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Sustaining Organic Farming in Kerala: Farmers

Apprehensions & Appreciation Approach & way


A Project Report Submitted In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements for

the degree of Master Of Business Administration [MBA]

Major Project/Institutional Training

Done By :

Santhi Krishna.B.S

Department of Economic Analysis and Research

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development

September 2015

This is to certify that the Project Report titled Sustaining Organic Farming in Kerala: Farmers

Apprehensions & Appreciation Approach & way Forward submitted by Santhi Krishnan.B. S,

Reg. No 14MBA1113 to VIT Business School, VIT University, Chennai in partial fulfilment of

the requirements for the degree of Master of Business Administration is a bonafide record of

work carried out by him / her under my supervision. The contents of this report, in full or in part

have not been submitted in any form to any other institute or university for the award of any

degree or diploma

Programme Manager Faculty Guide

Internal Examiner External Examiner


I, Santhi Krishna.B.S, a Bonafide student of the VIT Business School, VIT University, Chennai,
hereby declare that the project report titled Sustaining Organic Farming in Kerala: Farmers
Apprehensions & Appreciation Approach & way Forward in partial fulfillment of the
requirements of the Degree of Master of Business Administration of the VIT University, is my
original work.


Place: Chennai

Santhi Krishna.B.S
Reg. No.: 14MBA1113


I deem it a privilege to record my sincere thanks to Vice-President Mr. G. V. Selvam and Pro-
Vice Chancellor Dr. Anand Samuel for the consistent encouragement shown to us through our
course of study.
Its my privilege to express heartfelt thanks to the Executive Director Dr. M.J Xavier and the
Program Manager Dr Sudarsanam for their kind encouragement.
I would like to express my deep sense of respect and gratitude towards my advisor and guide Dr.
G. Shankar, who has been the guiding force behind this work. I am greatly indebted to him for
his constant encouragement, invaluable advice and for propelling me further in every aspect of
my academic life. His presence and optimism have provided an invaluable influence on my
career and outlook for the future. I consider it my good fortune to have got an opportunity to
work with such a wonderful person.
I would like to thank my mentor at NABARD, Mrs. Usha K, for constantly supporting me in
making my project during my training period. I would also like to thank Senior HR Manager
(Welfare) Mr. Sathish, who was in charge of implementation of this project and other
management team at NABARD who directly or indirectly helped me in my project.
On the onset, I would also like to thank my father Mr. M. Balakrishnan and my uncle Dr.
Baskaran, who courteously responded to my queries and guided me in giving the final shape to
the report.
Lastly I would like to thank my friends, all our departmental staff members and well-wishers
who encouraged me to do this work and all those who contributed directly or indirectly in
completing it.
Santhi Krishna.B.S

Executive Summary

Abstract Purpose: The main purpose of the project is to understand the unique characteristics
and challenges faced by organic farmers belonging to the state of Kerala. Conduct a farm income
analysis to evaluate the economic sustainability of the organic farms and provide appropriate
recommendations to State for formulation of agricultural policy that would promote sustainable
farming practices and deliver necessary support to organic farmers.

Design/methodology/approach: Structured interview were conducted with the various

stakeholders including State Horticulture Mission, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council
Keralam, Kudumbashree, Kerala Agricultural University, Department of Agriculture, Kerala. A
questionnaire was designed to investigate unique characteristics and challenges faced by farmers
of Kerala. The measurement scales used here is a combination of nominal, ordinal and Interval
scales. The survey was conducted among 100 farmers, 25 from each district including
Kasaragod, Wayanad, Idukki and Thiruvananthapuram who represented the total population of
the farmers in Kerala. The survey was also conducted among the various agencies such as High
Range Organic Producers Society, Idukki (HOPS), Kerala Agricultural Developmental Society,
Mankulam (KADS), Organic Agriculture consortium society, Wayanad (WOACS) and
International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture , Kasaragod (ICCOA).
Findings: Though Kerala government is spending substantial financial amount for organic
farming, it is not reaching the farmers in the appropriate manner. Most of the schemes
implemented by agencies using SHM funding are concentrating on certifying farmers. Though
some of these agencies work on exporting cash crops from the certified farmers there by
providing premium price for them, very less marking effort was done for domestic market. Thus
certification via agencies concentrates on exporting products and does not improve food safety or
sustainability of Kerala. Government schemes should be redesigned to increase production and
promote domestic market. Government of Kerala should create policy covering ten years:
involving coordination among various government departments such as Irrigation, Vetenary,
Land use board, Forestry, Tribal development, SHM, VFPCK, and Agriculture University. All
these departments should work in sync to encourage Organic Farming practices.

