of affairs nearly drove him to despair· .

Then he came to know· of organic· farming . He switched overnight to organic· farming practices as he had nothing to lose . To his amazement he found that not only was expenditure on maintenance· of the farm greatly reduced but that both the problems of water· shortage· and abundance· of weeds become· manageable issues instead of the nightmare· they earlier were for him . So he has decided to continue· to be· a farmer· instead of selling his land·and migrating to the city· .

He now owns thirty sheep· and two· cows· . Three acres· of the farm are under coconut plantation , two· acres· are sown with maize , two· acres· have· bajra , one acre is for mixed vegetables and the rest· of the farm is reserved as sheep· grazing ground· .

He follows some permaculture practices on the farm . He also prepares panchgavya and herbal pesticides but firmly says that it is the simple organic· farming practice· of mulching which turned his fortunes around . Not that he makes much money· even now . Due to continuous drought over the past· several years· it is difficult for the land· to yield· as much as it should . He is forced to sell· the sheep· kids when they are just weaned even though at that age· they don’t fetch· as good· a price· as they would if he were to rear them for a while , but he says he cannot afford· to take· a chance· as later on his source· of fodder could be· scarce and insufficient .

All his energies are now spent trying to harvest every drop· of water· that falls on his land· .

He has tried rainwater harvesting on one acre . He has done farm bunding for all the plots , solely to ensure· that all the water· received is trapped . Mulching , he says , will take· care· of the rest· .

He is a firm believer· in organic· farming for the simple reason· that this alone has been able to give· him reason· to hope for the future· .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


18, Thathachariyar Residency, Mampala Salai, Tiruvanai Kovil (post), Trichy – 620 005, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0431-2433809/2650253

Contact Person: Mr. A. Gregory & Mrs. A. Jecintha

Voice Trust trains farmers in organic· farming . It also buys the produce if a farmer· cannot find· a market for goods . Vegetables , maize and rice are some of the items that it purchases and are then sold in the open· market . Voice Trust staff· say· that they have· trained over a thousand farmers in organic· farming persuading many of them to make· a complete· shift· . It is their experience· that the majority· of farmers are able to find· customers for their products without any assistance· from them and very few in fact· actually need help· with making marketing arrangements .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Office: 1 – A, Seeman Complex, Sivagangai Roadm, Madurai – 625001, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0452-2535603/2530143

Residence: 84-F, Kaliamman Koil Street, Pasumpon Nagar, Madurai – 625 001, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0452-2336659, 0452-3104616

Contact Person: Smt. K.S.Valli

FAARMS stands for Farmers Association for Agricultural Reformation and Modernisation Systems . It endeavours to establish· a market for the organic· produce· of women , tribal communities and small· farmers .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


19 A, Shanmuganagar, SIPCOT, Pudukottai – 622 001, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04322 244551, Cell: 09443430963, Email:

Daniel and Jayanti are a couple· actively involved in promoting the concept· of organic· farming . On their five acres·of land· at Thiruvilaisolai they help· to conserve· in situ a variety· of indigenous· seeds that were going extinct . They also demonstrate· various· techniques of organic· farming to farmers’ groups interested in learning . Daniel says he learnt organic· farming from Nammalvar . He also worked with AME and in 1982 did flood· relief· work· with Oxfam . At that time· the people· told him there were varieties of crops that out of natural· selection· were found to be·flood· resistant· . They were rarely sown , leaving the population in total· distress· when they were hit by floods .

Realization dawned on them that such seeds must be· conserved and they began by conserving thirty-five different seeds on their farm . They have· also given the seeds to over fifty other farmers for they believe· that seed conservation· practices to be· truly effective· should never be· centralized .

Daniel is the convenor of the LEISA network in Pudukottai and the project· director of Venture Trust . He also leads Green Action Network , which comprises of fifteen NGOs in the district· . Daniel’s work· through LEISA and Green Action Network aims at developing farmers as scientists in their own land· . Farmers are encouraged to experiment with practices that will help· resolve the problems faced on farms . These land-to-lab farmer· field· schools are conducted all over Tamil Nadu and are very popular especially for integrated crop management· . The farmers’ attention· is particularly drawn to the need for nutrients to strengthen· the crop’s resistance· to pests and other diseases .

On their own farm they grow· paddy , maize , fodder and casuarina (the only mono-crop that fixes nitrogen in the soil) . They have· two· ‘Umblacherry’ bullocks (indigenous to Tamilnadu) and two· horses for transport· . They also keep· poultry – eighteen turkeys – which fetch· them a good· price· on sale . They practice· vermicomposting on the farm and train women farmers in vermicomposting .

They also undertook a project· with the Pudukottai municipality· to convert· the garbage· of the town· into vermicompost .

(Source: Norma Alvares and Brochure)


220, Thirumalirunsolai, Pudukaraipudur Post, Gobichettipalayam – 638 313, Erode District, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04285 – 266303, Cell: 098427 61232

Kannan converted his six acre farm to ‘fully organic’ some years· ago . Three acres· are for sugarcane , one acre for paddy and two· acres· have· a mixture· of bananas , vegetables , turmeric , etc . He switched over to organic·farming as he found that the chemical· farming which he was earlier practising was not profitable· . Also he learnt of the negative effects of chemical· farming and how it degrades the soil· .

Earlier he used to sell· the sugarcane to the sugar· mills but now with organic· farming he finds that even ‘waste products’ have· a use· so he processes the sugar· cane himself , making jaggery for which he has ready customers . He specializes in making jaggery powder which can be· used directly in the tea , and is very popular . Earlier he used to buy· hybrid seed but now he uses traditional seeds which he gets from his own farm and is therefore not dependent· on the market .

