Even with awareness about the benefits of organic farming, farmers in India feel trapped in conventional chemical farming methods. They have to sacrifice two years of income to transition their fields to Organic. A few young men made a determination to help the farmers make the transition. Supporting each other’s enthusiasms they have created a model.
Indians love greens that come in a variety of forms. Chennai alone uses a million bundles of greens, called Keerai in Tamil. The young men decided to grow Keerai which grows in just a couple of weeks. They innovated by switching to native methods of using cow dung as both a fertilizer and pest controller. They sold produce door to door, educating city folk about organic produce. Eventually they were able to popularize it enough to sell five thousand bundles a day.
The Hindu newspaper ran a article about the Nallakeerai group last year and again on the “green brigade” two days back. The person, Jagannathan, who started the project to help farmers turn organic estimates that a single village of couple of hundred small farmers spends 2 million Rupees to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides. His goal is to save farmers a majority of this recurring cost by switching to native agricultural system tied closely to cattle rearing.
He is now off to create a network of growers and buyers to make organic produce more competitive compared to traditional produce.