CIKS provided training on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of paddy cultivation to the farmers in Gurmitkal taluk of Yadhgir district of Karnataka working under the guidance of Vrutti Livelihood Services, Bangalore. The second session of the training programme was conducted on 7 th and 8 th March 2013. A total of 45 farmers from three villages participated in this training programme. The farmers were trained on non-chemical pest management techniques, preparation and use of biopesticides and a detailed discussion on SRI cultivation technology took place. Following this training programme, a group of 10 farmers and two staff members from Gurmitkal taluk visited CIKS Sirkazhi field area on
28 th and 29 th March. Demonstrations of SRI nursery preparation, weeding using cono weeder, transplanting of seedlings and use of transplanter were done. The participants were also taken to visit the community vermicompost unit in Allivilagam, organic farm in Ilayamadhukoodam, integrated farm in Nemmeli and Neem seed processing unit in Agani. Staff members of CIKS served as resource persons.
FARMERS' FIELD SCHOOL (FFS) – ATMA PROGRAMME
This programme on Farmers' Field School (FFS) under the ATMA programme is being implemented in Bhuvanagiri block of Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. In Bhuvanagiri block, the third and forth sessions of the training programme was conducted on 13 th and 20 th March, respectively. The participants were trained on various topics like post harvest techniques in paddy, drying and storage, conversion to rice, marketing strategies etc. Demonstrations of vermicompost production and biopesticide preparation were also done. A total of 50 farmers from two villages participated in these training sessions.
EXHIBITION AT CHENNAI
We had organised an exhibition with support from NABARD on 26 th and 27 th February at C. P. Art Centre in Chennai. It was inaugurated by Ms. Lalitha Venkatesan, Chief General Manager, NABARD on 26 th February. Various CIKS team members from Chennai and Sirkazhi and representatives of over fourteen field area agencies participated in the exhibition.
TRAINING FOR FARMERS OF KARNATAKA DISTRICT
CIKS as a resource agency provided training on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of paddy cultivation to the farmers in Gurmitkal taluk of Yadhgir district of Karnataka under the guidance of Vrutti Livelihood Services, Bangalore. A two day training programme was organized between 11 th and 12 th January in Madapalli and Sindhgir villages. This on-farm training was organized by Youth for Action organization. A total of 28 farmers participated in this training programme. Staff members of CIKS, farmers and members of Sirkazhi Organic Farmers' Association served as resource persons.
REVITALISING RAINFED AGRICULTURE (RRA) TRAINING WORKSHOP
Between 10th and 14th December, a five days training programme was organized by the RRA network for providing training on various technical aspects to the network members who are implementing the comprehensive pilot programmes in various parts of India. The meeting was held in the campus of Bharat Agro Industry Federation, Tiptur, Karnataka. Four persons from CIKS participated in the meeting namely, Dr. G. Venkatraman, Dr. Vijay Subbiah,
Mr. A. V. Balasubramanian and Mr. T. Ragul. The training modules were presented and shared by A. V. Balasubramanian and G. Venkatraman on various aspects of the seed systems for rainfed areas and presentations were made on “Agro biodiversity and its importance, situation analysis with respect to seed systems in rainfed areas and towards a robust seed system for rainfed areas”.
TRAINING FOR ANDHRA FARMERS
A group of 22 women farmers accompanied by two staff members from Farmers Training Centre, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh visited CIKS Sirkazhi field station on 4 th and 5 th December. They were trained on various topics pertaining to organic farming technologies including non-chemical methods of pest and disease management, organic package of practices etc. They were also taken to visit the community vermicompost unit in Allivilagam, Organic farm in Ilaiyamadhukoodam, Value addition unit in Pagasalai and Integrated farm in Nemmeli. They had interaction with the members of the womens' groups and farmers regarding organic farming technologies and practices. Staff members A. Rajesh and E. Jabez John served as facilitators of this programme.
VISITORS FROM SRILANKA
A group of 28 farmers, NGO staff members and Government officials from Srilanka visited CIKS between 3 rd – 8 th December 2012 for training and exposure on organic farming and related technologies. Their visit was coordinated by the Sewa Lanka Foundation, Srilanka. We organized their programme at the request of Welthungerhilfe agency in New Delhi. They were taken to the CIKS organic research farm and provided with series of trainings at our Technology Resource Centre in Sukkankollai village. Following this, they were taken to the CIKS Sirkazhi field station and visited CIKS organic farm in Agani, Community vermicompost unit in Allivilagam, Community neem seed processing unit in Agani, Value addition unit in Pagasalai, Integrated farm in Nemmeli, Seed processing unit in Mullaiyampattinam etc. They had discussions with the members of Sirkazhi Organic Farmers' Association regarding their marketing efforts. Staff members K. Parimala and A. Rajesh served as facilitators of this programme.
PARTICIPATION IN EXHIBITION AT HYDERABAD
As a part of the eleventh Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held at Hi Tech City in Hyderabad, an exhibition was organized by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), New Delhi between 1 st and 19 th October. CIKS and Sirkazhi Organic Farmers' Association participated in the exhibition and put up a stall displaying publications, audio visuals, organic products and value added products. More than 300 people visited our stall.
DST GROUP MONITORING WORKSHOP AT CHENNAI
CIKS hosted the Group Monitoring Workshop of the Seed Division of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) at Chennai between 14th and 16th December, 2011. About 20 Scientists who were being supported by various projects under the division participated in the meeting and made presentations regarding progress of their work. Also present were members of the Expert Committee consisting of
Dr. Usha Dixit of the DST, Delhi, Dr. M. N. B. Nair of the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions, Bengaluru, Dr. Swapan Garain of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Dr. Jose Kallarackal of Kerala Forest Research Institute, Thrissur and
Dr. K. Vijayalakshmi of CIKS, Chennai. On 15th December evening the participants went on a visit to the campus of A. M. M. Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre at Chennai which is one of the groups receiving Core support from the DST. On 16th December, the participants and the expert committee members went on a field trip to the CIKS Experimental farm and Technology Resource Centre in Kancheepuram district. The participants received feedback from the DST officials and members of the Expert Committee regarding the progress of their activities.
A. V. Balasubramanian participated in the Intrnational workshop organised by HIVOS and OXFAM-NOVIB Netherlands on “Agricultural Biodiversity, Small Holder Farmers and Resilience” between 10th - 12th October, which was hosted by Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association, Kenya.The meeting was held at the Sustainable Agricultural Community Development Programme (SACDEP) Training and Conference Facility located in Thika at the outskirts of Nairobi. The meeting was attended by delegates from Africa, Asia and Europe and it included donors, civil society organizations, researchers and representatives of international bodies among others.
IFOAM ORGANIC WORLD CONGRESS
The 17th IFOAM Organic World Congress was held in Korea between 26th September and 1st October. The preconference was held between 26th and 28th September at Heuksalim Research Institute, Geosan County. On 26th September, in the pre conference on the theme of seeds, CIKS Research Director K. Vijayalakshmi made a presentation on “System of Rice Intensification as a Tool for Indigenous Seed Conservation and Organic Seed Production”. The conference was held between
29th September and 1st October at Namyangju Culture and Sports Centre, Paldang Region, Geonggi Province, Korea. More than 3000 participants from 130 countries participated in this conference. On behalf of CIKS, Research Director,
K. Vijayalakshmi, Programme Directors Subhashini Sridhar and K. Subramanian participated in this conference and also made presentations on “Community Vermicompost Units as a Tool for Promoting Organic Farming and Women Empowerment” and “Impact Analysis of an Organic Farming Project in Tamil Nadu, India”. During the event the participants were taken for a bio tour around Geosan – Biofarm, Geosan Farmer Cooperative, Heuksalim Research Institute etc.