Practical implications: The ndings indicate that making Kerala hundred percent organic
cannot be achieved within a short period of time. It requires a gradual change and the concerted
efforts of various government departments.

Originality/value: The paper provides useful information for organizations promoting organic
farming or the authorities planning to improve the adoption of organic farming in Kerala.


Chapter Title Page No

Chapter 1 Introduction 8
1.1 Principles of Organic Farming 10
1.2 Benefits of sustainable agriculture 11
1.3 Challenges 11
1.4 Statement of Problem 13
1.5 Objectives 13
1.6 Significance and Need of the study 13
1.7 Scope of the study 14
1.8 Limitations of the study 14
Chapter 2 Organization Profile 15
2.1 Chapter Introduction 15
2.2 About the Organization 15
2.3 Chapter Summary 17
Chapter 3 Literature Review 18
3.1 Chapter Introduction 18
3.2 Review 18
3.3 Chapter Summary 26
Chapter 4 Research Methods 27
4.1 Chapter Introduction 27
4.2 Instrument Used 27
4.3 Sources of data 27
4.4 Scales 28
4.5 Sampling and Sample Size 28
4.6 Data Collection 28
4.7 Statistical Techniques used 28
4.8 Research Design 28
4.9 Chapter Conclusion 29
Chapter 5 Analysis and Interpretation 30
5.1 5.1 Chapter Introduction 30

5.2 5.2 Organic Standards 30
5.3 5.3 Organic Certifications 30
5.4 5.4 Official Stakeholders for organic farming 31
5.5 5.5 Analysis of Farmers survey 35
5.6 5.6 Agencies working on marketing and certification 47
5.7 5.7 SWOC Analysis 50
5.8 5.8 Chapter Conclusion 51
Chapter 6 Suggestions 52
6.1 6.1 Chapter Introduction 52
6.2 6.2 Suggestions 52
6.3 6.3 Proposed business model for organic farming clusters 55
6.4 6.4 Chapter Summary 57
Chapter 7 Conclusion 58
Chapter 8 References 59
Chapter 9 Appendix 63
Appendix 1: Tips for improving yield 63
Appendix 2: Models that can be replicated 64
Appendix 3: Interview schedules 65

Chapter 1
The Oxford English Dictionary denes organic as produced without articial fertilizers or
pesticides. In simple terms, sustainable cultivation is the production of food, fibre, plant or
animal products using agricultural methods that protect environment, public health, animal

welfare, and future human generations. This method of farming helps in producing healthy food
without affecting ability of future generation to do so.

Farming is sustainable if it is socially responsible, economically viable and ecologically sound.

All the three are important to sustainability and they must be in harmony. A method of farming
that exploits natural resources or pollutes the natural environment is soon deprived of its ability
to produce quality food products.

Willar (2015) observed that organic agriculture is developing exponentially, across 170 countries
of the world. 43.1 million hectares which constitute one per cent of the agricultural land of the
world is being organically cultivated by about 1.4 million farmers. The regions with the biggest
area of organically cultivated farming land are Oceania (17.3 million hectares), Latin America
(6.5 million hectares), Europe (11.4 million hectares) and Asia (3.4 million hectares). The
countries with the largest organic farm land are Australia (17.2 million hectares), USA (2.2
million hectares) and Argentina (3.2 million hectares). The countries with the highest numbers of
producers are India (650,000 farmers), Uganda (189,000 farmers) and Mexico (169,000 farmers).
In India about .5 million hectares are under organic cultivation.

