Muthuvans take a special route to the Farmers Prize


They apply an organic fertilizer made from cow dung and wild plant leaf juice

They apply an organic fertilizer made from cow dung and wild plant leaf juice

A vast expanse of pepper, areca nut, cocoa, rubber and medicinal plants dot the Kulamankuzhy tribal settlement at the Adimali grama panchayat here, which came second in the organic farming category among the tribal settlements in recently announced state farmer prices. Along with the organic cultivation of crops, farmers also engage in dairy and fish farming and animal husbandry. No less than 300 members of 85 families here depend on agriculture for their livelihood. They grow vegetables on about 500 acres of land and also produce honey.

They sent composting units, rain harvesting systems and earth bunds to prevent soil erosion. However, what is unique is an organic fertilizer that they make from cow dung and wild plant leaf juice. An Adimali grama panchayat official said that compared to other areas, pest attacks on crops were limited in Kulamankuzhy settlement. “Farmers follow biological pest control measures. Soil preservation measures make the land fertile and the average production is higher than in other regions,” he said.

Grama panchayat chairperson Sherly Mathew, agriculture officer EK Shaji and ward member Deepa Rajeev oversee the farming practices followed by the Muthuvan community here. Unlike other tribal communities, the Muthuvans are essentially an agricultural society. They are not very dependent on forest products although they collect honey from the forest.

Marketing issues

However, a major problem facing the community is finding a market for its organic products. They must sell the products at a lower price on the open market. According to the farmers, if the government took steps to market the organic products, they would get a remunerative price. It will also encourage farmers in other regions to follow their practices, they said.


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