VISITOR FROM THE FORD FOUNDATION
On 12th and 13th September, Dr. Vasant Saberwal, Programme Officer, Ford Foundation visited CIKS to know about the Ford Foundation funded project entitled “Strengthening Sustainable Agriculture for Improving Rural Livelihoods: A Project with Focus on Dryland Agriculture”. On 12th September, he made a trip to the Javadhu hills of Thiruvannamalai district. He had a meeting with various farmers and sangam leaders. He also visited the experimental plots where trials of various natural fertilizers on different millets are being carried out and also the millet processing unit that was under construction. On 13th September, he visited the CIKS Technology Resource Centre at Kancheepuram district. The meeting was held in which various technical members of the CIKS team participated along with the senior team members of SOFA (Sirkazhi Organic Farmers Association) as well as members of various women’s self help group working with CIKS in Nagapattinam district. Presentations were made on various aspects of the work by members of the Self help groups, SOFA team and CIKS team members.
VISIT OF DELEGATES FROM SOUTH AFRICA
On 14th September, a delegation from the Northern Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa visited CIKS. The delegation consisted of Ms. Sylvia Elizabeth Lucas, MEC for Environmental Affairs and Nature Conservation,
Ms. Pauline Palesa Victory Mocumi, Support to Ministry, Mr. Gothatamang Norman Shushu, MEC for Agriculture, Land and Rural Development,
Ms Ntombizanele Lovedelia Mogorosi, Support to Ministry and they were accompanied by Mr Basu from HeyMath. They visited the CIKS experimental farm at Sukkankollai. Presentation on CIKS activities on sustainable agriculture was made which was followed by a detailed round of discussion and visit around the farm.
COMPAS ASIAN PARTNERS MEETING IN SRI LANKA
A.V. Balasubramanian and K. Vijayalakshmi attended a meeting of the COMPAS Asian partners that was organized in Kandy in Sri Lanka between 4th and 7th April. The meeting was attended by field groups from India and Sri Lanka during which the progress of the field work and Asian Coordination work during the concluding phase of the project was discussed. Plans were also made about future activities. The COMPAS Indian and Sri Lankan partners are planning to work together with other organizations for a programme to help communities in various parts of South Asia to develop – Bio Cultural Protocols (BCP).
VISITOR FROM HIVOS
Between 25 th and 26 th November, Mr. Naresh Bandaru, Programme Officer, Green Enterprises Programme of HIVOS, India visited CIKS. On 25 th November he had a meeting with the senior team members of CIKS at Chennai and presentations were made about the overall work and approach of CIKS and the programmes being implemented in collaboration with HIVOS.
This was followed by presentations and discussions relating to marketing efforts in which a presentation was made by the Secretary and Treasurer of Sirkazhi Organic Farmers Assocation (SOFA) at Sirkazhi. On 26 th November, there was a field visit wherein he visited the CIKS research farm at Sukkankollai where there was also a meeting arranged with a group of representative farmers working with CIKS from the districts of Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Dindigul, Nagapattinam and Ramanathapuram. Later in the afternoon he visited the Mogalvadi village in Kancheepuram district and saw the field activities which included organic seed production, kitchen gardens and community vermicompost unit. This was followed up by the meeting with the members and office bearers of the Mogalvadi organic farmers. The visit concluded with a discussion with the CIKS team members of the field office in Chengalpet wherein he summed up his impressions and suggestions based on the visit.
CONSERVATION TRADITIONAL PADDY VARIETIES
In CIKS experimental farm in Sukkankollai, conservation, multiplication and characterization of traditional paddy varieties are in progress. During Samba 2010, a total of 86 traditional paddy varieties with specific characteristics have been cultivated for multiplication and characterization. The paddy varieties have been cultivated following SRI (System of Rice Intensification) method of cultivation. Characteristics of each variety have been documented in detail. Detailed photo documentation has also been done. Preparation of herbarium for each variety is also in progress. Many farmers, teacher, school children and aspirers from various parts of the state visited the farm to visualize the on farm paddy diversity.
COMMUNITY KITCHEN GARDEN
Kitchen vegetable gardens play a vital role in nutritional security. In this base, a community kitchen garden has been established in Aadhamangalam village of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. The main objective of this effort is to involve a large group of people to extent the possibility of the awareness on organic kitchen gardens to a wider section of people. This community kitchen garden has been established in 10 cents in Aadhamangalm village. It is being maintained by Ponni organic farming womens' group of Aadhamangalam village. The members of the womens' group are involved in the entire stretch of maintenance activities like weeding, watering, preparation and use of biopesticides, preparation of compost, harvest etc. Seeds of vegetables like bean varieties, brinjal, bhendi, gourd varieties, tomato, onion, radish and green varieties have been provided to them. They also trained on the organic technologies pertaining to vegetable cultivation, nutrient management, pest and disease management. Vegetables harvested from the garden are equally shared among the members. The excessive quantity of the veggies is sold to the local people. This community kitchen garden also serves as a demo vegetable garden for the people in and around Aadhamangalam village. Many women have started raising their own kitchen garden at their backyard. This is one of main impact achieved through this effort.
DEMONSTRATION OF ORGANIC FARMING TECHNOLOGIES
To disseminate the organic farming technologies to a wide range of farmers an organic demonstration farm has been setup in a farmers' field in Ilayamadhukoodam village of Nagapattinam district. In this demo farm, different crops like paddy varieties, vegetable varieties, flower crops, banana, coconut etc., are being cultivated following organic farming methods. Various organic farming technologies have been implemented for soil fertility, plant growth and yield, pest and disease management, livestock maintenance etc. Technologies like using pheromone and mechanical traps, preparation and application of biopesticides, organic manures and plant growth promoters, following SRI (System of Rice Intensification) method of cultivation etc., are being implemented. Traditional paddy varieties are conserved in this farm. Azolla cultivated in the field is also used to supplement the cattle feed. A farm pond in 25 cents area is utilized for rain water harvesting and irrigation. Cow's urine from the cattle shed is collected in a pit and then released along with irrigation water. The vermicompost is being produced in a unit of 35' x 15'size and utilized for the crops.
PARTICIPATION IN AGRI EXHIBITION
CIKS participated in the forth ‘Agri Expo 2010' exhibition held in Madurai between 9 th and 12 th October 2010 at Thamukkam grounds in Madurai. The exhibition was organized by Lions club of Madurai Tamil. The participants were organizations involved in agriculture and related activities, producers of agricultural implements and machineries, cattle feed, agri inputs etc., participated in the exhibition. We have put up a stall on organic farming and made a display of our publications, audio visuals, posters etc., and made a very good sale. Nearly 30,000 people visited the stalls in the exhibition.
CAPACITY BUILDING OF WOMEN BENEFICIARIES ON INCOME GENERATION
Under the programme on “Promotion of organic farming in Alangadu village of Nagapattinam district” we have initiated activities to enhance the income level of women beneficiaries of Alangadu village. We have identified trainers for tailoring and basket making from Sirkazhi and Vellore. Women of Alangadu are undergoing training on tailoring and basket making using palm fronds. Training classes for the tailoring and basket making are commenced in the month of August 2010 and October 2010 respectively. Tailoring classes will be continued for a period of six months. A total of 32 women beneficiaries are under going these trainings. We hope these trainings will significantly improve the income level of women of Alangadu village.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TRADITIONAL PRACTICES IN CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE
CIKS participated in a three day international conference on the theme “Traditional Practices in Conservation Agriculture” between 18-20 September 2010. The conference was organized by Asian Agri-History Foundation and was co-sponsored by CIKS and COMPAS. The conference was held in the “city of lakes” namely Udaipur in Rajasthan. Five staff from CIKS namely A.V.Balasubramanian, Dr.K.Vijayalakshmi, M.Suresh, Abarna Thooyavathy and F.Merlin Franco participated and presented papers on topics like Policy on Traditional Agriculture—building on indigenous knowledge, Biocultural Community Protocol and Eco-friendly rat management practices. Mr. A.V.Balasubramanian delivered a plenary lecture on the topic “Testing and Validation of Indigenous Knowledge of Agriculture: Problems and Prospects”. There was participation from COMPAS partners from India namely FRLHT (Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions) and Krishi Prayoga Pariwara (KPP) and CIKOD (Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development) from Ghana , FIOH (Future In Our Hands Development Fund) of Sri Lanka and from ETC-COMPAS, The Netherlands. The presentations made by CIKS were well received as many participants opined that it was relevant and useful for sustainable agriculture. The international conference held at Udaipur made important recommendations including – the need for establishing a validation centre for ancient farming technologies, development of biocultural community protocols as important tools, the need for conservation of biodiversity in heritage sites and the engagement of various institutions to undertake research, extension and education on traditional farming techniques. Recommendations were also made about validation and research methods on Vrkshayurveda and Indian methods of utilizing ground water.