His twenty animal· cattle· holding , four buffaloes and some bulls , all of indigenous· breed provide· him with plenty· of cow-dung . He also owns a bullock cart and plough . He manages to sell· the vermicompost that he produces from the sugarcane waste· . Kannan also makes panchgavya and herbal pest· repellants , using plants that are not eaten by cattle· . Kannan also has a herbal clinic in his place· . He has received good· response· to his treatments .

Kannan is an educated man· having graduated in Tamil literature . Being an only child· he was expected to look·after the family plot· . With his enthusiasm· and interest· in agriculture· he is happy· in the farming profession· .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Illuppakkorai – 614 202, Via Ganapathiagraharam, Papanasam Taluka, Tanjore District, Tamil Nadu.

On a five acre plot· of farmland· , Reeta cultivates paddy , vegetables , coconut and sugarcane , with turmeric being the intercrop in the coconut grove . The farm produce· meets the family’s personal requirements . Only the surplus is sold . Reeta says that they regularly get· an income· from the sale of vegetables and other farm produce· . The family alone works on the farm keeping the costs down by engaging extra· help· only when they cannot manage·themselves .

They have· become· organic· farmers since the past· ten years· . Earlier they used chemical· fertilizers and with it one naturally had to also use· pesticides and so on . Finding the fertilizer cost· very high· they switched to organic·farming . They also realised that chemical· farming spoils the soil· which is why you need more and more chemicals each year to give· the same results and this is what makes chemical· farming so costly . Now with the cattle· they own they are able to prepare· panchagavya , do· vermicomposting , make· their own herbal pesticides and so on .

Reeta is involved in more than just farming for sustenance· on her own land· . A school· teacher· , she resigned from her job· and joined her husband in the farming profession· .

Frustrated with the place· women are given in society· and especially the injustices that her daughter had to undergo· on account· of being a girl· she decided to start· a womens’ group· . The women were trained by TANWA a Danish aided programme· for women in agriculture· . She was selected as the farmers’ discussion· group· convenor at the Farmers Training Centre , Sakotai .

Hearing of a women farmers field· training conducted by an NGO· in another village the group· approached the organisation· for a similar training for them also . Training was held for 30 farm women from Iloppakorai village despite a lot· of reservation· from the men· in the village . This proved to be· an enormous confidence· builder for the women . The NGO· – Centre for Ecology and Research with assistance· from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) started an all women farmers club· in the village .

self· help· group· to encourage· the saving habit· was started with Reeta’s encouragement· .

Following the initial hesitation· and reservation· other women also gathered courage· and started more self· help·groups . At present there are 20 such groups with 20 – 25 members in each .

The women farmers club· of Iluppakorai is involved in various· programmes such as:

• Cattle health camps

• National environment· awareness· campaign

• Vermicompost training programme· for solid· waste· management· and organic· farming using local resources

• Coir pith· compost training

• Eco-development training for farm women and raising and maintaining a herbal garden in the backyard

• Training on bio-fertiliser and bio-pesticide productivity for sustainable agriculture·

• Training in coir and coir mat· making

The group· was involved in taking over and protecting a sacred· grove , Illupaithopu of 200 trees which was in a state· of degradation· and disrepair . By the efforts put· in by the women the forest is on the path· towards restoration· . This and other developmental initiatives taken by the women have· enabled a breakthrough in the perspective· of the village society· at large· towards the role· of women in decision· making . Women who till recently could not step· out of their house· are now approaching the women’s group· for assistance· and involvement· in different initiatives .

The All Women Farmers Club led by Reeta was awarded the ‘Women’s Creativity in Rural Life – 2003 award· by the Women’s World Summit Foundation , Switzerland .

(Source: Norma Alvares)


Nasiyanur, Pallivalayam, Erode District – 638 107, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04326-240555

P .  . Subramaniam is a marginal farmer· who practices integrated organic· farming . He keeps

his sheep· in a deep· litter house· . He gets very good· prices for his sheep· . The manure from the deep· litter house· is used to enrich· the soil· and increase· its water· holding capacity· . All his sheep· are of the indigenous·variety; he has carried out all his organic· farming activities and experiments using sheep· manure on his own and is pleased with the results .

(Source: Revathi)


No. 2 Uppukinar Street, Kottur, M. Patnam PO, Pollachi, CBE – 642 114, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04259–2522271

Writes K.S. Raghavan:

have· inherited 6 acres· of coconut plantations from my father· and grandfather . 430 coconut trees of the age· 27 – 30 years· are growing on my farm . On this land· , not a single ounce of chemical· has been utilized since the 1960 s despite the ‘green revolution’ . My grandfather had used considerable quantities of organic· manures during his time· but my father· who planted coconut trees 30 years· ago never used any form· of manure whatsoever . A

flood· irrigation system· had been adopted and coconut yields used to be· , on an average· , 90 nuts per tree· .

In 1993 I took charge· of the farm after my father’s passing away and in 1994 , the region· experienced a severe·deficit of rain· . The well on our land· could support· only an hour· of irrigation at a time· and so I introduced a drip·irrigation system· for the coconut trees in order· to cope· with this water· shortage· . This proved insufficient and following problems in the drip· system· itself I went in for a bore-well , finding water· at around 300 feet . I was able to revert· to basin· irrigation and introduced some organic· inputs . The yield· increased to around 120 nuts per coconut tree· .

Hearing about Bhaskar Save in 1998 I thought I should pay· a visit· to his farm and tried to get· some neighbouring farmers to accompany· me . Since there was no interest· from the others I ended up going alone to Gujarat where I stayed for two· days with Bhaskar Save and learnt about his experiences personally .

