OB009

3/01/2006

We live in a small town called Sirkazhi and my farm is 12 km from that. I am struggling to create an awareness for organic food locally. I have about 2 tons of organically grown rice to be sold to customers - I can get premium pricing at Madras or Coimbatore, but I would like to try and sell it locally at market price and make a decent profit.

I am trying to demonstrate that organic produce sold locally at market price will not only free the farmer from his debt trap but will also give him a very good livelihood. The average Indian farm is only 2-3 acres. I am allowing myself only a working capital of 25000 and a 2 acre farm, and see how much I can produce from that. It is a serious handicap that I am not living in the farm- I cant have a dairy, which will mean I miss an important component of the food cycle, as well as lose out on vermicomposting and pachakavya and stuff.. but I am working on a workaround.

I hope to earn 1,20,000 from 2 acres this year and hope to increase it to 2 lakhs next year. The underlying idea is Gandhi's Gram Swaraj- local produce with local resources for local consumption. Let us see how far I can get with this...

Great to hear back from you .Maybe you should put all this on the site( or have a blog) because there is a constituency outside who will want to know your thoughts in addition to your reslults for them to move into this life style. There is some amount of thinking among people about going back to the land and growing your own food etc and people like you can help us decide .......

I am not trying anything new here. This is just an honest attempt at self-reliance by a very average family man, who knows neither farming nor is a Hercules physically! The basic ideas are what every one has been saying for ages: We cannot grow infinitely on a finite environment. Growth as it happens is negative ie. in the wrong direction. We all need to return to Nature. The system cannot be perfected.(Gandhi used to ridicule that planners " dream of systems so good that no one in it needs to be good"). We need to look to our own resources and opt out. But I dont mind recording/publishing my thoughts if it will be of use to you.

Your trying to create awareness in the local market and trying to sell produce there is a great thought because we have to move away from trucking produce around the country . We have pledged the earth to the demands of making more money and the dictates of the 'market' and if we dont move away that will be death of this planet....

True. The more I study the market the more I am coming to the conclusion that true freedom is not freedom to market but freedom from the market. If there is one thing that pervasivley corrupts modern life it is commerce ; no epidemic, war, calamity or disease has so much devastation to its credit as this commerce. The logical direction for a right thinking man is to sell and buy less and less until he can fully sustain himself with no trade and if need be some minimal barter. I am no way near that now. I have achieved some 30% sufficiency in food production - I may reach 70% in a year. But there are other needs and fears like medicare, children's education and the middle class maya of "social esteem", all of which burden the yoke.

BTW plse do write all that you feel about the issue , we need more practioners to talk rather than people who do nothing and are all over the blogosphere blowing their trumpet and opining on everything under the sun.

I will see what I can do to pollute the blogosphere further!''

Also another component could be recording climate , because I feel strongly about global warming and I dont know if anything done locally like growing trees or saving water helps......

We have a 6 acre temple tank opposite my farm which does all the water harvesting, so I dont have to worry about it. Climate is getting warmer by the year. I think if more people used the public transport or reduced travel, global warming will reduce. Trees reduce the local temperature by 4 degrees Celsius.

So do write whenever you have time and more than that do start a blog.......do u think I can help in anyway , any literature or information that you need about CSA s or organic farming associations etc.

BTW I wanted to tell you that Revathy in TN is authorised to certify organic farmers in TN by the OFAI . She and Nammalwar have offices in Trichi and Chennai and I think they are also publishing a magazine for organic farming practioners. The NGO that I volunteer with supports some of her work. ( www.aidindia.org)

BTW if u are interested in water harvesting issues one of the leading proponents of rain water harvesting in Karnataka is a good friend (Shree Padre) and he is always willing to talk to anyone.

Thanks for your kind thoughts. I have read Shree Padre's book on water harvesting and I am mighty glad to know you know him.I know Nammazhvar through some of his associates but havent met him. (I have since met him recently). At present I am not looking to certification - I dont think I will in the long run too. I am the brand! I tell people that it is grown organically and if they believe they buy. Besides, my revenue model is to cater to not more than 10 customers at any give point in time, so I am hoping to create and sustain a local market. But I will keep your ideas in mind. Right now I am struggling to master agronomy and educate my conventional labourers.

From a different mail

For my part, I am confining myself to finding a decent revenue model for the small farmer, so that they can get themselves out of debt and be self-reliant. I am firmly convinced that Graam Swaraj as Gandhi advocated is the real lasting cure for us. Centralized planning or world trade or hybrid seeds is only going to push us into an abyss. We have a very serious problem with the way we plan; plans are made to appease conflicting sections of the people (like farmers and fertilizer companies) and the result is a compromise where both parties end up getting what they dont want. As far as my limited intelligence can see, I do not see any conviction behind our policies - only the desire to pacify vote banks. My theory is that if every farmer starts looking to his own resources, nearly 70% of Indians will achieve self-sufficiency and we will be very close to achieving Hind Swaraj. As this is yet untested, I decided to become the guinea pig myself!


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