As per the decisions of the Kanjikuzhy Grama Panchayat, Alappuzha, farming has been made compulsory for all the residents of the village, according to reports by The Times of India. This scheme will be executed under the Haritha Keralam Mission.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, M G Raju, the President of the Gram Panchayat said, “This gram panchayat has been focussing on organic farming since 1995. We make a specific plan for each year for the 18 wards under the Panchayat, this year we have decided on this. Around 8600 families would be participating in this project, and the response as of now has been very positive and cooperative.”
The panchayat has developed saplings of Rs 1 crore with the help of Kudumbashree workers under this program. Each family is expected to conduct three term farming.
The panchayat will give 50 seedlings of five vegetables like; snake gourd, bitter gourd, ladies finger, peas and ribbed gourd to each family. The tenure of one vegetable cultivation is four months.
“If the family is unable to carry out the cultivation, then they can hand over the land to the Panchayat. Kudumbashree workers would be roped in for the cultivation of those lands. The harvested crops will be given to the family concerned,” Raju added.
The panchayat has appointed men in each ward of the Panchayat to look out for the execution of the scheme and to clarify any queries regarding the same. The families would be handed over 50 seedlings every four months, and they are expected to collect manure and other necessary equipment for the farming.
The Panchayat authorities aim at complete self-sufficiency at vegetable production in the village through this scheme.
The Logical Indian had contacted Kavitha Kuruganti, an eminent farmer activist and the convenor for Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), a nationwide alliance of organisations working to improve farm livelihoods, asking about her opinion on this step taken by the Kerala Panchayat.
She said, “I think it is a fantastic move because one is talking about pushing into place support systems at the grassroots level for the people. Hopefully, it is not just policing on the part of the Panchayat but involves constructive feedbacks and advice to carry out organic farming.”
“Women farmers will also be benefitted by this step as they would be encouraged for collective cultivation. It is a win-win situation for landless farmers as well as who can cultivate in lands when absentee land-owners hand over theirs to the Panchayat,” she opined.
“Fallow lands would be used for cultivation thus solving the problem of unemployment in the rural areas to some extent. Also, the stress on organic farming is appreciable as that would only benefit the environment,” she added.
Replying to the query if this scheme will involve any fear of corruption or bureaucratic usurpation of land, Kavitha said, “Since the Panchayat is not asking for the transfer of ownership of the land, in this case, I do not think there would be any misuse of the scheme. The scheme only wishes to ensure that cultivation takes place all the year round and no land is left uncultivated.”
The Logical Indian community appreciates the move adopted by the Kanjikuzhy Grama Panchayat. This step not only focusses on organic farming but also attempts to put the fallow lands to use, thus trying to tackle the problem of unemployment in the village. Through this gesture the common man will get a taste of the labour that a farmer puts in while growing crops and thus one expects, the importance of the farmer will be realised in a country that is mostly based on agriculture.