As per the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)
(2013-14), India currently ranks tenth in terms of organic certified farmland among the top ten
countries. The total area which is organic certified in India is 4.72 million hectare. The certified
area includes farming area of 0.71 million hectare (15%) and remaining 3.98 million hectare
(85%) is forest and wild area.

India produced around 1.24 million Metric tons of organic certified products including
Vegetables, Cotton, Sugarcane, Basmati rice, Fruits, Pulses, Oil Seeds, Coffee, Spices, Dry fruits,
Tea, functional food products and other value added products. The largest area under organic
certification among all states is in Madhya Pradesh followed by Himachal Pradesh and

During 2013-14, India exported about 135 products with a total volume of 1, 94,088 Metric
tons including 16,322 Metric tons of organic textiles. Organic products are usually exported to
New Zealand, Switzerland, United States, Canada, Australia, Middle East, European Union,
South East Asian countries, South Africa etc. The organic agricultural export realization was
around US$403 million. This also included US$183 organic textiles which registered a 7.73per
cent increase in export compared to the previous year.

Among the products exported, Oil seeds - Soybean accounts for 70% of the export followed
by Cereals & Millets other than Basmati (6%), Basmati Rice (4%), Sugar (3%), processed food
products (5%), Tea (2%), dry fruits (1%), Spices (1%), Pulses and Lentils (1%) and others.

Organic Farming in Kerala

The emerging global prospects for organic farm produce and the realisation of long-lasting
damages caused to soils by chemical fertilisers and pesticides have propelled a shift to organic
farming methods. Further the ill effects of chemical farming on health have forced the state of

Kerala to adopt sustainable organic farming. Kerala has signalled a Bio farming Mission,
targeting a full switch over to organic agriculture by 2016. Micro level campaigns, starting from
panchayat level is underway. Panchayats and Assembly constituencies in the state achieving the
set goals in total organic farming will be honoured and rewarded. The state government has also
initiated the promotion of the brand Safe to Eat. A global meet was organised at Kochi from 6-
8 November 2014 to provide more impetus to this initiative. The meet provided a platform for
Kerala farmers to exhibit their organic products. The meet could also identify business
opportunities, help forge business partnerships, share best practices from different countries with
farmers and showcase Keralas potential for organic farming.

As per the Kerala State Organic farming policy, the government, under the aegis of the National
Horticulture Mission (NHM), plans to popularize organic farming in the entire state in a phased
manner. The district of Kasaragod has been declared fully organic in 2012.

The State Horticulture Mission (SHM) has also kept in pipeline the possibility of Organic
Certification for farmers. The government-certified agency will give organic certification to the
farming clusters after soil sample testing and leaf analysis for three years. Banana, pineapple,
mango, guava, litchi, pear, strawberry, passion fruit, cut flowers, loose flowers, pepper,
cinnamon, clove, ginger, turmeric, cocoa, cashew, aromatic and medicinal plants are some of the
National Horticulture Mission (NHM) mandated crops for organic farming.

During the Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) Global Meet held at Kochi on Jan 2015, the Indian
Association Sharjah expressed their willingness to do organic farming across Kerala over a
minimum area of 50 acres in all 14 districts in Kerala. At the three-day Global Agro Meet and
exhibition of organic products BIOFACH India 2014 at Kurkutty, near Angamaly, Poly-house
cultivation is one of the flagship programmes in the current State Plan. The Netherlands will
transfer the required technology for the centre. Experts from the Wageningen University, The
Netherlands, along with Kerala Agricultural University will train master trainers in poly-house

Kerala has lacked a strategic vision in the promotion of Organic farming till date. All its
activities, until now, have been under the aegis of the Central Government. In such a scenario,
the present steps taken by the State Government provide a positive vision for the organic farming
community and to the consumers as a whole, which can now, rest assured, be hopeful of a truly
fruitful venture ahead.

1.1 Principles of Organic Farming

The organic way of food manufacture maintains principles of sustainability, natural plant
fertilization, natural pest management, ecological balance, biodiversity, and soil integrity.

