The Gandhian Study Center, Thodupuzha had been requesting for a PGS awareness creation workshop for the farmers of Idukki District. On the 19th of March, Samraj conducted a session on PGS certification to GREEN FARMERS NABARD CLUB of Melkavu Mattom at Gandian Study Center meeting hall. The meeting was attended by nine farmers from the Club along with 20 farmers from Idukki District who have been attending a training program conducted by the Central Coconut Board. The workshop started with two organic farmers from Thodupuzha town explaining their experiences and their success with organic farming. This was followed by a brief introduction by Mr. Siby who is coordinating the organic farming efforts by Gandhian Study Center.
In a two hour session, the modalities of PGS certification mechanism, how to apply and procedure for maintaining records were explained in detail. Due to a high level of literacy in Kerala, the farmers did not express any difficulty in maintaining records and were willing to go through the procedures and maintain necessary records. The concept was new and there were a lot of questions regarding how to use this certificate and where they could sell their produce. As Idukki is a high rainfall area with diverse crops, the farmers have a natural advantage in producing and marketing their produce, locally. A major part of the discussion focussed on farmers expressing their concern of pesticides in food, especially vegetables. They also expressed their concern on the high dependency of vegetable supplies from neighboring Tamil Nadu state.
The farmers wanted to visit Keystone Foundation for an exposure and the trip was tentatively scheduled for the last week of April 2013. On the 20th of March, there was a meeting held at the State Bank of Travancore, Melkavu Mattom branch with the Manager of the bank and the office bearers of the Green Farmers Nabard Club, in which the implementation of PGS certification and marketing support to be provided by the bank through its customer base was discussed. State Bank of Travancore, Melkavu Mattom is assisting the organic farmers with loans and financial assistance for buying farm tools and equipments. The next steps like setting up of Facilitation Council and forming Local Groups will be taken up during the first week of April 2013.