Returning from Gujarat and inspired by what I had seen I began paying attention· to mulching , even purchasing coconut waste· from other places for this and also formed trenches between the rows of trees . I persevered with this ‘extra trouble’ every year much to the amusement of farmers around who could see· no sense in my endeavours . An Eriophid mite· epidemic· affected the coconut crop in the state· around that time· resulting in a drop· in my yield· from 120 to about 100 nuts per tree· .

The reading of Masanobu Fukuoka’s ‘One Straw Revolution , ’ ‘The Natural Way of Farming’ and the ‘The Road Back to Nature’ and meetings with our own natural· scientist Nammalvar helped me continue· to learn· and apply the best natural· options to my farm . I have· received yields of 180 and even 200 nuts per tree· from the farm .

In 2001 when I noticed profuse· vegetative growth· and decreased yields I again consulted Bhaskar Save . I decided to reduce· the irrigation by adopting the platform· and trench· irrigation method· . Besides this , two· rows of glyricida plants which have· a green· manure value· were also planted . My yields have· regularly been better than the yields of those using chemicals to promote· and safeguard their crops .

I am convinced about this approach· and my goal· is to move· completely into pure· natural· farming eventually , spoken of by Fukuoka . Since 1998 onwards· the moisture retention capacity· of my soil· has increased enormously and it is full· of earthworms and other microorganisms . All this , in a region· where 6000 acres· of coconut plantations were drying up and dying due to drought !

Mono-cropping and the intensive use· of chemicals that have· destroyed the soil· are the main· culprits . Farmers have· not mulched their land· resulting in a reduced capacity· of the land· to retain moisture and therefore large-scale water· evaporation . Due to inadequate recharge wells also go· dry· .

My hope is that even without irrigation my land· will yield· good· results in the future· and Fukuoka’s approach· will be· proved correct in India too .

(Source: Communication with OFAI)


236/4, Akkarai Kodiveri Post, Kasipalayam (Via), Gobichetti Palayam, Erode District – 638454, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04285 264150

Thangaraju and Banumathi are a couple· from a middle income· family who decided to switch· to organic· farming a few years· ago . They follow· all the standard· organic· practices . They specialize in relay cropping .

(Source: Revathi)


Arachalur village, Erode District, Tamil Nadu.

Mr . Nallasivam has been practicing organic· agriculture· in rice cultivation· for the past· five years· .

(Source: Revathi)


Kalyana Mahal, 18, Venkatadasar Street, Sathyamangalam Town, Erode District – 638 401, Tamil Nadu. Ph. – 04295 220245

Mrs . Seethalakshmi hails from semi· urban area· . She decided to farm and initially used modern farming methods . However over the past· few years· she has switched over to organic· farming and now she is a full- fledged organic· farmer· . The farm has an excellent sugarcane crop mulched with multiple green· manure crops .

(Source: Revathi)


Marappe Gounder is an enthusiastic organic· farmer· doing organic· farming for the last· five years· . He owns four acres· of land· , half the area· being purely under rain· fed conditions . He practices mulching on a large· scale· . The major income· of the farm is from banana and sugarcane . Ha also keeps some cattle· which provide· him with additional income· and organic· inputs .

(Source: M. Revathi)


READ Trust, Paramanandal Village & Post, Chengam Taluk, Tiruvannamalai District- 606 710, Tamil Nadu Cell: 09443019519, Email:

READ Trust is a farmer· information centre . Dhananjayan’s farm is spread· over 3.5 acres· of dry· land· located at the foot· hills of the Jawadhu hills . The main· crops are paddy , groundnut and banana . The fringes of the farm have· been planted with teak and coconut . The leaves of teak trees are regularly lopped to convert· into green·manure using earth· worms . The farm uses panchakavya and herbal repellants and local plant· species such as aadathoda , vitexnegunda , calopropics , neem , pongamia and lantana camara for pest· control· .

The Read Trust shares its knowledge· on organic· farming with interested farmers in the neighbourhood· . It runs a Farmers Information Centre (FIC) in which news letters , pamplets etc . , are displayed for the benefit· of farmers . The Trust also promotes the importance· and use· of biofertilizers like Azospirillum , Rhizobiam etc . , to improve·the soil· conditions as part· of conversion· to organic· farming . Dhananjayan is a district· trainer for self-help groups and individual farmers in Tiruvannamalai District for vermicomposting and other organic· practices .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Kanchikovil, Erode District,Tamil Nadu.

Kumaravel tries to innovate· on his farm , particularly since he has limited water· source· . He combines trash·mulch with live· mulch . (Source: Revathi)


Rajchettyar Thottam, Uppupallam, Kenjanur PO, Sathyamangalam via Erode District – 638 401, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04295 24779

Ravi is growing a variety· of trees on his farm like nelli (gooseberry) , pathimukham (from Kerala , bark used as a coloring agent) , sapota , and guava . His farm looks like a wild· patch· of upcoming· forest . He has put· in place·drip· irrigation , inspite of enough water· in the well . He sells earthworms and vermiwash .

(Source: Ramki Ramakrishnan)


Pulutheri Village, R.T. Malai (PO), Kulithalai (TK), Karur 621 313, Tamil Nadu. Ph: 4323 290666, Cell: 09442190234, Fax: 4312768283, Email: ,

Saraswathi KVK is promoting agriculture· through various· approaches of technical assessment· , refinement· and demonstration· of technology . Its technical team has experts in Agronomy , Horticulture , Plant Protection , Agricultural Extension , Agricultural Engineering , Home Science and Animal Science . It is supported by ICAR , New Delhi .