Organic food manufacture has certain features:

Organic farming is done by farmers who use farming methods in equilibrium with the
natural environment, using materials and methods that reduce adverse effect on the
surroundings. An organic farmer is dedicated in maintaining the natural balance of the
ecosystem by maintaining biodiversity, fostering healthy soil, and adequate growing

Organic products are created on farmland that is free from toxic chemical pesticides and
manures for at least three years prior to certification. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers
are not used for cultivation. Organic farmers encourage useful bio-predators that eat
pests. Composted and recycled crop wastes and animal manures are used. (VanTine and
Verlinder, 2003).

In organic farms, crops are cultivated on a rotation basis. Crops belonging to different
families are rotated in the field. This reduces consistent pest attacks and improves the
quality of soil. Cover crops such as clover are cultivated to prevent weeds and increase
nutrients to the soil. (Frick and Johnson, 2006).

Organic poultry, meat and egg are produced in farms that use organic feeds to feed
animals. They do not use antibiotics or additional hormones to promote growth. They
provide the space and freedom to birds and animals to behave naturally. (Granatstein,

In a more sustainable arrangement, animals are permitted to carry out their natural
behaviours, like grazing or pecking, rooting etc. A farmer using sustainable organic
methods of farming give the animals ample space to move around naturally and are
comfortable, healthy, and well cared for.(Granatstein, 2009).

To produce a healthy crop an organic farmer needs to manage the soil well. This involves
considering soil structure, soil life and soil nutrients.

1.2Benefits of sustainable agriculture

Preservation of Environment

Farmers in sustainable farms raise animals and produce crops without depending on
genetically modified seeds, practices that degrade soil water, or other natural resources
and toxic chemical manures and pesticides,. By growing a diverse variety of plants and
using methods such as pasture-based livestock husbandry, conservation tillage and crop
rotation, sustainable farms protect biodiversity and promote the maintenance and
development of healthy environments, which in turn increases long-term soil fertility.

Public Health Protection

Sustainable organic farms avoid harmful pesticides and fertilizers. They grow vegetables
and fruits that are safe for customers, farmers, and neighbouring communities. Similarly
sustainable livestock farmers nurture animals without using hazardous practices like use
of arsenic-based growth promoters or non-therapeutic antibiotics. Through responsible
and careful management of livestock waste, sustainable farming also protect living beings
from exposure to toxins, pathogens, and other hazardous pollutants.

Sustain farmer Communities

An important concept of sustainable farming is the ability to remain economically
sustainable, providing farmers, food processors, farm-workers and others employed in
farming with a sustainable income and fair and safe working environment. Sustainable
farms also strengthen regional and local economies, create more jobs and build strong
societies. They produce feed for animals, nutritious food and high quality crops to sell at
a good price.

Upholding Animal Welfare

Sustainable farmers treat birds and animals with care and respect. They implement animal
husbandry practices that protect animals health and wellbeing. By raising livestock on
pasture, these farmers enable their animals to move freely, engage in instinctive
behaviours, consume a natural diet, and avoid the stress and illness associated with

1.3 Problems
Adverse climatic conditions pose threat to profitable organic cultivation of certain crops.
Farmers are not well versed with pest surveillance, which forms a n important part of
sustaining organic farming
Lack of expertise on creation of organic manure, crop rotation, Good Agricultural
practices (GAP) prohibits large scale extension of organic farm production.
Farmers most often experience a reduction in output while converting their farms to
organic. The period depends on the damage already done to the soil. This could range
from three to eight years depending on the quality of soil. This is time period between
lowering of chemical inputs and restoration of sufficient biological activity to the land
(Reijntjes 1994).
Many studies conclude that organic farms require significantly greater labour input than
modern farms (Knoblach 1990). Hence organic farmers have to bear the extra cost of
labour which increases the cost of production.