GENDER SENSITIZATION MEET
CIKS and Sirkazhi Organic Farmers Association (SOFA) jointly organised an one day meet on gender sensitization on 2nd September 2010 at Allivilagam Village, Sirkazhi Taluk, Nagapattinam District. The role played by women in family and community development was highlighted in the meet. The meet was supported by NABARD and resource persons were drawn from Cooperative and Nationalised Banks, Horticulture Department, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and Hope Foundation. The meeting was attended by 75 Self Help Group (SHG) women members. Those members were active in the functioning of SGHs and who had given 100% attendance were recognised and rewarded.
CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING PROGRAMME
A staff capacity building training programme on “SWOT analysis – Importance and Procedures” was conducted for the technical staff of CIKS Sirkazhi office on 5 th July 2010 at CIKS training hall in Agani village. The participants were trained on the importance of SWOT analysis, procedures to be followed, formation of matrix etc. Followed by this, SWOT analysis was done for the Sirkazhi Organic Farmers Association on 29 th July. These programmes were facilitated by Mr. Daniel Anandraj, Consultant.
PARTICIPATION IN NATIONAL SEMINAR ON SRI
The Natural Resource Management Centre in Calcutta had organized a National seminar on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method on 11 th and 12 th July 2010. The seminar was deliberated on the status of SRI in India , research and extension in SRI, problems and issues in SRI, role of Government and other stake holders in the promotion of SRI and impact of SRI in food security. There were more than 100 participants from all over India . On behalf of CIKS, Programme Director, Subhashini Sridhar participated in this seminar.
VISIT OF THE RESEARCH DIRECTOR TO PROJECT AREAS NAGAPATTINAM DISTRICT
Between 20 th and 21 st of August 2010, CIKS Research Director Dr. K. Vijayalakshmi visited the project areas in the Nagapattinam district and had discussions with the beneficiaries. She visited the Community vermicompost and biopesticide units, community vegetable garden in Adhamangalam village, organic farming demonstration field in Ilayamadhukoodam village, CIKS experimental field in Agani, organic farms and fields of the beneficiaries etc. She also met the beneficiaries under the crop loan and input support schemes and had a detailed discussion.
TRAINING FOR FARMERS ON RTI
A training programme on “Right to information Act – Procedures and utilization” was conducted for the farmers of Kadinelvayal and Kovilthavu villages of Sirkazhi taluk of Nagapattinam district on 21 st August 2010 . A total of 35 farmers including women farmers participated in this training programme. The participants were briefed on the importance and uses of RTI Act, procedures to be followed, drafting of petition etc. This training programme was coordinated by Ms. B. Poongkhulali, Advocate, Madras High Court.
TRIBUTE TO CIKS SIRKAZHI TEAM AND KARIKALAN FARMERS CLUB
The Karikalan Farmers' Club at Pagasalai village of Nagapattinam district promoted by CIKS Sirkazhi is the best club to secure third prize for the year 2008-2009 from NABARD. On 27 th July 2010 , a function was organized at the Tamil Nadu Regional Office of NABARD at Chennai to honour the winners. Mr. Ramesh Tenkil, General Manager, NABARD Tamil Nadu Regional Office honored the Karikalan Farmers' Club. NABARD have presented a memento to CIKS Sirkazhi for supporting Karikalan farmers' club. The meeting was attended by the representative of Farmers' clubs, NGOs, Banks and officials from NABARD.
EFFORTS TO RESTORE RAINFED AGRICULTURE
The nation wide network on “Restoration of Rainfed Agriculture (RRA)” has constituted working groups on a set of themes. The working group on restoration of soil fertility met at Hyderabad between 6 th and 8 th April. The CIKS team participated in the meeting and made presentations regarding their various experiences including use of composting techniques, farmyard manure, vermicomposting, community based units for producing vermicompost, panchagavya and liquid biofertilisers as well as the use of green manure seeds.
BRAINSTORMING ON ORGANIC GROUNDNUT CULTIVATION
A brainstorming meeting on problems in organic groundnut cultivation was organized at the CIKS Technology Resource Centre in Sukkankollai on 28 th June. Beneficiary farmers from Kancheepuram, Thiruvannamalai, Dindigul and Ramanathapuram districts and respective field staff of CIKS participated in this meeting. During this meeting various problems faced in the groundnut cultivation from seed to harvest was discussed in detail. Suitable solutions were suggested for the problems put forth by the farmers. This meeting was coordinated by consultant Mr. Daniel Anandraj.
FARMERS AND CONSUMER LAWS
On 1st June, a workshop was organized on the topic ‘Farmer as Consumer' for CIKS staff members and the resource persons were Ms. Akila Ramalingam and
Ms. B. Poongkhulali, Advocates, Madras High Court. The meeting was attended by the technical staff of CIKS. Presentations were made about the Consumer Protection Act as well as a variety of legislations pertaining to agriculture, farming, farmers' rights. Problems that are routinely faced by farmers were presented and discussed.
CIKS had organized a one day training programme on “Leadership qualities” for the office bearers of the farmers groups in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu on 16 th July. The training programme was held in St. Valanar Development Trust in Tharangampadi. The participated farmers were trained on various qualities of leadership like humbleness, cleanliness, self confidence, perseverance etc. There were group discussions on unity, conflict of interest, sharing of information etc. This training programme was conducted by Mr. Ramasubramanian of SAMANVAYA, Chennai.
HONOURS FOR CIKS RESEARCH DIRECTOR
As part of the International Womens day celebrations on March 9th 2010 two different institutions honoured Dr. K. Vijayalakshmi, CIKS Research Director.
Dr. G. Thiruvasagam, Vice Chancellor, Madras University honoured some of its distinguished alumnii including Dr. Vijayalakshmi. She was given a citation acknowledgeing her services in advancing the cause of women in the field of science.
The Lions Club International organised a facilitation programme to commemorate World Womens Day. MJF Lion Lakshmi Kannan, District Chair person acknowledged Dr. Vijayalakshmi as an Expert in Indigenous Technology Promotion and District Governor Lion T. Bakthavatsalam gave away a shield.
TRADITIONAL FOOD FESTIVALS
CIKS had organized traditional food festivals at Sirkazhi in Nagapattinam district and at Dharumathuppatty in Dindigul district on 11 th and 28 th March respectively. The main objective of this was to create awareness about the importance and nutritional value of traditional and organic foods. More than 550 farmers participated. The participants were served with different traditional dishes made out of traditional rice, pulses and cereals. There were stalls with displays of medicinal herbs, traditional paddy varieties, value added products, organic products, biopesticides and millets. A puppet show on importance of traditional paddy varieties was performed by the teachers of Dr. G. S. Kalayanasudaram Matriculation School in Nagapattinam. The chief guests of the occasion were Bank Managers, Officials of Horticulture and Agriculture Departments, Scientists and village Presidents. During the event agriculture implements like power weeder, brush cutter, jet pumps, rotovator and weeder for dry land crops were distributed to the farmers sangams in both districts. Prizes were distributed to the outstanding organic farmers and to the best women Self Help Group.
ORGANIC FARMING FESTIVAL
A series of organic farming festivals were conducted in Kancheepuram, Thiruvannamalai, Dindigul and Nagapattinam districts. The main objectives of these festivals were to encourage organic farmers and to create more awareness about organic farming in villages. Village residents, beneficiary farmers participated in these functions. The chief guests of these functions were Agriculture Officers, Horticulture Officers, Bank Managers and village Presidents.