Their expertise is put· to use· in identifying location· specific sustainable land· use· , training programmes in organic· farming , sustainable agriculture· , and appropriate· rural employment· .

Their trainings are based on practice· .

KVK is a service· provider· for the promotion· of organic· farming , group· certification· assistance· to small· and marginal farmers through ICS – Internal Control System under the scheme· of National Project of Organic farming , Department of Agriculture and Cooperation , Ministry of agriculture· , New Delhi .

(Source: Brochure)


Office: 16, Vanigar Street, Thirupporur 603 110, Kanchipuram Dist., Tamil Nadu. Ph: 044 2744 6369

Residence: 1/123, I.T. Highway, Padur, Kelambakkam 603 103, Kanchipuram Dist., Tamil Nadu. Ph: 044-27474273/ 27446369, Cell: 09443346369, Email:

Contact: R. Ranganathan

In Tamil Nadu , organic· farming trials and experiments started from 1985 . Tede Trust is one of the pioneers in the organic· movement· having built a wide grass-root farmer-cum-NGO net work· in the state· and is part· of LEISA .

Their activities cover:

– Training in organic· farming , permaculture and bio-dynamic agriculture· .

– Campaign against pesticide poisoning.

– Production and marketing of all organic· produce· required for domestic consumption· from honey to vegetables . (Source: Brochure)


No. 4/19, Akila Nagar First Cross, Ganapathy Nagar, South Extension, Mambazhasalai, Thiruvanaikoil, Trichy – 620 005, Tamil Nadu.

Farm: Panickampatty village, Kuliathali Taluk, Karur District, Tamil Nadu. Cell: 09443148224, 099421 67789, Email: /

I am rooted to the village and my native· village is Panickampatti of Karur district· . My father· and mother had no basic education· . But through hard· work· they increased their land· holding from a mere ó acre to 60 acres· and provided us with education· . Out of these 60 acres· I inherited 10.5 acres· as my share· . I used to follow· the agricultural· practices adopted by fellow agriculturists . My experience· with chemical· fertilizers and pesticides was not so encouraging .

Cost of cultivation· increased due to price· escalation of basic inputs , at the same time· there was steady· decline·in the yield· . My see-saw battle· continued with chemical· farming till 1998 . Having strongly felt the need to enhance agriculture· production· and also to do· away with chemicals to save· land· from degradation· and man·from health hazards , I started experiments with natural· ways of farming and organic· farming in 1998 . My baptism· with organic· farming was with the preparation· of vermicompost . Traditionally , even during my father`s time· , we used to compost about 400 to 500 tonnes of farm yard manure . This exposure· proved to be· a stepping stone· for me . Instead of making farm yard manure I opted for vermicomposting .

Methods of vermicomposting at our farm at Panickampatti are:

Under Thatched Shed: Heap and tank· method· .

Under shadows of trees: Heap method· .

Allowing earthworms to grow· and multiply in between rows of plants like sugarcane , banana , etc .

In house: Earthworms in mud· pots .

To get· quality· vermicompost the raw· materials used are partially decomposed cow dung· , farm waste· , municipal waste· , stalks of banana plants , small· quantity· of press mud· , etc .

Other organic· inputs prepared onfarm are vermiwash , panchakavya , herbal pest· repellants , lemon–egg solution·fish· solution· and amrutha karaisal .

All these organic· inputs are being used in our lands . The other organic· methods deployed to enhance soil·quality· and productivity are mulching , live· mulching , etc . To know· the extent· of organic· farming in our farms one may dig· one square feet pit· and easily find· a minimum of 10 to 15 earthworms . Fertigation tank· method· is used to disperse· organic· inputs .

To enhance the efficiency· of Panchagavya the following ingredients are added with primary panchakavya inputs .

Asafetida – To induce· flowering and to avoid· shedding

Eggs of Chick – To increase· mineral content· of Panchakavya

Tricoderma Viridi and Pseudomonas – To check· the spread· of diseases and to create· resistance· .

With the support· of Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) training programmes were conducted in Malaysia and Malaysian farmers were given training on our farm at Panickampatty . I had the privilege· of meeting our former President of India Dr . APJ Abdul Kalam at Delhi in March 2004 . In 2007 , earthworms from Panickampatty farm were taken to Mughul Gardens , Rastrapathi Bhavan , New Delhi to setup· vermicompost beds . More than 4 lakh people· have· visited our farm over these years· for a firsthand exposure· to organic· farming .

Organic farming is popularized by holding exhibitions , practical· demonstrations and through newspaper· articles , radio and television shows .

You are welcome to visit· my farm at any time· to gain· first· hand· experience· on organic· farming .

(Source: N Gopalakrishnan)


39, Thirumanjana Street, Tal: Lalgudi, Dist.-Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu 621601. Ph.: 0431-2543755, Cell: 09842411953

The 3 hectare farm is located in Edaiyatrumangalam , Lalgudi . He is using vermicompost and other organic·farming methods since five years· , before which the farm used chemical· inputs for 10 years· . Rice , sugarcane , banana , coconut are cultivated . Surplus produced is sold alongside educating the consumer· on benefits of organic· foods .

Ilangovan has been a Zilla Parishad Board Member for three· terms since 1996 and has used his position· well to propagate· organic· farming methods within the district· through the panchayat and the Beauty Trust . The trust·works with 45 local associate groups in close· association· with 1000 farmers within Tirichirapalli through 408 village panchayats .