Developing countries suffer from number of constraints including the poor logistics, lack
of processing, storage and package facilities. Unavailability of required information is a
major obstacle to conversion to organic method of farming (FAO 1999).
The lab tests by National Centre for Organic Farming in 2010 also proved that more than
35 per cent of the 983 samples of organic manures were found to be substandard. The
two government run Fertiliser Quality Testing Labs, in Pattambi and
Thiruvananthapuram, do not have the facility to test organic fertilizers.
Studies related to organic farming methods are insufficient. Farmers and extension staff
hardly ever receive adequate training. Furthermore, in developing countries, institutional
support for organic farming is insufficient and most often are not effective (FAO 1999).
Majority of farmers are lease land farmers. Lease land cultivators do not prefer organic
farming as their aim is to extract maximum output from the farm land within short period
of time.
Another main problem is the dominance of small farmers with less initial and working
capital, very low purchasing power and poverty. Therefore organic farmers in developing
countries require technical and financial assistance in order to use production techniques
to get the desired results and meet required standards from organic farming practices.
Most developing countries suffer from inadequate market information such as which
products to grow, which markets and distribution channels to choose, competition and
market access.
Farmers and marketing firms wishing to sell organic products should hire organic
certification agency for certification. This includes annual inspection to confirm that they
are adhering to organic farming standards. Individual third party certification could be an
expensive service.
Insurance cover is not available against wild animal and pest attack. Insurance cover is
now available for only adverse weather conditions and is not attractive for farmers
pursuing organic farming.

1.4 Statement of Problem

Kerala government is planning on converting Kerala to be hundred per cent organic by 2016. But
the state of Kerala is not currently self sufficient in food production. It depends on imports from
other states for its food requirements. The imported food materials received from neighbouring
states are inlaid with chemical pesticides and fertilizers which are harmful for the health of the
consumers. In this scenario it is important to increase food production in Kerala through
sustainable organic farming. The State Government is yet to come out with a vision document
on organic farming. It is important to study the prospects and problems of sustaining organic
farming in the light of the apprehensions and appreciation of farmers with respect to organic
farming. Also a sustainable model should be developed and sufficient data for policy formation
should be collected. Thus the statement of problem is whether organic farming can be pursued
in a sustainable manner, what are the apprehensions and appreciation of farmers with respect to
organic farming methods, the approach to be followed and the way forward.
1.5 Objectives

The objectives of the present study are

1) Find the organizations responsible for implementing vision of making Kerala fully
organic state by 2016.
2) Conduct survey among organic farmers in Kerala, which enable determination of the
status of the extent of organic agriculture in the state.
3) Understand the unique characteristics and challenges faced by organic farmers. Conduct a
farm income analysis to evaluate the economic sustainability of the organic farms.
4) Provide appropriate recommendations to State for formulation of an organic farming
policy that would promote sustainable farming practices and deliver necessary support to
organic farmers.

1.6 Significance and Need of the study:

Despite the substantial number of researches that supports organic farming, existing organic
farmlands in Kerala are yet to be studied. There is no organized study done on the status,
prospects and problems of organic farming in Kerala. Study has to be done on the various
organic farming methods being practised for organic farming. In view of the eco-climatic-
cultural changes in Keralas farming, study has to be conducted to identify the critical factors
affecting sustainable organic farming in the state. There is a need to develop a replicable model
for sustainable organic farming in the state.

Studies have to be done on the possibility of applying organic agricultural techniques uniformly
in the context of the diverse climatic, agricultural and altitudinal circumstances prevalent in
Kerala. For organic agriculture to be accepted as a viable substitute, State government support
should be made available for implementation and propagation. The current research attempts to
close this gap so that the information created would be useful for implementation of milestone of
making Kerala hundred per cent organic.
1.7 Scope of the study:
The output of the study will identify the type of organic farming being practiced, farmers
preferences with regard to crops cultivated, status, backward and forward linkages and the
apprehensions and appreciations of farmers on organic farming. The geographic scope of the
study is the state of Kerala. The topical scope of the project is to get a complete idea about
organic farming in Kerala. The study will identify the constraints in the supply chain and
suggest means to overcome the same.
1.8 Limitations of the study:
The project was done as part of two months internship project at National Bank for Agriculture
and Rural Development (NABARD). Hence there were limitations in terms of time and cost.
This restricted the survey to four districts of Kerala state including Kasaragod, Wayanad, Idukki
and Thiruvananthapuram. The farmers in these four districts are expected to be representative of
those in Kerala state as a whole. These were the only limitations of this project.