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR ADOPTION OF TECHNOLOGY (CAT) PROGRAMME
A training programme on “ Capacity Building for Adoption of Technology (CAT)” was conducted in collaboration with NABARD at our Technology Resource Centre (TRC) in Sukkankollai between 9 th and 11 th March 2010. A total of 20 participants from Kancheepuram, Coimbator, Thiruvannamalai, Karur, Nammakkal, Verudhunagar, Kadallore, Kanyakumari, Vilupuram and Pondicherry participated in this training programme. The participants were trained on various organic farming technologies, Vrkshayurveda, organic farming certification and marketing. Demonstrations of biopesticide preparation and compost production were also done. The participants were taken to visit the CIKS organic research farm and organic fields in Kaliyapettai village.
BRAINSTORMING ON ORGANIC SEED PRODUCTION
CIKS in collaboration with TNAU, Coimbatore organized a brainstorming meeting on organic seed production on 3 rd March 2010. The meeting deliberated on the need to notify the traditional seeds by the seed certification department, production of organic seeds by the University etc. During the meeting the organically produced certified paddy seeds of ADT 43 variety which were produced by CIKS was released by the Registrar of TNAU. The release of seeds was hailed as an historic occasion as it was a first time in Tamil Nadu that the seeds with double certification were available commercially. The organic seeds would be marketed by The Arogyam Organics Private Ltd. The meeting was attended by organic farmers, NGO representatives, University scientists, students and officials from Department of organic certification.
STAFF CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING PROGRAMME
A one day staff capacity building training programme on ‘Soil health and Nutritional analysis' was conducted for the technical staff of CIKS on 16 th February at the CIKS Technology Resource Centre in Sukkankollai. This training programme was coordinated by Consultant, Mr. Daniel Anandraj. A total of 18 staff members participated in this training programme. The participants were trained on various methods of analyzing soil health through class room sessions and a practical session.
FOUNDATION DAY CELEBRATION
The fifteenth CIKS Foundation day was celebrated on 23 rd January 2010 at Chennai with a gathering of staff, trustees, friends and well wishers. The day started with an overview of CIKS activities and achievements since its inception that was provided by the Research Director, Dr. K. Vijayalakshmi and Director
A.V. Balasubramanian. This was followed by a presentation by Programme Director
S. Arumugasamy on our new venture for marketing of organic products – Arogyam Organic (P) Ltd. Later some of the participants shared their views and suggestions about CIKS.
TRAINING PROGRAMMES ON ORGANIC FARMING
A series of 16 training programmes were conducted for the beneficiaries of the ford project in Dindigul and Nagapattinam districts. The participants were trained on topics such as golden rice, seed treatment procedures, importance of organic farming, non chemical pest management methods, SRI cultivation, organic seed production methods, vermicompost production etc. Nearly 262 farmers have benefited through these training programmes.
ON FARM LEARNING
A group of four members from the Academy of Development Science, Maharashtra visited our experimental farm in Sukkankollai between 21st and 22nd May, to acquaint themselves and get practically trained on various organic farming technologies. They were trained on various topics including organic farming cultivation methods, organic methods of pest and disease management, SRI (System of Rice Intensification) cultivation techniques, preparation of biopesticides and their uses, various methods of compost and vermicompost production, organic farming certification and standards of ICS (Internal Control System). Following this, demonstration of SRI cultivation techniques - method of nursery preparation and transplantation, preparation of biopesticides and compost production were done. They were also given an overview of various activities taken up in our farm and visited the biopesticide, biofertiliser and vermicompost production units, demo herbal and kitchen gardens and fields of traditional paddy varieties.
BANANA FESTIVAL IN CHENNAI
On 25th July, the Banana festival was organized by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) at the Island Grounds, Chennai. There were many stalls in which fourteen different varieties of banana were displayed as well as innovative food made from banana was for sale also. Products made from banana like bags, clothes were displayed. Our staff M. Suresh and Amrita Nishanth attended this festival.
STAFF CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING PROGRAMME
A three day staff capacity building training programme was conducted for the technical field staff between 24th – 26th August, at the Technology Resource Center in Sukkankollai. A total of 14 staff participated in this training programme. The staff members were trained on various topics including implementation of organic farming in villages, seed certification methods, seed inspection, Internal Control Systems (ICS), biological crop protection methods, sustainable farming, report writing, maintenance of records etc. Mr. S. Magaligakannan, Agriculture Deputy Director (Seeds), Seed Certification Officers, Mr. Ravi, Mr. Gnanasekaran, Mr. Prabhakaran, Mr. Subhurathinam, Deputy Director (Seed inspection) and Mr. Rajaraman, Seed inspector served as resource persons.
COMPAS INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT MEETING IN THE NETHERLANDS
A meeting of the International Management group of the COMPAS programme was held in the ETC Foundation in the Netherlands between 25th and 27th August 2009. On behalf of Asian Coordination, K. Vijayalakshmi and A. V. Balasubramanian participated in the meeting. The meeting reviewed the mid term assessment of the progress of the COMPAS partners from various regions along with the external facilitators for each region. Following this, the COMPAS IMM group also reviewed the changes and discussed the plans for the future period.
WORKSHOP ON SUSTAINABLE FARMING TECHNOLOGIES
The “Madurai Symposium 2009” was held in Madurai between 14th – 18th September. The symposium was organized by the Dhan Foundation, based in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The focus of the symposium was advancing development towards Millennium Development Goals”. On 15th September, our center had organized a workshop on “Sustainable Agriculture: A Special Focus on Traditional Technologies”. The participants were trained on topics like traditional knowledge and technologies, vrkshayurveda, biological methods of pest management, biopesticide preparation and seed treatment with pseudomonas and trichoderma for disease management etc. A total of 51 framers and representatives participated in the workshop. TRAINING TO NGOs
TRAINING TO NGOs
A series of training programmes were conducted for the representatives as well as the farmers working with the NGOs NPMi network (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa) and Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari between 17th to 19th and 24th to 26th September, respectively. The participants were trained on organic farming
technologies, alternatives to chemical fertilizers, organic methods of pest and disease management in Paddy, Groundnut, Chilli, Mango, Guava, Banana and Coconut, bio-control agents, biopesticide preparation, global warming and System of Rice Intensification (SRI). A total of 39 members participated and benefited through these training programmes.
PARTICIPATION IN ORGANIC TRADE FAIR
An International organic trade fair “Bio Fach India” was held in Bombay between 18th to 20th November. There were stalls displayed with organic produce, inputs etc. The Department of Agriculture of Sikkim, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Mizoram etc., participated in the exhibition. A total of 13 farmers along with three staff members visited stalls. The farmers were also taken to visit organic farms in Pune. They also had a detailed discussion with the farmers.
COMPAS POLICY WORKSHOP ON AGRICULTURE
On 25th and 26th November, CIKS hosted a COMPAS Regional Policy workshop and writeshop on “Indigenous Knowledge and Agriculture”. The objective of the workshop was to come up with a draft policy documentary on the subject. The participants included COMPAS partners from India and Srilanka, representatives from the COMPAS International Unit and a technical consultant for the programme.
Trainers' training programme at TRC
A Trainers Training Programme (TTP) was conducted in our Technology Resource Centre (TRC) at Sukkankollai between 21st and 25th April 2009. Twenty participants, including farmers and NGO representatives from of various districts of Tamilnadu participated in the training. Mr.Sudhakar, AGM, NABARD, inaugurated the training programme on 21st April 2009 and gave a talk on various loan schemes provided to the farmers through NABARD. Following that, various theory and practical sessions were held. Topics like activities of CIKS, An overview of organic farming at the global level, organic farming practices, pest and diseases of crops and their non chemical control measures, preparation of biopesticides, global warming, organic farming certification, differences between the traditional and conventional farming, SRI method of rice planting were covered during the theory sessions. CIKS staff served as the resource persons for the training programme.
Practical sessions were held on topics like preparation methods of compost, biopesticide preparation, drawing of field overview maps for certification purposes and nursery preparation in SRI method. The participants were also taken to the processing unit at Thiruvannamalai district. On the last day of the training programme, a discussion was held on the marketing of organic products. Finally a quiz programme was conducted and the prizes and certificates were distributed to the participants. The training programme was coordinated by our staff K.Senthil and M.Ashok. We received a very positive feed back from the participants about the training programme.