24 Lalgudi Mainroad, Lalgudi – 621 601, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India (Source: Communication with OIP)


#53, Westcar Street, Sinthamani, Pulliyangudi, Taluk Sivagiri, District Thirunallvelli, Tamilnadu. Ph.:04636 233343 Cell: 9443582076

V Antony Samy is farming organically for the past· 19 years· on his 150 acre farm . In 1991 he converted to organic·methods of farming . His first· organic· crop was paddy and later he began to cultivate other crops like sugarcane , fruits , vegetables using organic· practices . Presently he is cultivating sugarcane – 20 acres; lemon – 60 acres; amla – 20 acres· , paddy – 30 acres· . On the rest· of the farm he grows vegetables .

Prior to 1991 , he applied all fertilizers – N P K and micronutrients – to his fields as per recommendations and popular practices . However , the fertility· of the soil· did not show· any improvement· . So he began by introducing the practice· of mulching , and then in time· converted to organic· fully .

He makes jaggery from the sugarcane and uses the byproduct – molasses – for the preparation· of fish· extract· . This is used to improve· nitrogen fixation in the soil· .

During his chemical· farming days , he says , he used to spend· in thousands on synthetic inputs because everything had to be· purchased . But now , nothing comes from outside except diesel , electricity and salt· . He is also saving 40 % water· as compared to previous use· , the crops are drought tolerant and there is less of pest· and disease· incidence and total· self· reliance .

(Source: Tamilarasi)


Vil: Kurumbarai, Post: Polambakkam, Taluka Cheyyur – 603 309, Kancheepuram District,  Tamil Nadu. Cell: 09884756090

The 15 acre farm is in Kurumbarai village . After having farmed chemically for 40 years· he switched to organic·farming a few years· ago . Maize , Ragi , Chili , Sugarcane , peanuts , corn , pulses etc are grown on the farm . He uses sprinkler irrigation for groundnut agriculture· after the harvest of which black· gram and maize are cultivated on the same ground· . Surplus is marketed .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


No. 2, U.V. Saminathan St., Maruthi Nagar, Raja Keelpakam – 600 073, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 044-22270687, Cell: 09840620660

The farm is in Moovalur , P . O . Malliyam in Nagapattinam district· . After farming chemically for 20 years· he switched to organic· farming two· years· ago because the yield· on his farm was going consistently down . With urbanization creeping into rural areas , availability of labour· also was a difficulty· . Coconut , paddy , some vegetables , cotton , sugarcane are cultivated .

Every acre of land· yields 25 bags of paddy , which is sold to the government· department , CTNCSC Civil Supply Corporation . Vermicompost , panchagavya , mulching , farmyard manure , compost are used . Cows on the farm provide· dung· , bore well is used for flooding paddy field· . Paddy and sugarcane crops are interchanged . Paddy and cotton is sown in the proportion· of 2 : 1 , paddy and pulses are sown in the proportion· of 2 : 1 . This is alternated with growing green· manure for one season· . He is part· of a local organisation· of 700 farmers that meets once every three· months to share· farming notes .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


82 / 36 , S . M . E . S .  . Colony , II· Cross , K . K . Nagar (P . O . ) , Tiruchirapalli – 620 021 , Tamil Nadu . Cell: 09443581704

The 4 hectare farm is located in Valanadu of Manapparai Taluka . Raju has been farming organically for the past·two· years· . Paddy and cotton are cultivated using cow dung· compost and he wishes to now experiment with mulch .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Arivagam Trust, 36 Thirumangalam Road, Santhaipettai, Lalgudi – 621 601, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0431-6541986, Cell: 09943018554, Email:, Web:

A . Dhanraj’s 5 acre farm is located at Kovilady in Tiruraiyaru . He has been farming organically for the past· 25 years· cultivating paddy , banana and growing green· vegetables for home· consumption· . Some vegetables are sold to friends at cost· . Panchagavya , green· manure , organic· pesticides are prepared from ‘bitter leaves’ and used on farm . He also uses Cyanobacteria . Water is sourced through channels from river· Kaveri .

ARIVAGAM TRUST has been working on organic· farming issues for the past· five years· .

They are linked to 15 NGO· groups and 250 women groups . They work· directly with 2500 farmers who are being slowly converted to organic· methods . These methods are being introduced for paddy , banana , vegetables and herbals . Their approach· is through trainings and advocacy . Some experiments in coordination with University of Bharadhidhasan , Trichy on Cyanobacteria in the vegetable· gardens have· yielded very good· results .

Contact Person: A. Dhanaraj, Project Director.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Vil. & Post Vaipoor, Tal. & Dist. Tiruvanamalai – 606 774, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04175-244791, Cell: 09787179096

The 9 acre farm is located at Vaipoor . He has been farming organically since 1998 before which he practiced chemical· farming for 20 years· . He grows 3 acres· paddy , 2 acres· sorghum , 4 acres· sugarcane and vegetables for home· consumption· on 5 cents of land· . Produce is sold to co-operatives and the Pasumai Angadi Green House in Erode . This has been set up by

member farmers throughcontributory payment· . He uses panchagavya , pusivariti (organic pesticide) , cow dung· , mulch , green· manure , sanapai on the farm . When panchagavya is applied , paddy is 30 % larger in size· and there is 6 – 7 times increase· in yield· .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


250 Suneisandai , Taluka Senumpatti Bhavani, Dist.-Erode – 638 504, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0425-8258527.

The 5 acre land· is located at Suneisandai . He has been farming organically since 1985 and converted fully in 1992 before which he practiced chemical· farming for 30 years· . Chili , papaya , pumpkin , local vegetables , banana , onion , tomato , brinjal and beans are grown on his farm . The vegetables and fruits are marketed through associations , banks and offices .