Chapter 2
Organization Profile
2.1 Chapter Introduction:

The organization in which the internship and the project were done by the researcher was
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) which is located at
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The internship was taken up in the department of Human Resource
Management and it proved to be very useful and informative.

2.2 About the Organization

2.2.1 National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

NABARD is an apex development bank in India. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra

with Regional Offices, Sub offices and District Development Offices spread across India.
NABARD was established on 12th July 1982. Its main objective is uplifting rural India by
increasing credit flow for the improvement of agriculture and rural non-farm sector. It has been
accredited with "matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit
for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India". Government of India now
holds 99 per cent stake in NABARD. NABARD is active in developing financial
inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion. NABARDs mission is
to promote equitable and sustainable farming and rural prosperity through effective credit
support, related services, institution development and other innovative initiatives.

2.2.2 Role of NABARD in promoting Organic farming

NABARD had identified organic farming as a thrust area for development through credit. It
promotes organic farming through support systems by way of potential mapping, nancial
interventions: refinance, Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) loans to State
Governments, channelizing Government of Indias Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS)
for production of Organic inputs, Promotional support and developmental initiatives.

Policy planning: NABARD is closely associated with National Centre of Organic Farming
(NCOF), National Horticulture Board (NHB) and National Health Mission (NHM) and Coconut
Development Board

Potential mapping: Potential Linked credit Plans (PLP) is created to identify the exploitable
potentials under agriculture and other activities for development through credit. PLPs are
consolidated at the state level to create State Focus Paper (SFP) which is discussed at the state
level. Through SFP, NABARD assesses the potential for promoting organic farming. Potentials
are also assessed through investment specific studies such as Organic tea in Darjeeling. Potential
has been found to exist as a part of Wasteland development program, dry land agriculture and
post watershed development

Production Credit:
Production credit/ crop loan for organic production of short duration/ annual crops
Crop loan support provided to State Commercial Banks (SCB), State Cooperative
Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (SCARDB)

Investment Credit:

For organic production of long duration or tree crops or organic input production units
through eligible Institutions such as Commercial Banks or Regional Rural Banks (RRB),
State Commercial Banks (SCB), State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development
Banks (SCARDB) and other Financial Institutions such as Primary Urban Co-operative
Banks (PUCB),North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited
(NEDFi),Agricultural Development Finance Companies (ADFC) and Non-Banking
Financial Company(NBFC)

RIDF Support

RIDF loans granted to state governments for infrastructure development. As a spin off effect
to irrigation projects financed under RIDF, organic farming could be promoted as a
downstream activity.

Channelizing Government of Indias Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) for

Organic Input Production Units

Implementing agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India

Eligible Activities: bio-pesticides, bio-fertilizers & fruit/ vegetable waste compost
Credit Linked Back ended Subsidy: up to 25% of the TFO (subject to the max. of
Rs.24 lakhs for bio-fertilizer or pesticide units and Rs.63 lakhs for compost units)

Cluster Development
Under Cluster development support was provided to Cashew Processing cluster in
Sindhudurg, Maharashtra and Organic Vegetable cluster in Bhilangna in
Pherigarhwal, Uttarakhand

Wadi based Tribal Development Programme

NABARD is actively involved in developing WADI/ Orchards. E.g. Mango, cashew
and forestry species (periphery) in the tribal belt of Maharashtra and Gujarat through
Corporate like ITC procure the default organic produce from the Wadis.
This programme is being replicated throughout the country, funded by NABARD
from its Tribal Development Fund (TDF)

Developmental Initiatives
NABARD has prepared and introduced 3 model schemes on
Compost making unit (Coir pith; Vermicompost)
Bio pesticide units
Bio Fertilizer units

NABARD has published model bankable schemes for organic cultivation of Mango, Passion
Fruit, Banana, Grapes, Coffee, Ginger, Turmeric, Tomato and Chilly.