Our new publications “System of Rice Intensification – An introduction” and “Organic Farming Heroes” were released during this training programme and the copies were distributed to the beneficiaries.
Participation of CIKS in organic farming awareness program for school children
Sivakasi Hindu Nadar Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chennai organized a program called as “Environ Fest” on 13th March 2009. The objective of the maiden program was to educate school children on environmental issues, in particular on organic farming. CIKS supported the program through providing educational material on organic farming, sample of organic inputs and products and publications. M. Suresh of CIKS participated in the program and was one of the judges in the elocution programmes that had topics on environmental issues. CIKS publications were given as prizes to winners in the competition. Students and parents showed keen interest in the exhibition on organic farming.
FOUNDATION DAY CELEBRATION
The fourteenth CIKS Foundation day was celebrated on 23rd January 2009. All our staff gathered at our Sukkankollai farm in Kancheepuram district to celebrate the day. The day started with an overview of CIKS activities and achievements since its inception that was provided by the Research Director, Dr. K. Vijayalakshmi. This was followed by some competitions and sports. Later in the afternoon there was a cultural programme by the staff. In the concluding session A. V. Balsubramanian made a presentation regarding the plan of work for the forthcoming year and then there were distribution of prizes for winners in various events.
ORGANIC AWARENESS PROGRAMME
In lieu of the women’s day celebration, WIPRO, Medavakkam invited CIKS for conducting an organic awareness programme at their office premises. Our staff
Dr. Jayanthi, Ms. Nirmala Devi and Mr. Velu participated in this programme and displayed posters and samples of organic products and publications. They explained the visitors about the activities of CIKS, importance of organic foods and its availability.
Capacity Building Workshop of DST Core Support Groups on Scaling Up Processes
The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India had invited CIKS as it belongs to the core support group of DST, for a two-day workshop. The workshop was held between 3rd to 4th March 2008 at New Delhi at the campus of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. The workshop was coordinated by TARA Livelihood Academy. The content of the workshop included organizational capacity building, market and enterprise development, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, business planning, financial issues and emerging sources of investment. The workshop facilitators include staff of TARA academy, external facilitators and experts from DST. The techniques included interactive sessions, case study presentations and brainstorming. Mr.M..Suresh from CIKS participated in this workshop.
COMPAS PARTNERS MEETING
Our Centre hosted a regional meeting of the COMPAS partners from Asia between 28th November and 2nd December 2008. The meeting was attended by COMPAS partners from India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam besides the COMPAS International Coordinator, Mr. Wim Hiemstra. On 30th November, we had a group of special invitees who joined the meeting who are researchers from Universities and research institutes who are collaborating with COMPAS partners. On 1st December, all the partners went on a field trip to the CIKS experimental farm and Technology Resource Centre at Sukkankollai in the Kancheepuram district. During the meeting the partners reviewed the progress of the programme at the field, national, regional and international level. A. V. Balasubramanian of CIKS had been the Asian Coordinator of the COMPAS programme since April 1999 and with effect from December 2008, K. Vijayalakshmi of our Centre has assumed responsibility of the COMPAS Asian Coordinator.
VISITORS FROM CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION OF PENANG (CAP), MALAYSIA
A group of 14 members including farmers and University researchers from Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) participated in a ten-day exposure program organized by CIKS between 8th - 16th November 2008. The prime area of interest of the CAP members was in organic farming. The members were given an overview of the activities of CIKS. They were taken to the CIKS experimental farm in Sukkankollai where they were demonstrated on various composting methods, preparation techniques of Panchagavyam and Amirthakaraisal. They also had an opportunity to visit fields of traditional paddy varieties and seed bank in Sukkankolai farm. They interacted with our farmers and learnt about the Internal Control Systems and certification procedures. A two day visit was also made to the Sirkazhi project area, where the activities of biopesticide unit were explained as well as visits were made to the project villages to understand the organic certification process. Following this, the CAP team made a visit to FRLHT (Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions), Bangalore and had an overview of the program activities. The CAP members were keen to adopt and popularize organic farming in Malaysia.
Gender workshop at CIKS
As part of the COMPAS program, CIKS organized a one day workshop on “Gender Equity and Endogenous Development” on 11th August 2008 at Chennai. Twelve participants from Indian COMPAS partner organizations like CIKS, FRLHT, Bangalore and KPP, Shimoga participated. The program was facilitated by Ms.Shashi Rajagoplan, consultant and A.V.Balasubramanian of CIKS.
The participant organizations had worked on the following questions as preparatory work before the workshop; the distinct role divisions in the personal and social lives of women and men, their core personal and social needs, occupational needs and needs in the fields where they work (health, agriculture etc.). The participants presented the findings of the study which were discussed in the workshop.
The workshop also discussed the role of woman in governance, likely hindrances of having women at all levels, steps to be taken to increase active womens’ presence from community at program level and indicators which suggest gender equity in an agricultural program.
The participants were asked to work on the following areas namely; principles for gender equity, further work on the context, study at programme and organizational level on gender equity and were asked to share the output in a follow up meeting to be held in October 2008.
International Training Program for Endogenous Development Facilitators at Sri Lanka
COMPAS had organized a training program for facilitators of Endogenous Development for five days between 25th and 29th August 2008 at Sri Lanka. The venue was the Centre for Human Development at Tholangamuwa, 60 kms from Colombo. The 14 participants were the staff working in COMPAS project across Asia and included CIKS (Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems), FRLHT (Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions), KPP (Krishi Prayoga Pariwara) and partners from Srilanka viz., Future in Our Hands, Gami Seva Sevana and Biodiversity Centre and Centre for Natural Resources and Environment Studies from Vietnam. A future partner organization from Nepal namely Local Initiative for Bio-diversity Research and Development (LIBIRD) was also represented. Subashini Sridhar and Suresh Mathevan from CIKS were the participants from CIKS. A.V.Balasubramanian attended the program as a trainer. Mr. William van Weperen from ETC Netherlands and Mr. K.A.J. Kahandawa of Future in Our Hands were the other trainers.
The program focused on increasing the understanding of endogenous development particularly in natural resources management. The program included the guiding principles and enabling endogenous development, reflection on world views etc. Some of the learning techniques included meta-plan method, role play, fish bowl method, use of symbols etc. The participants visited Community Development Institute at Aranayake to learn about the conservation and propagation of traditional tubers undertaken by around 100 women farmers. At the end of the training each organization prepared an action plan on endogenous development which will be implemented within the next eight months.
CONFERENCE IN MALAYSIA
At the invitation of the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), A.V. Balasubramanian and K. Vijayalakshmi traveled to Malaysia between 20th and 25th July. On 23rd July, they participated in a meeting organized by the CAP at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. A.V. Balasubramanian made a presentation on “Building Capacity for Sustainable Agriculture based on Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom”. On 24th July, they attended a meeting that was organized by CAP in collaboration with the UNDP on “Sustainable Agriculture: Moving from grass roots initiatives to mainstream policies” at Kuala Lumpur. K. Vijayalakshmi made a presentation giving an overview of CIKS efforts relating to the promotion of sustainable agriculture. On 21st and 22nd July, they visited various sections of CAP office at Penang and acquainted themselves with their work relating to agriculture.
VISITORS FROM HIVOS
A three member team consisting of Mr. Bishwadeep Ghose and Dr. Murali from HIVOS Regional Office at Bangalore and Mr. John Holland of HIVOS International Headquarters in the Netherlands visited CIKS on 19th July. They made a trip to our farm at Sukkankollai and had discussions with members of our team as well as a group of farmers including representatives from the Chengalpet Organic Farmers Producers Society.
NATIONAL SEMINAR AT TRICHY
A National Seminar on “Self help groups (SHGs) for rural upliftment - emerging extension issues and strategies” was held on 12th July at Anbil Dharmalingam Agricultural College and Research Institute, Trichy. This programme was organized by Society of Extension Education, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. On behalf of CIKS, our staff Subhashini Sridhar and P. Kiruthika participated in this seminar and presented a paper on “Organic farming for rural upliftment: Role of Women SHGs”. More than
50 scientists belonging to different institutions from Kerala, Karnataka, Delhi and Rajasthan participated in this seminar.
