Work Fields

Agriculture, Soil and Food Security


Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

During the last years, farmers in the western Ghat region of the Idukki district were mainly cultivating cash crops such as pepper, cardamon, coffee or tea. As a result, the people were depending on cereal, pulses and vegetable imports from Tamil Nadu which are expensive and often grown by using chemical pesticides and manures. Over the past years, VOSARD has been making an attempt to motivate the farmers to produce traditional crops like vegetables, tapioca, yam, papaya or bananas, along with the main cash crops. We hope to achieve a stable and secure food supply for the people by encouraging more and more farmers to start mixed farming. Those farming methods are a solution for small farmers to overcome low productivity and resultung from that, a low agriculture income.
As a first step, farmers' clubs were formed. 825 small and marginalized farmers from Vandanmedu have been organized into 60 farmer groups and integrated into four cluster associations and one federation. The institutional arrangements are simple and within the reach of the rural farmers.
Trainings on organic farming, increasing earnings and exposure visits to model farms are conducted periodically to enhance the capacities of the farmers. The construction of biogas plants and Vermi compost units are carried out in the operational area to further spread organic farming.
After completion of a project, we measured an increased loan amount for SHG members, an increased awareness and practice of organic farming. The use of chemical fertilizers & pesticides has reduced by 50% to 90% and through cow-, goat-, biogas- and vermi-compost units, the production of bio-manure increased significantly.



When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.

Native American Saying


Promotion of non-conventional Energy Sources

Environmental protection is inevitable to reduce the negative effects of modernization. In this context, we make all efforts to promote non-conventional energy sources like biogas and solar energy plants. Sensitization and training programs are being organised to motivate people to adopt these measures. Biogas plants are constructed using the "ferro-cement-technology", which is cost effective and long lasting. To set a good example, we installed a solar power system for our office to withstand persistent power failures.

Soil and Water Conservation Measures

Another aim of VOSARD is to improve the rural people's quality of life through sustainable management of the natural resources and addressing the negative effects of environmental degradation. A major component is enabling them to conserve soil & water and facilitating them to mobilize local resources. Measures to protect agricultural soil from erosion increase its productivity so that farmland is not lost anymore and the farmers can supply their families. This is necessary due to the steep hills of the Idukki District.


Success Story

Organic Methods for More Profit

"I am Biju, a small farmer residing in the Vandanmedu Panchayat. I used to culticate vegetables, tubers, banana and so on in leased land. Since the beginning I used to apply a lot of chemical manures and pesticides in the farm for pest control and increasing production. Three years back, the project staff of VOSARD directed me to attend awareness programs and trainings in organic farming. During the exposure visits to model farms I could learn innovative biological methods for pest control and methods in organic farming. VOSARD also supported me for a dairy unit and the construction of a biogas plant. Now I cultivate vegetables and other food crops organically. After adopting new methods, the production increased and I could also reduce my expences. Being produced organically, the product has good demand in the local market. I have learned and experienced the preparation and application of bio-manures and pesticides and motivate others to do so as well."



Projects




Integrated Watershed Project