The two third of the population of India are farmers and out of which, a vast majority are small and marginal farmers. Nearly one third of the population especially from rural areas is landless and unskilled agricultural labors with a large proportion of women. The reason behind the food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty among children, women and men is the lack of adequate purchasing power to access balanced diets and clean drinking water. In this context, the families’ inadequate possession of assets like land, livestock, and poultry or fish ponds will have to be supported to improve the productivity of their resource endowments in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. The challenge in the case of asset less or land less agriculture labor is enhancing the economic value of their time and labor by making them skilled work force in non-farm sector through market driven micro-enterprises supported by micro-credit. The rural artisans are also to be further strengthened to assist in improving the agriculture efficiency and competitiveness especially in value addition or post harvesting technologies.
Aiswaryagram is a training/research centre of SAFP put up in the year 1988. The objective of Aiswaryagram is to promote, facilitate and play a pro-active role in empowering and strengthening the primary agriculture and allied sectors to generate rural employment, increase the outputs of agriculture & allied activities for achieving food security and reduces the cost & improves the quality of farming inputs to make farming cost–effective.
Empower and build up the Agricultural sector of Kerala and thereby contribute to the sustainable development
i. Capacity building.
Aiswaryagram focuses on improving the skill and knowledge base of farmers and all related actors in farming sector through awareness programs and skill development trainings in areas such as various agriculture techniques, integrated farming, water saving irrigation methods, livestock management, marketing, value addition of products, poverty reduction, food security etc. The thrusts of these programs are to empower the farmers as well as all the related actors to compete with the global challenges and also to influence the government to come up with relevant policies for strengthening the farming sector.
ii. Promoting ‘community models’
The 24 acre farm is a live laboratory for farming experimentations with a vision to develop and popularize economically and environmentally sound farming practices. The in-house experienced technicians of Aiswaryagram together with the expertise from various research institutions facilitate the evolution of ‘replicable community models’ in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, livestock development and poultry through integrating traditional wisdom of farmers as well as modern scientific technologies. It also extends technical support services in agriculture, horticulture, livestock development and poultry to needy farmers and farmer’s associations/clubs.
iii. Promoting sustainable agriculture.
Sustainable agriculture is considered as the economically and environmentally sustainable approach to guarantee holistic health, food security, food production and economical well being. It improves the soil fertility, retains water in soil and conserves bio-diversity, which eventually increases the productivity of land. The major aspects or essential ingredients of sustainable agriculture practices are
Natural resource management,
Organic manure production,
Bio-pesticide production & use
Aiswaryagram promotes non-conventional energy resources such as
Wind energy etc.
Aiswaryagram also promotes and popularizes sustainable agriculture especially among the small and marginal farmers by integrating all the above said important aspects. The 30 Acre a farm of Aiswaryagram is a model farm practicing sustainable agriculture.
Multi crop system.
Aiswaryagram promotes and practices multi crop system. The experience teaches us that the prizes of agricultural commodities are not steady always. It varies time to time. One commodity prize increases while another decreases. Depending on single crop will lead the farmers to desperation when the cost of that agriculture commodity comes down. Multi crop system compensate the income of the farmers with another commodity.
iv. Avail quality seeds and seedlings to farmers.
The production and distribution of quality seeds and seedlings to farmers in subsidized rate is very important for strengthening the farming sector. A well established nursery is functioning as part of Aiswaryagram to meet the community demand of superior seeds and plant sapling. The competent and well experienced plant technicians, access to subject experts and linkages with various agriculture research centers and universities ensure the availability advanced hybrid and disease resistant varieties of plant saplings.
v. Promote partnership and net working for development.
Development and empowerment will not be realized with a fragmented or one stretched effort. Step by step and long term planning are essential for it. Aiswaryagram promotes and establishes new partnerships and networking with various governmental agencies, research institutions, financial institutions and non governmental organizations to address the issues of the farming sectors and farmers on long term basis. As a social organization having people base, Aiswaryagram acts as a link between grass roots community organizations and various governmental agencies/research stations for knowledge & resource mobilization. It also highlights the need of the policy analysis, knowledge generation and policy advocacy.
a. Department of Science and Technology
b. Council for Advancement of peoples Action and Rural Technology. CAPART
c. Agricultural University, Mannothy. Trichur
d. Piggery Breading Centre Trichur.
e. Spices Board, Cochin
f National Horticulture Board, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India
vi. Promoting research.
Aiswaryagram facilitates and promotes participatory researches in rural development, rural resource management, rural marketing, natural resource management, bio-diversity promotion, non conventional energy resources, sustainable farming, composting, livestock development, rural technology upgradatation etc. The collaboration and linkages with various research institutions, national and international governmental agencies, research centers and voluntary organizations are playing a pro-active role in our participatory action research (PAR) and technology development (PTD) processes.