EUROPEAN UNION SEMINAR
European Union Commission organized a seminar at Hotel Taj Coromandel, Chennai on 11th July to orient prospective applicants about the EUFP7 research programme. Various procedures, requirements and mode of application for this project were highlighted during the course of the seminar. Dr. Andrew Sors, Counselor, EU Research, Dr. Sadhana Relia of DST, Dr. Upton van der Vliet of EU India desk at Brussels and Dr. Indraleel Ghose of EU New Delhi were resource persons for this seminar. K. Vijayalakshmi attended this seminar.
IMPROVING THE STATUS OF MID-DAY MEALS PROGRAMME THROUGH ORGANIC KITCHEN GARDENING
Children helping in a kitchen garden
The Department of Science and Technology has sanctioned a project to our Centre entitled “Improving the status of Mid-day meals programme through Organic Kitchen Gardening in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu”. This project is for a period of one year.
The objectives of the project includes
To improve the nutritional status of mid-day meals in schools of Nagapattinam district.
To create awareness about the importance of organic farming and health among children in the schools of Nagapattinam district.
DST CORE TEAM AT CIKS
Experts from DST along with our staff during their visit to the experimental plot at Agani
DST officials in the green house at Agani
An expert group from the Department of Science and Technology, comprising of three eminent scientists, Dr. Vikas C Goyal, Prof. P. Pushpangadan and
Prof. D. J. Bagyaraj visited us on the 5th and 6th of June 2008. Prof. D.J. Bagyaraj visited the CIKS research farm at Sukkankollai and reviewed the ongoing activities. On 6th June 2008, the team visited the CIKS office at Sirkazhi and reviewed the various ongoing research activities. The team also witnessed a demonstration of the teleconferencing facility, set up under the Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) project.
CIKS PARTICIPATES IN ORGANIC WORLD CONGRESS HELD IN ITALY
The 16th Organic World Congress hosted by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) which is an important event for the stakeholders of organic farming was held between 18th -20th June 2008 at Modena, Italy. CIKS participated in the congress and Mr.S.Arumugasamy Program Coordinator, presented a paper and poster which were well received.
IFOAM represents the interests of the organic agriculture sector internationally and is the worldwide umbrella organization responsible for the creation and revision of basic standards of organic agriculture. IFOAM has over 750 members and associates in 108 countries (CIKS is a member). In June 2008 the organic world gathered in Modena, Italy with its rich diversity. In Modena—Emila Romagna Region, Italy, the local government (Province of Modena) and regional organic movement (AIAB Emilia Romagna) gathered energy and resources to establish “Consorzio ModenaBio 2008” in order to create with IFOAM and in partnership with other important international and national organizations, a global platform for discussion and for sharing information and experience to “Cultivate our Future” (which is the theme for 2008). The program allowed participants not only to attend the conferences and modules of interest, but also to view how local production and food systems worked. The congress had several venues in the province of Modena, offering parallel conferences on related themes held in local production sites.
The Organic World Congress had two main tracks; the Systems Values Track for presentation and exchange of practical experiences from farmers, consumers, campaigns and cooperation and a Scientific Research Track, where current academic research were presented and discussed. Mr.S.Arumugasamy presented a paper titled “Study of Marketing Options and Structures Available for Organic Products for Non-Governmental Organisations in India” which was authored by Vijayalakshmi, K, Suresh, M, Balasubramanian A V and Arumugasamy S. A poster titled, “Plant Products as Biopesticides: Building on Traditional Knowledge of Vrkshayurveda: Traditional Indian Plant Science” authored by Balasubramanian, A.V., Arumugasamy, S., Vijayalakshmi, K. and Subhashini Sridhar was also presented. The paper and the poster were well received and some participants sought more information on bio-pesticides and Vrkshayurveda.
WORKSHOP ON ORGANIC AGRICULTURE, MARKETING AND ORGANIZATION BUILDING
A workshop on work shop cum training program on organic agriculture, marketing and organization building was organized by ICCOA at Hotel Go Bananas, New Delhi between 3rd and 5th April 2008. The workshop was attended by participants from Government Departments (Orissa, Uttarkhand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and New Delhi), Retailers, Exporters, NGOs and Organic Input manufacturers. Resource persons were from ICCOA, Prahlada Foundation, Delhi University, Fabindia, Kohinoor Basmati Rice Sellers and NHM. M.Suresh, Senior Program Officer from CIKS attended the workshop. The resource persons stressed the following- The focus of organic growers should be on the domestic market rather than for export. Buyers are increasingly aware of certification of organic products and hence it is advisable to register the growers for certification. There will be more demand for organic cotton particularly from Europe as there is much awareness about pesticide harm to health. Different types of organic farming methods were discussed. A field trip was taken to two organic outlets namely Dubden Green and Fabindia and the modus operandi was explained. Representatives from Fabindia, Kohinoor Foods, Prahlada Foundation shared their experience in organic marketing.
BRAINSTORMING MEETING ON ORGANIC FARMING
The Centre is organizing a series of brainstorming meetings on organic farming in four districts of Tamil Nadu. The objective of these meetings is to take stock of efforts relating to organic farming, identify constraints and problems and suggest specific help that can be provided by the government, scientists and NGOs and initiatives that can be taken by farmers groups themselves. The first brainstorming meeting was held in Kancheepuram district which was organized at the CIKS Technology Resource Centre at our farm in Sukkankollai on 25th March. About twenty persons including farmers, NGO representatives and scientists attended this meeting. The major outcome of this meeting are as follows:
NGOs should focus on capacity building of small and marginal farmers on organic farming.
Farm scientists should undertake research on different aspects of organic farming and transfer it to the field for adoption.
Bring farmers in the research advisory committee of universities and research institutions. Recognize innovations/research findings of organic farmers.
Use Information and Communication Technology in rural areas to access the market for organic products.
TRCs Consultation Meeting at Chennai
Mr.M.S.Desalphine, DG-CAPART, Mr.AV.Balasubramanian, Director, CIKS and PS.Srinivasan, Director, Rural Technology Division, CAPART during the discussion
CAPART hosted a consultation meeting of the TRCs (Training Resource Centres) to ascertain their experiences and views on the mandate of CAPART. This meeting was organized by Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS) at Chennai on 17th March 2008. Representatives from nine TRCs from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu participated in this meeting.
Mr. AV.Balasubramanian, Director of CIKS, welcomed the gathering. The Director General (DG) of CAPART Mr. M.S. Desalphine in his inaugural address explained the purpose of the meeting. The DG also released four new publications of CIKS on organic farming. Mr. P.N.Srinivasan, Director, Rural Technology Division, CAPART presented some of the important findings and suggestions of the Shri.N.Vittal Committee report. The report had made a comprehensive evaluation of the TRCs in January 2005 and submitted its report in April 2005. SWOT analysis of both CAPART and TRCs were presented as well as the recommendations for rejuvenation of TRCs. The TRC representative utilized the opportunity to brief the DG and his team on their core activities and constraints faced. The DG chaired the feedback and discussion session and responded to the comments and suggestions of TRCs.
Mr. P. N.Srinivasan proposed a vote of thanks. Mr.A.V.Balasubramanian, Director, CIKS, thanked all the CAPART officials and the TRCs for their participation.
Science Festival at Chennai
CIKS participated in the “Science Festival” organized by Science City on the theme “Science in every day life”. The festival was intended for school children and the general public as well. CIKS was allotted a stall of size 200 sq.ft. in the environment pavilion. We displayed a range of organic products and publication, as well as posters and videos on organic farming . Response was very good, especially from school children - they were curious and asked a lot of questions, eager to learn about organic farming and food. The stall also enjoyed brisk sales of publications and produce.
Visitors from DARCOF, Denmark
Dr. Niels Halberg, Scientist from the Danish Research Centre on organic farming along with his Ph.D. Student Mr. Paneerselvam visited our centre on 11th January to identify areas of mutual interest and future collaboration. They also visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai.
