Women self-produce and market bio-inputs, thus encouraging sustainable agriculture in their village
Manpuzhu Uram Thayarithal Thozhil Kuzhu, a women’s group supported by MSSRF in Thirumalairaya Samutharam village, Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu, received Rs one lakh to promote vermicomposting and bio-inputs. Their active involvement and effort to promote bio-inputs and sustainable agriculture was recognised by the District Collector during Republic Day celebrations on January 26. The Department of Agriculture identified the group and awarded the money. “We will definitely use this prize money to further increase production [of bio-inputs],” stated the leader of Manpuzhu Uram Thayarithal Thozhil Kuzhu.
The women’s group consisting of 20 members are associated with the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) and MSSRF for ten years already, and members actively participate in the plant clinic sessions. The president of the group – M Muthulakshmi, has participated in more than 30 plant clinic sessions, and said that the plant clinic programmes have been very useful for her, other group members, and farmers in her village.
The idea for a women’s group to promote the production of bio-inputs originated from the plant clinics efforts. Most times, plant doctors recommend the use of bio-inputs, but they are not always readily available with input dealers. Hence, self-production of bio-inputs was recognised as an essential intervention, and thus the group was formed. This initiative has seen significant growth, and helps in the usage and marketing of self-produced bio-products.
With the continuous encouragement and support of MSSRF, Department of Agriculture and CABI, Manpuzhu Uram Thayarithal Thozhil Kuzhu also succeeded in gaining recognition from the government. Now, the women’s group produces vermicompost, insect repellent, Panchagavya, fish acid and Azolla, earning them up to Rs 5,000 profit for every unit produced. MSSRF and the Department of Agriculture are supportive of the group’s activities and encourage marketing of their products. There is a video available that documents the group’s activities, which was produced with support from Access Agriculture.