Organic Mandya Farmers Foundation - updates

Organic Mandya Farmers Foundation (OMFF) was incorporated in February 2021 and since then the foundation and the Organic Mandya brand has been supported by the Rainmatter Foundation. OMFF is the impact and non-profit arm of the Organic Mandya which has focused on bringing knowledge and information to farmers in Mandya district about chemical-free, zero budget natural farming methods and supporting women farmers. @madhuchandan started Organic Mandya as a movement over 8 years ago as he recognized the need for conservation of not only the rural lands and biodiversity in his homeland but also recognizing the importance of bringing back pride in “farming” and rural life. Over the last 8 years, Organic Mandya has created a sense of community and has gathered a large following through Madhu’s work. We hope to capitalise on this to change mindsets towards agriculture, environment and also over all rural life.

OMFF along with Mandya Organic Farmers Co-operative Society (“MOFCS”) ( a co-op society which was set by the farmers who took on the mission of organic farming) has conducted various activities to help small & marginal farmers, women farmers and their children. Here is a snippet of various activities that werre conducted over the years :

ORGANIC FARMING AWARENESS PROGRAM:

Awareness programs were conducted in every village in Mandya District among the farmers about Organic Farming. So far, these programs have been conducted in more than 80 villages. In some instances, skits and street plays were performed on the disadvantages of chemical farming and advantages of Organic Farming.


Kommerahally Village Awareness

FREE ORGANIC FARMING TRAININGS:

We has been actively promoting organic farming and hosted over 15 training sessions at the Organic Mandya store in Mudagere. Each session draws anywhere between 200 to 250 participants from various parts of Karnataka and neighboring states. Resource persons, Mr. Kumaraswamy Sathenahalli and Mr. Krishna BT, share their knowledge on organic methods of farming, focusing on growing chemical-free food while reducing cultivation costs. Additionally, @madhuchandan , describes the marketing platforms available for organic products.

In the training program importance of organic farming and harmful effects of chemical farming is taught. Participants are also trained on preparing 5 Amruthas - Beejaamrutha, Jeevamrutha, Sasyamrutha, Nelamrutha and Dhanyamrutha as a substitute for the chemicals.

Distribution of Desi Cows to the Farmers:

MOFCS & OMFF have distributed more than 1000+ Desi Cows through different Goshalas. The Desi Cows were distributed to the farmers who were interested to start Natural/Organic Farming. Not only for Farming operations but these Cows also yield milk (A2 milk) which adds as a nutriotional supplement to the household. We believe there is a need to reintroduce local breeds of animals within the agro-ecological ecosystem. They are not only a great source of nutrition but also help in applying the Zero Budget Natural Farming methods.

Weekly Organic Flea Market

Every week OM Farmers Foundation Organizes ‘Savayava Sante’ (Organic Mela) which is a direct platform between Farmers and Consumers. The Organic growers sell their produce to the consumers directly without involving any middleman. The ‘Savayava Sante’ is set up near near DC office- Mandya. Organic Farmers from different villages of Mandya District use the stalls which are provided and sell their Produce directly to the consumers. The major Organic produces being sold are Jaggery, Green leafy vegetables, Banana , Papaya, Radish, Bhindi, Honey, Fruit saplings, Snacks items like Millet based fried items. This Sante program helps both Farmers and Consumers - it helps Farmers sell their produce directly to customer at good market price without interference from any middleman and the Consumers get to consume fresh and healthy food.

Sweat Donation Programs in Farmer’s Field:

In an effort to educate and create awareness of the challenges in agriculture and the need for it, we connect the Farmers (producers) to Urbanites (consumers) in its sweat donation program. The program has been a success with many Corporates, School & Colleges requesting to take part in the activity. During the visit, the participants work in the Farmers’ field doing any one of the activities like - sowing, planting, weeding or harvesting depending on the season. The participants are then served village style food by the farmer & their family. Additionally, the participants also get to understand the full farm to table - lifecylce of food through a tour of Organic Mandya warehouse and production facility.


Farmers Welfare

We distributed Rain Coats to rural Farmers and Farm women. It was observed that most women farmers would use old shirts over their sarees while working in the field to protect their clothing from water and dirt. The rain coats would help in protecting them from rain while working in the wet paddy fields. We is also distributed Diesel Cans to Farmers who own Tractors and Power tillers. These cans will be useful to bring Diesel to their tractors and power tillers i.e., useful for field activities. We trust these little nudges will encourage more participation in agriculture for women and also other small and marginal farmers through the year.


Women Employment

We also conducted women skilling training programs. A volunteer from Bangalore visited and trained women who were part of one of the SHGs on koudi (blanket) stitching.


Mane munde market(Door step market to the Organic growers)

To help small small farmers and women farmers growing organic produce in their kitchen gardens, We started the Mane Munde Market program where an Organic Mandya vehicle was sent to their field and the produce was collected by OMFF team. This helps the farmer’s in saving their time and money(transportation).

Our field officer Jayalakshmi sometimes travels in bus to go and procure the produce while on her regular field visits.

New Farmer Model ‘BED MODEL-METHOD’:

In Mandya there is low crop diversification. Majority of the Farmers will grow Paddy or Sugarcane or Ragi as their major crop during the year. To promote crop diversification and Natural Farming method, we are piloting the Raised Bed model. The Raised Bed Model has the potential where a farmer can earn Rs.1 lakh per month from 1 acre of land. In this method, the farmer has to do raised beds in his field while cultivating, leafy veggies, ground veggies, ground veggies and creepers. Once the crops are ready to harvest, OMFF team along with MOFCS will send the vehicles to the Farmers field and procure their produce from them. This project in pilot mode and we expect over 500 farmers in Mandya district to adopt this during this year.


We have a long way to go in creating larger meaningful change to the rural ecosystem in Mandya. With renewed sense of commitment to making rural life aspiring and sustainable we now have created a more focused approach to catering to varied challenges in Mandya. More on that soon !

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