A group of youngsters is igniting an organic farming revolution transforming the lives of local farmers in a remote village in Idukki in Kerala. The group led by a mechanical engineer and a physics graduate has been empowering the farmers to take up organic farming and market their produce directly to customers through an online platform.
Idukki native Annu Sunny, 31, and Raipur native Bhavesh Sawariya, 31, who met at a fellowship programme in 2015, decided to launch the movement as they shared a deep concern for the environment and well-being of the local farming community. As Annu Sunny hailed from Nedumkandam where she grew up seeing the struggles of small time farmers, the duo decided to start their ground level work at Makkuvalli village situated inside forest in Nedumkandam.
“We started conducting training sessions on organic farming techniques and educating the farmers about the benefits of chemical-free cultivation while promoting sustainable agricultural practices. We have been able to empower around 85 farmers to follow zero chemical residue farming,” Annu Sunny told “Open Digest“.
Soon six other youngsters of the locality- Rinu, Sonu, Anna, Dinny, Dolly and Deepu joined the movement to take it to a next level. The group didn’t stop at educating the farmers, they launched an e-commerce portal graamya.in to sell the locally grown organic produce of the farmers. “We source the produce from the farmers and sell them directly to the consumers ensuring fair price for the farmers,” said Annu Sunny.
The group is extremely happy that their movement has started to yield positive results with farmers enthusiastically embracing organic farming recognising its positive impact on health and environment. Anu recollects that though their movement was initially launched at creating sustainable tourism models, they decided to take up natural farming as a mission after realising the harsh truth of the huge quantity of chemicals that go into farming of cardamom and other spices in the hilly ranges of Idukki.
“We are getting tremendous support from organisations like Organic Farming Association of India,” she said. Apart from supporting the farmers through Graamya, the group has also launched a natural tea farming venture called Palartea which follows the natural process of tea making.