CIKS Foundation Day
CIKS successfully completed 13 years on 23rd January 2008. All the members of the team got together on that day at our Sukkankollai farm. During the earlier part of the day the team members formed themselves in to different groups and cooked a variety of dishes. Prizes were awarded to the best recipes.
The team had a grand feast with all these cooked items. In the afternoon, we had a cultural programme organized by the members which included a quiz programme, crossword puzzle, skit and songs. Prizes were awarded to the winners. The Director A.V. Balasubramanian also gave a short speech on his vision for the organization.
Workshop on understanding our soil
A capacity building workshop on understanding our soil was conducted for our technical staff on 6th and 7th of January at Kotturpuram. Prof. Sultan Ismail of New College and Mrs. Dakshyayani were the resource persons for the workshop. The workshop dealt with in detail several aspects relating to soil starting from the characteristics of a good soil to maintenance of soil fertility organically. This will be followed up by practical sessions next month.
TRAINING PROGRAMME ON LEGAL AND REGULATORY ASPECTS RELATING TO NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, CHENNAI
26 – 28th NOVEMBER, 2007
CIKS organised a three day training programme on Legal and Regulatory Aspects Relating to Natural Resources Management between 26th and 28th November. The workshop was supported by COMPAS and HIVOS. The objective of the workshop was to provide the delegates with an overview regarding the three major laws pertaining to their work namely The Biodiversity Act, The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act and the Seed Act with the proposed new amendments.
The first and third day of the workshop was held at the Senate Hall of Hotel Ramada Rajpark, Chennai, while the second day was held at the Technology Resource centre of CIKS at Sukkankollai. Ten NGO’s from Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, 2 advocates, 5 law students and 4 students of Plant Biology and Biotechnology participated in the training.
Detailed presentations were made on these laws individually by the experts in the field and the discussions that were held after each presentation brought to light several issues that need to be followed up. The training programme was thought provoking and it was very well received. It was also envisaged that there would be a follow-up in the year 2008 where such training programmes are conducted in Tamil and Kannada (possibly also in Telugu) with the participants being field staff, farmers and local healers in the respective states.
Trainings on legal awareness were conducted for the farmers of Madhur, Mogalvadi, Kuripedu and Mazhaiyur villages on 4th and 5th October. The training was on some of the basic facts of the legal issues such as FIR, Right to information act, etc. A similar training was conducted for Chengalpattu field staff at Sukkankollai farm on 9th October. Ms. Poonguzhali and Mr.Gowtham of the Legal Services Clinic, National Law College, Bangalore conducted these training programmes.
TRAINING ON ORGANIC FARMING CERTIFICATION
Organic certification has become a need of the day to market the organic products with a marginal profit. Most of the farmers are aware of organic certification and its importance in marketing but are informed about the procedures to obtain certification. In order to help them, a series of training programmes on organic certification has been planned and so far two such training programmes have been completed at our Technology resource centre. The participants were trained on the procedures involved in obtaining certification and also about the accreditation agencies. They were also taken around the organic farm of CIKS which has been certified organic. Totally 15 members participated in these training programmes held on 27th October and 24th November 2007.
INDIA ORGANIC TRADE FAIR 2007
The third IOTF (India Organic Trade Fair) 2007 was held at New Delhi between 29th November and 2nd December. CIKS has been a participant consecutively for three years. IOTF is organized by ICCOA (International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture) headquartered in Bangalore.
CIKS participated in this event in the following ways-
Eight farmers representing the project areas of Kancheepuram, Thiruvanamalai, Dindigul and Nagapattinam districts participated in the event and visited the 160 stalls exhibiting organic products, organic inputs etc. The farmers also had a discussion with staff of National Centre on Integrated Pest Management at IARI campus. They spent a day sight seeing places of tourist interests like India Gate, Raj Ghat, Lotus Temple etc.
Four staff namely S.Arumugaswamy, M.Suresh, P.Murugan and H.Ganesh also participated in the event. The former two staff had also attended the two day seminar and workshop titled “India organic agri-business at the threshold of growth” which was presented by various speakers from diverse fields.
CIKS had put up a stall and had displayed its publications and organic products like rice and pulses for sale. CIKS received enquiries from importers, traders and retailers of organic products.
IOTF-2007 indicated that the organic sector is growing wherein organic input suppliers were participating in more numbers and most of them were offering certified inputs and that the range of certified products was increasing in the market. There was more awareness about certification among prospective buyers. The participation of various state governments was also evident this year.
RAT CONTROL IN PADDY FIELDS USING IRULA EXPERTISE
The organic farmers in Sirkazhi area of Tamil Nadu were facing serious problems due to explosion of rat population. To bring the situation under control, the Sirkazhi Organic Farmer’s Association decided to seek the help of Irula tribals who are known for their expertise in dealing with rat and snake problems. Irula tribals from the Irula Snake Catcher’s Industrial Co-operative Society Limited, Chromepet, Chennai were invited to the field where rat menace was recorded to be maximum. The Irulas then surveyed the whole field and located the rat burrows. The rats were then smoked out and caught by them. A total number of 233 rats were thus caught. The whole exercise which was facilitated by CIKS was welcomed by the farmers who wanted it to be repeated again whenever rat population went beyond control.
VISIT OF A TEAM FROM SRI LANKA
At the request of an Italian Funding Agency, ICEI which has been carrying out Tsunami Relief operations relating to agriculture in Sri Lanka, CIKS had organized a training programme and exposure visit for the team of four persons from Sri Lanka. The members of the team were Mr. Giuseppe Busalacchi from ICEI, Italy, Mr. I. M. Najeem from ICEI, Sri Lanka, Mr. Harischandra Silva from Gami Sewa Sewana, Srilanka and Mr. Nimal Dayaratni from the Department of Agriculture, Ampara District, Sri Lanka. They spent a period of eight days undergoing training and exposure visits between 17th and 24th July at Chennai, Chengalpet and Sirkazhi areas and subsequently they visited some other NGOs and research organizations in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
ORGANIC FARMERS PRODUCERS SOCIETY-FIRST GENERAL BODY MEETING
The first general body meeting of the societies formed in Kanchipuram and Thiruvannamalai districts were held during this month. The meeting for Thiruvannamalai district was held at Mazhaiyur on 22nd May. Our staff S. Arumugasamy, M. Suresh and K. Subramanian co-ordinated the meeting and totally 39 members participated. The meeting for the farmers of Kanchipuram district was held at Sukkankollai farm on 26th May. K. Vijayalakshmi, S. Arumugasamy, M. Suresh, K. Subramanian and K. Parimala co-ordinated the meeting and totally 57 members participated. The rules and regulations of the society were discussed in the meetings. Committees were formed and important decisions were taken in the office bearers’ meetings. It was resolved that the office bearers meeting for the Thiruvannamalai district will be conducted on 5th of every month at Mazhaiyur office and on 7th of every month at Chengalpet Field office for the Kanchipuram district.
LECTURE ON PROTECTION AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
On 24th May, Mrs. Sudha Ramalingam, Leading Advocate, Chennai High Court, visited our office in Chennai and delivered a lecture on “Protection against Sexual harassment of women in the work place”. She explained about the laws available for protecting women against the various kinds of harassment they face at work. She also said that it is the responsibility of every woman to identify such problems, and take active steps to bring offenders to book, to ensure comfortable and safe working conditions. Mrs. S. Rajalakshmi, Secretary from the Avvai home school and our trustee Dr. Latha Sathish, Dept. of Psychology, Madras University attended this lecture along with our staff
FARMERS DECIDE TO GO COMPLETELY ORGANIC
The HIVOS supported project “Paddy organic chain from seed to market: A pilot project in Tamil Nadu” is entering the third year. The beneficiaries of all the three villages Kolathancherry, Chitravadi and Kaliyapettai were gathered and detailed discussions were held with them on the impact of the project on 18th, 19th and 20th of December 2008 respectively. The beneficiaries were asked to make an assessment of the project to see if the project has attained self sustainability and if not what steps need to be taken in the future to make it sustainable. Farmers gave a positive feedback about the overall implementation of the project. More than 80% of the beneficiaries have come forward to convert their entire land into organic from the next season, which is really a positive impact that the project has made.