Mulching, compost, man-pullu (earthworm) vermicompost and panchagavya are used.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Uppupalayam, Kuppon (PO), Tal. Aravakkurchi, Dist. Karur, Tamil Nadu. Cell: 09994523911.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Kanakilianallur, Lalkudi Tal., Trichy Dist., Tamil Nadu. Ph.:0431- 2651143

Narayananan Swami has very recently started experimenting with organic· farming . His farm is located in Kanakilianallur , Lalkudi . He grows paddy , bajra , ragi , chilli and cotton . He uses cow dung· , panchagavya , EM and fruit· toddy mixtures for applying on his farm .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Venkataswamy Illam, Kethanur – 641 671, Tal. Tiruppur, Dist. Coimbatore, Tamil Nanu. Ph: 04225 279220/ 279241, Cell: 09843059241, 09943979791

Prakash Paper Mills, Pattam, Pottapalayam – 630 611, Sivagangai District, Tamil Nadu. Ph. 0452 2465744, 3092767.

The 10 acres· of Palaniswamy’s farm are devoted to organic· vegetable· farming . He has been farming organically for the past· two· years· before which he practiced chemical· farming for 34 years· . He has a variety· of vegetables that are supplied to the market . He practices raised bed farming and supplies water· for just 15 – 20 minutes per day . Pheromone and light· traps are used for keeping away insects . Azolla is fed to the cows· and the water· is used for the  vegetable· plantations . Panchagavya is the main· spray used . He uses fish· solution· for his vegetable·garden . Old fermented butter milk is kept for 7 days and then sprayed on plants to stimulate· higher flowering . This directly translates into extra· vegetable· produce· .

Vermicompost is used on the whole· farm . He produces bitter· gourd , snake· gourd , ridge· gourd , ladyfingers , tomato , gherkins , beans and drum sticks . The seeds are supplied to the local agricultural· university .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Pachaimalai D.M.O.S. Trust, 154/54A, Thiyagi Singaravelar Street, Thuraiyur Post & Taluk, Trichy District – 621 010, Tamil Nadu. Ph: 04327 222426, Cell: 099432 34363

Pariyaswamy is a practicing Sidha doctor· . He has been working on issues related to organic· farming since 2007 . He grows his own medicines and herbs . The two· acre farm has dozens of varieties of herbs and medicinal plants from which he makes medicines . He also has an herbal research· unit· and is involved in herbal cultivation· , marketing of herbals , health exhibition and awareness· programmes . He specialises in treatment· of chronic diseases like asthma , kidney stone· , peptic ulcer· , diabetes , skin· and urinary infection· .

(Source:Communication with OIP)


Environmental Protection Division, Flat 15/16, 1 Pinjala Subramaniam Street, T Nagar, Chennai 600 017, Ph: 044- 421 27623, Email:, Web:

‘Hand in Hand’ has developed an innovative enterprise opportunity for rural women through supporting conversion· of farm , garden and domestic waste· into rich· , organic· manure using the vermicompost process· . Two day training is given along with a 90 % soft· loan to initiate· them into self· reliance through vermicomposting . These units are able to generate· as much as 2 tons of compost per month , fetching a market price· of Rs . 3000 to 4000 per ton . There is a facility· to market the end· product· under the collective banner of V-Compost , thus meeting vital ends of managing degradable waste· , self· employment· and providing compost for farms .

(Source: Brochure)


No. 104, Karuneegar – Street, Kalasapakkam-Post, Polur Taluka, Tiruvannamalai – 606 751, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04181 – 241402

(Source: OFAI)


Town Centre: 206, Cherry St, Puducherry -1

Sales Centre: 186 Needarajappaiyer St. Puducherry -1, Ph: 2337478, Email:, Web:

The centre offers organic· foods along with natural· healing treatments and health counseling .

(Source: Brochure)


Agriculturist, Layco’s Nature Food Shop, 71/1516, Vanakkara Street, M. Chavady, Thanjavur – 613 001, Tamil Nadu. Ph: 04362-239788/272417, Cell: 09443139788, Email:

(Source: Brochure)


87-B, Lloyds Road, Chennai 600 014, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 044-28115768, Fax: 044-28115458

Contact: S.Krishnan, CEO & Research Co-ordinator


302, Hospital Road, Kavin 638 455, Erode Dist., Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04256 240272 to 240274, Res: 04256 240275, Fax: 04256 240271

Contact: A.R. Shanmuha Sundaram



20, Giriappa Road, Chennai – 600 017, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 044-8153377, Email:, Web:

Citizens’ Waterways Monitoring Programme

(Source OFAI)


538, Rani Vaikkal Street, Thanjavur 613 009, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04362 221410, Fax: 04362 220355

Contact: V. Palaniappan, Honorary Secretary

(Source: OFAI)


Grace, Auroville 605 101, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0413-2622044, Res: 0413-2623391, Email:,

Res: Auroannam Farm (Opp . Auro Orchard) Contact: Margarita Correa , Executive/Manager of Research & Demo Farm , technical expert· in EM Technology , organic· farming advisory , consultant· on vermitechnology & bio pest·control· .

Auro Annam promotes organic· farming , provides quality· organically grown foods at fair· prices , promotes EM technology for agriculture· , for solid· waste· and waste· water· management· , and for environmental rehabilitation .

Auro Annam:

– Is a unit· of Auroville Exports Trust , Auroville Foundation .

– Is a member of the Bio-dynamic Association of India (BDAI).

– Is a member of Asia Pacific Natural Agriculture Netowrk (APNAN) and an authorized dealer· of EM .

(Source: OFAI)


Keela Othiyathur, Kutaur PO 611105, Kilvalur Taluk, Nagapattinam Dist, Tamil Nadu. Cell: 09443587352, 09345484315

(Source: OFAI)


Development Activities for Rural People, Plot no 23, EB Colony, K Pudur, Madurai – 625 007, Tamil Nadu.