Rural Innovation Fund (RIF)
Some of the projects supported under RIF are
Conversion of Mango peel into Organic manure in Tamilnadu
Organic production of vegetable seeds/ seedlings in Orissa
Development and preparation of bio-pesticides through Self Help Groups(SHG), in
Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Production and marketing of Organic milk through women SHGs in Himachal

Farm Innovation and Promotion Fund (FIPF):

Assistance has been provided to Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board for, solar

Research & Development Fund (R&D)

Under the R&D Fund, the following trainings and research project has been supported by
Economic feasibility study on Organic cultivation of Rose onion and Gherkin- Indian
Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bangalore
Special Training Program on Organic Mango at Theni, Tamilnadu
Two tailor made training programme for all stake holders of North Indian States at
Banker Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), Lucknow
Watershed Development Fund (WDF)
Under WDF, grant/ loan component was provided under the Prime Ministers Programme
for development in 31 distress districts.

Capacity Building for adoption of Technology (CAT)

NABARD supports exposure visit for farmers

2.3 Chapter Summary:

This chapter helped in understanding about the organization in detail. It included the history of
the organization which extends to more than thirty years.

Chapter 3
Literature review

3.1 Chapter Introduction:

There has been an exponential increase in literature on organic agriculture in the last decade,
indicating its increasing significance. These studies can be classified under three categories.

i) Those explaining the issues of modern farming methods and proposing alternative
farming methods like permaculture, zero budget farming, natural farming etc.
ii) Those dealing with the guidelines and practices of organic agriculture
iii) Those that study the effect of bio-inputs, revenue quality of farming produce and cost
benefit analysis.

A slow gradual conversion from conventional agriculture to organic farming has been recognised
as the main solution to address the current problems in farming. This circumstance has resulted
in a spurge of studies in organic agriculture and related farming techniques. In process of
understanding the concept of sustainable organic farming, a number of journals were read and
reviewed. The research articles were grouped based on various factors to get a clear picture.
These papers were then read by the researcher and the review was written.

3.2 Review:
Initially, the researcher focussed to have a clear knowledge about sustainable organic farming,
various terminologies and statistical information related to it. This was done so as to get a clear
picture about sustainable organic farming which will be helpful for preparing the interview

3.2.1 Sustainable organic farming

As codified in the Codex Alimentarius (1999), a collection of internationally recognized

standards from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Organic agriculture is a holistic production
management system which promotes and enhances agro ecosystem health, including
biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management
practices in preference to the use of off-farm inputs, taking into account that regional conditions
require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using, where possible, cultural,
biological, and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials, to fulfil any
specific function within the system. An organic production system is designed to

a) Enhance biological diversity within the whole system;

b) Increase soil biological activity;
c) Maintain long-term soil fertility;
d) Recycle wastes of plant and animal origin in order to return nutrients to the land, thus
minimizing the use of non-renewable resources;
e) Rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems;
f) Promote the healthy use of soil, water, and air, as well as minimize all forms of pollution
thereto that may result from agricultural practices.

As per Eyhorn, F (2007) Organic farming is a systemic and all-encompassing approach to

sustainable living. Organic farming gives due importance to all the relevant factors of influence
for sustainable development. It gives due importance to physical, economic, environmental
social and cultural factors. Organic farming has a long tradition as a sustainable agriculture
system and the same has been adapted for varying local conditions and climatic zones.

Furthermore as confirmed by El-Hage, Scialabba and Hattam (2002), it has an accepted potential
as a strategy for rural community development. The main advantages of traditional method of
farming are that it includes a set of mutually optimized adapted practices. It thus includes an
entire operational agriculture system with a consistent track record for excellent result. Added to
this the organic certification offered for authentic Organic products confirms premium prices for

The statistical studies conducted by Yussefi, M and Mitscke, M, (2003); confirm that Organic
farming is now being practised across the world. The share of organic farmland is increasing.
The demand for organic produces is also growing exponentially, not only in developed countries,
but also in the developing countries. Official interest in organic form of farming has increased in
many countries. A premium price is required to reward the work of organic producers for their
contribution to conserve nature and human well-being. Price premiums also encourage new
conventional farmers to convert to organic method of cultivation.