Improving livelihoods of farmers through Organic Vegetable Cultivation in the irrigated areas of Dindigul district in Tamilnadu
Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai has sanctioned a project to our Centre under their Small Grants Programme for a project entitled - “Improving livelihoods of farmers through Organic Vegetable Cultivation in the irrigated areas of Dindigul district in Tamilnadu”. The main objective of this programme would be to bring together vegetable farmers and help them to convert to organic cultivation, enable them to produce inputs on farm and empower them with organic farming technologies and project management so that the programme becomes sustainable.
SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF INDIAN SYSTEMS OF MEDICINE
by A. V. Balasubramanian, Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, No: 30, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai 600 085 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Green Foundation had organized the seminar on the title “Farmers, Livelihoods and Trade” on 7th and 8th October 2008 at Bangalore. M. Suresh of CIKS participated and presented a paper in the panel discussion on “Intervention by NGOs to facilitate access to Market”. The paper was titled “Marketing Interventions and Institutional Structures for Organic Products: A Case Study among NGOs in India” with the authors being M. Suresh and K.Vijayalakshmi. The seminar had speakers from the agricultural sector, group discussion on the prospects and problems on organic product marketing and panel discussion. M. Suresh also visited the Era Organic outlet in Bangalore that sells only certified organic products. Era Organic is interested to stock organic products of CIKS promoted farmers societies.
POPs FOR FOUR MAJOR CROPS
As a part of the Technical Cooperation programme of the FAO, CIKS undertook the task to develop the package of practices of four crops namely Paddy, Groundnut, Tomato and Ladies Finger in English and Tamil. These POPs have now been published and the English version is now available for download from the following link: http://www.fao.org.in/report. For copies in Tamil, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PARTICIPATION IN STATE LEVEL STUDENT SCIENCE CONGRESS
Our staff P.Kalidoss and S. Stalin participated in the State level Student Science Congress held at Kongu Engineering College, Perundurai. Our Honourable President Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam inaugurated the Congress organized by Tamil Nadu Science Forum on the 17 th December 2006. CIKS had put up a stall in the congress, where our publications and posters were put on display. A model of an organic farm was also exhibited along with various biopesticide samples, samples of different traditional paddy varieties. Students and staff expressed great interest in knowing about the different organic farming practices, traditional paddy varieties and working principles of pheromone trap and delta trap.
VISIT TO ICRISAT, HYDERABAD
The first International conference on vegetables and legumes was held at ICRISAT campus, Pattancheru, Hyderabad on 12th -15th December 2006. Our staff S.Arumugasamy, A.Suganthi and P.Murugan participated in this conference. A poster prepared by CIKS on Vaidya Kumbalam (A variety of ash gourd - Benincasa hispida ), emphasizing the nutritional and therapeutic value of traditional vegetable variety, was displayed in the conference hall. Seminars on vegetable and legume cultivation were also held as a part of the conference.
FIRST AID TRAINING
A lecture on blood donation and a training programme on first aid was organized for our staff at our field office in Chenglepet on 20 th December 2006 . Mr. Chandran of St. John Ambulance Service conducted this training programme. Staff from Chennai, Sirkazhi and Chenglepet offices attended this training. Blood groups, importance of blood donation, basic needs and eligibility for donating blood etc were discussed during this training. Demonstrations of some of the aspects of first aid were also done.
VISIT TO TRIBAL HEALTH INITIATIVE
Our staff S. Arumugasamy visited the Tribal Health Initiative located at Sittilingi village, Dharmapuri on 9th January, 2007. The hospital is mainly working for Community Health Programmes and it is working with more than 21 nearby villages.
PROGRAMME OFFICER FROM HIVOS AT SUKKANKOLLAI
On 11 th January 2007 , Mr. Biswadeep Ghose, Programme Officer from HIVOS, Bangalore visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai and Kaliyapettai village. At Kaliyapettai village, he visited some of the farmer's field areas and had a discussion with the farmers to get to know about their experience on organic farming. Later during the day, he also visited our experimental farm at Sukkankollai. He was taken around the farm and appraised about the various activities taken up there.
TRAINING ON INTERNAL CONTROL SYSTEM (ICS)
M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai organized a two day training programme on Internal Control System on 27th and 28th November 2006. R. Abarna, T. D. Nirmala Devi,
A.Suganthi, K. Parimala and S. Stalin from CIKS participated in this training programme. Mr. Vasudeva from IMO, organic certifying agency, Bangalore conducted this training programme. During this training programme, he explained about various aspects of ICS like key issues in ICS, different standards followed in organic certification worldwide, permitted organic inputs, documentation process and inspection and sanction procedures. Practical exercises on farm mapping and framing the organic standards for local conditions were also taken up.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS PROGRAMME
An environmental awareness programme was organized by NABARD on 8th November at Kanchipuram district. The District Collector
Mr. Pradeep Yadav IAS, presided over this programme. The Deputy Collector Mrs. Archana Patnayak, the Indian Bank LDM, Mr. Swaminathan and the NABARD AGM, Mr. Swaminathan also attended this function. K.Subramanian participated in this programme as a resource person and gave talk on “Harmful Effects of Chemical Farming”, “Importance of Organic Farming” and “Vermicompost preparation”. Members from Makkalnalapaniyalargal, Water conservation project and self help group attended this programme. The Video produced by CIKS on Organic Paddy Cultivation entitled “Vidai Mudhal Aruvadai Varai” was also screened during this programme.
VISIT BY REPORTER FROM VIKATAN GROUP
Mr. P. Kanaga Raju, reporter and photographer from Vikatan group visited our Chengalpet field office on 17.08.06. They also visited the Sukkankollai farm and Kaliyapettai village to photograph the organic farming field activities. They have also collected our brochures and book catalogues. They will be featuring our activities on organic farming in one of the Vikatan group publications namely – “Nanaya vikatan”.
VISIT BY DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. M. Annamalai, Deputy Director of Agriculture (seed certification, Villupuram District) from Attur, Salem district visited our chengalpet field office on 17.08.06 and was introduced to our organic farming activities. He also purchased 10 kgs of Kitchili Samba paddy seeds through our Arogyam scheme.
CIKS recognized as a Technology Resource Centre (TRC) by CAPART
CIKS has been recognized as a TRC of CAPART. As a part of the TRC, we are planning to construct a training centre at Sukkankolai, which will enable us to conduct intensive and comprehensive training for farmers and NGOs on sustainable agriculture.
Restoration work in Tsunami affected areas
In connection with the restoration work taken up in the tsunami-affected area in Nagapattinam district, experiments are being conducted with groundnut and indigenous paddy varieties. Kundali, a traditional rice variety is being cultivated on an experimental basis in one acre of land in the Koozhaiyar village. A skimming well has also been successfully established in this village. Bore well facilities were provided for two farmers by the centre. Twenty five farmers have been selected and they have been supplied with the vegetable seeds. A meeting on restoration work in agriculture was conducted by Navdanya, New Delhi at Nagapattinam. Our Sirkazhi staff participated in this meeting.
Eight traditional varieties were sown in the tsunami affected Koozhaiyar region. Some of these varieties were also sown in the non-tsunami area for comparison. 15 vegetable gardens were established in Koozhaiyar. Vegetables like ladies finger, brinjal, snake gourd, bitter gourd and cluster beans were harvested from these gardens. Ramalingam participated in a meeting of the NGOs working in the tsunami affected areas. He presented our work to the participants.
From 5 th to 7 th September, our staff S. Arumugasamy, K. Subramani and Subashini Sridhar visited the Centre for Technology and Development, Uttranchal Organic Commodity Board and Capart, New Delhi and IARI library. At CTD, they were explained about its activities and working of neem seed decorticator. They also visited the bone meal production unit. At UOCB, Dehradun, Mrs. Binita Shah, senior programme manager explained about their activities, marketing systems and the certification agencies. They also visited farmer's fields at Kesarvala village and observed their record maintenance. On the third day, they learned about the certification procedures, documentation methods and problems faced by them in implementing the ICS. They also visited the IARI library for literature collection and for book purchase.