Networking , training and creating model· organic· farms .

(Source: Nammalwar)


Flower Cottage, Kotamavilai, Vanniyur PO, Kuzhituhurai – 629 163, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu.

The trust· is raising crops such as paddy , coconut , rubber· and vegetables using organic· manure . It is also engaged in education· , documentation and networking .

(Source: Nammalwar)


Bharatha Seva Trust, Avvaiyar Eco Farm & Training Centre, PO Box 72, Paulo Freire

Village, Pudukkottai – 622 001, Tamil Nadu.

(Residence: Avvai Farm, Vadavalam Post, Pudukottai – 622 004, Tamil Nadu.)

Prithivirajan trains NGOs on extension· activities for farmers . He also manages a model· organic· farm . He has translated Erik van der Werf’s book· , Ecological Farming Principles into Tamil . (Source: OIP archives)


Kaattaavilai, Kadayal, Kaliyal – 629 101, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu.

Contact person: T. Francis

The Resource Centre maintains a kitchen· garden on about 25 cents of land· with crops such as brinjal , chilies , okra , cow pea , groundnut , sweet· potato , amaranthus , gourds etc . Only organic· manures like farmyard manure , green· manure (mainly from glyricidia trees) , neem cake· , etc . are used . Pests are controlled using neem oil , garlic , custard apple leaves , cow’s urine , etc .

The results are encouraging and the yield· is above average· .

The Centre also raises fruit· crops like pineapple , cherry· , pomegranate , mango , plantain , jack , citrus , etc . with coconuts on 50 cents of land· as mixed crops . Tapioca is grown on about half an acre . Mulching with coconut husk· is practiced .

small· plot· of medicinal herbs with several varieties is cultivated in the new office· campus at Kaattavilai , Kadayal .

We are popularising vegetable· home· gardening among housewives , formed into self-help groups , in about 20 villages in Melpuram area· , Kanyakumari District . We are also taking steps to popularise vermiculture and mushroom cultivation· among farmers and housewives here .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


45, T.P.M. Nagar, Virattipathu, Madurai – 625 010, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0452 2380082, Fax (pp): 0452 2604765 / 2300425, Email:

Contact person: P.Saravaran

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Chief Training Organiser, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Gandhigram Rural Institute – Gandhigram – 624 302, Dindigul District, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0451 2452168 Fax: 0451 2454466.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra has used NADEP compost for fruit· trees , farm forestry and for paddy .

Dr . Gopal has also introduced organic· farming in Anna District through training and demonstration· sessions , lectures and meetings .

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Gumlapuram, Thally – 635 118, Tamil Nadu.

Contact person: Dr T.S. Ananthu

Interests are research· and documentation of organic· and ecologically based agriculture· .

(Source: OIP archives)


Founder President – Foundation for Organic Agriculture / Principal Scientist (Retd.)

T . N .  . S . F / Agricultural Consultant , Foundation For Organic Agriculture , # 28 / B 28 ,

Alagesan Nagar, Chengalpattu – 603 001. Ph.: 04114 226222, Cell: 09443331393, Email: / /

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Plot 98, Baaz Nagar, 3/621, east Coast Road, Palavakkam, Chennai – 600 041, Tamil Nadu. Cell: 09384898358, Email: Web:,

Contact: Dr. Sultan Ahmed Ismail

The earthworm is the pulse· of the soil; healthier the pulse· healthier the soil· .

Ecoscience Research Foundation (ERF) is a trust· initiated by Dr . Sultan Ahmed Ismail . Dr . Ismail has dedicated his life’s work· to the study· of earthworms and its application· to agriculture· . A crucial component· of organic·farming practice· is vermicompost . The magic· begins when bio-waste , subsoil microbes and the earthworms come· together under ideal conditions of temperature and moisture .

ERF is dedicated to improve· the quality· of life· on earth· by being friends of the earth· . It believes that life· can be·made better by being friendlier to the environment· one lives in . This objective is met with research· , awareness·programmes and the quest for newer methods to conserve· the earth’s precious resources . Dr . Sultan Ismail has been centrally involved with the Organic Farming Movement in India since its very beginning .

ERF offers services related to organic· farming in the following areas: demonstration· and assistance· with land·preparation· , understanding of soil· as a living environment· , waste· management· , pest· repellants , liquid· foliar sprays , water· management· , compost preparation· , local biomass and its optimum utilization· , post· harvest storage· , animal· husbandry , ayurvedic medicines for ailments in cattle· etc . and of course· the A to Z of vermicomposting .

The ERF website is a rich· resource· for understanding the world of earthworms , basics in vermicomposting and has a section· devoted to FAQs on earthworms .

(Source: Communication with OIP )


H. No. 92, Rajaji Street, Chingalpet 603 001, Dist. Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 044 27423902. Cell: 09382337818.

P . B . Mukandan has an organic· farm and keeps a dairy of 40 indigenous· breed cows· . Five years· ago , Mukandan made a trip· all the way· from Tamil Nadu to Rajasthan in search· of indigenous· , hardy· cow breeds to start· his dairy farm . On his first· trip· he collected 11 Tharparkar breed cattle· from Bassi and Durgapur Gaushalas in Rajasthan . Subsequently , some locals helped him to scout· remote· villages in Jaisalmer and add· 30 more to his collection· . He has successfully established his dairy by selective breeding of these indigenous· cows· . He says it is ideal to introduce· a fresh· bull into the group· after every three· years; otherwise inbreeding causes deficient quality· off-springs . He has recently obtained a Tharparkar bull from a line· that has recorded 3200 liters of milk per lactation . He sources his fodder from Sundararaman’s organic· farm in Satyamangalam . The feed consists of ragi , makha , black· and red· gram kernels/powder . Groundnut cake· and boiled bran are procured only from known sources to maintain· the quality· of milk and health of cattle· . The cows· average· eight to ten liters of milk per day per lactating season· .

The milk is sold locally at Rs . 20 per litre and he claims , the fresh· milk (unprocessed) has a shelf· life· of 15 days in the refrigerator . There is no dearth· of customers , who come· every evening to his home· to buy· milk and at the same time· pickup other fruit· and vegetables that he grows organically . His expense· per cow comes to about Rs . 50 – 60 per cattle· head· per day .

He is presently trying to introduce· an alternate feeding process· whereby the cost· will further be· reduced to Rs .15 to 20 per day . He selected Tharparkar variety· because it is a country· animal· and easiest to maintain· .

On his organic· farm he grows fresh· vegetables , local paddy and sugarcane . His coconut palms yield· 200 to 300 nuts per season· . His technique of growing groundnut has been studied by the Agriculture University of Tamil Nadu , and has also been recognised with an award· for innovation· . This season· , instead of sending the sugarcane to the mills , he extracted fresh· juice on the farm mixed with lime and ginger . The packaged drink· is being sold in Chennai very successfully- fetching him premium returns .

His views on organic· outlets are worth noting . He believes that growing of vegetables organically along side· dairy is worth exploring by farmers as consumers want· fresh· vegetables everyday· . This can generate· ready cash income· everyday· for the farmer· . While most organic· outlets only stock· grain· and processed/ semi· processed products that consumers’ do· not necessarily shop for on a daily basis· .

He believes that a little· bit· of planned and organized hard· work· in the initial stages on a farm can make· the further running of the farm smooth· . For example· he has prepared a raised bed for vegetable· growing . A plot· of 8 ’x 70 ’ with radish and beans gives him an income· of Rs . 8 , 000 sowing . His distress· over the plight· of his fellow farmers who are in debt· or struggling to make· ends meet· comes across very clearly in his articulation· on how farmers are either misinformed or mislead by the proponents of synthetic farming , official· agencies , pesticide and fertiliser industry· etc . while others are plain· lazy· .

Even mechanisation in agriculture· attracts his dissent· , and he says , ‘A farmer· only needs small· indigenous· tools for his practices and not huge machines that are promoted as indispensable by manufacturers . ’ His faith· in the bullock being a farmer’s best companion is undeterred . He says , only Gandhi and the bullock have· understood , served and worked in the interest· of the farmer· .

(Source: Tele-interview with OIP)


Valparai – 642 127, Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 04253 235301, 235303, 235229, Fax: 235302, Email:,, Web:

The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI) established a tea

experimentation station· at Devarshola in the Nilgiris in 1926 . Over the years· it has grown into a premier·organization· for tea research· with regional centres at Coonoor , Gudalar , Meppadi , Munnar , Vandiperiyar and Koppa . A Krishi Vigyan Kendra was established by them with support· from ICAR in 1983 . The tea districts of Karnataka too receive· support· from UPASI Tea Research Foundation .

UPASI organized two· national· meetings in the 1990 s’on organic· farming during the initial stages of the Organic Farming Movement in India .

UPASI has brought out guidelines for organic· tea cultivation· . Their website is a rich· resource· for information on the cultivation· of tea .

(Source: Website and OIP Archives)


Ariynur Village, Maduran thagam, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Aussi Project, Pottal, Kallidai Kurichi PO – 627 416, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: ARISE)


Village Action Group, Isaiambalam, Auroville – 605 101, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: ARISE)


Thiruchitrambalam & PO, Via Auroville, Vanur Taluka – 605 101, Tamil Nadu. (Source: ARISE)


Kurinji Organic Foods (India), Periyakulam Road, Gennguvarpatti – 624 203, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: ARISE)


Mahatma Karunai Illam, Nilakottai, Dindigul, Anna District – 624 208, Tamil Nadu.

(Orphanage , 8 acres· , interested in OF)

(Source: ARISE)


Secretary, Vidiyal (Centre for Social Interaction), Kariappanpatti, Rasingapuram PO – 626 528, Madurai District, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: ARISE)


Athreya, 2 23rd East Street, Kamaraj Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai – 600 041 Tamil Nadu.

(Source: Communication with OIP)


PO T M Mangalam, Polur Taluka – 606 908, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: ARISE)


Service Farm, Auroville – 605 101, Tamil Nadu. Ph.: 0413 2671120 (Source:

Communication with OIP)


ARCOD (Association for Rural Community Development), Royakottai Dharamapuri District – 635 116, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: ARISE)


Pondicherry Nature Society, 7, Sorna Nagar, Arian Kuppam, Pondicherry – 605 007. Ph.: 0413 2600820

(Source: Communication with OIP)


Pattiraipallam, Kachirayapalayam, Chinna salem, V.R.P Dt.

(Source: M. Karthikeyan)


Integrated Village Development Programme , Anjatti , Thenkanikottai , Tamil Nadu . NGO· involved in soil· and water· conservation· . (Source: M . Karthikeyan)


Correspondent, Vivekalaya School, 1560, Trichy Road, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

(Source: M. Karthikeyan)


Earth Trust,

GCP Village, Dodabetta Sub PO, Ootacamund – 643 002, Tamil Nadu. (Source: Nammalvar)


Tamil Nadu has 220 organic· farmers registered through 20 farmers’ local groups . Keystone Foundation and Covenant Centre for Development are the PGS Organic Facilitation Councils with 13 and seven grassroots level·groups respectively .

Details of these local groups and their organic· produce· is posted at the

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