At the International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security 2007, the Food and
Agriculture Organization reported as below: "Conversion of global agriculture to organic
management, without converting wild lands to agriculture and using Natural fertilizers, would
result in a global agricultural supply of 2640 to 4380 kcal/person/day. Sustainable intensification
in developing countries through organic practices would increase production by 56 per cent.
Organic yields on average are comparable to conventional yields; although yields do decline
initially when converting from high-input systems and almost double when converting from low-
input systems". It has been confirmed that traditional farm lands consume 32 per cent to 55 per
cent less energy per hector compared to modern farm lands.

3.2.2 History

The first exploration on the dangers of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides was established by
Rachel Carsons Silent Spring (1961). She proved the scientific certainties of the adverse
impacts of inorganic pesticides that affect ecology. Even though DDT was banned in the
developed countries and its use was abolished in the farm lands of developing countries, various
toxic chemicals in different names were used in the farmlands. Thus Rachel Carsons scientific
predictions became true. It was then that the world understood the dangers of chemical fertilizers
and pesticides. This marked the commencement of era of organic agriculture and search for non-
chemical agricultural techniques. Studies and trials on traditional farming methods and also new
methods of crop and soil management originated. Despite the determinations of the influential
chemical fertilizer companies to denigrate Rachel Carson, Silent Spring continues to be the
greatest classic in environment protection sphere.

However, Albert Howards An agricultural testament (1940) marked the beginning of modern
organic agriculture in the developed countries. He had been the Advisor for Agriculture in India
from 1905 to 1924. He established a method of farming, which highlighted using compost to
nourish the soil. The method was holistic, and not analytic. Food, farmer, consumer and land
constitute the holistic system. Howard developed composting technique based on his
experiments while in India in 1920s. He is believed to have developed this idea from farming
practices in India.

Oelhaf. R.Cs Organic Agriculture (1978) is a turning point in the history of agriculture. It is
one among the few initial studies that analysed traditional agriculture using modern scientific
methods. The side-effects of the modern agricultural chemicals and machines raise serious
questions about the overall benefits of the new technology. Chemical fertilisers and pesticides
pollute our air and water. Agricultural chemicals, including hormones and antibiotics leave
residue in food that may cause cancer or genetic damage. Soil and energy resources are being
depleted. Instead of recycling our wastes back onto land as fertiliser, we allow them to pollute
our water. We use non-renewable energy resources to produce artificial fertiliser. In the future
we may be forced to make radical adjustments on such agricultural practices.

3.2.3 Types of organic farming

Blakes (1987) Organic Farming and growing is a manual on animal husbandry utilizing the
concepts of traditional farming. It provides step-by-step guide to those considering converting
from conventional to organic forming method.

The permaculture or permanent agriculture experiments conducted by Bill Mollison and

Holmen (1970) gave hope to many organic producers all over the world. Permaculture is a
location specific farming method. It is rooted on an idea of working with nature and not against
it. The permaculture wave also had a major impact in Kerala. Many farmers who adopted this
method of farming found that it is one of the best farming methods that can be accepted for
Kerala with its heavy rainfall and topographical differences. This type of farming was found to
improve soil fertility, conserve water and improve efficiency of farms. It aims at creating farms
that are economically viable and ecologically sustainable.

The works of Fukuoka, One Straw Revolution (1978) and The Natural Way of Farming (1985)
and could be considered as the first experimentation on natural farming. Fukuoka called his
agricultural philosophy as natural farming. The system is based on the identifying the complexity
of living organisms that constitute an environment and exploiting it. Fukuoka saw agriculture not
merely as a means of producing food but as a spiritual and aesthetic way of life. The ultimate
goal of natural farming was "the cultivation and perfection of human beings".

Below are the five principles of Natural Farming:

Use of powered machines, human cultivation, ploughing or tilling of land are not
necessary for farming

Pruning of fruit trees is unnecessary

Preparing fertilizers and compost are not necessary

Weeding, by manual cultivation or by herbicides, is unnecessary. Instead use minimal
weed suppression with fewer disturbances to the environment.

Use of herbicides, insecticides and pesticides are not necessary

As discussed by George and JafriZ (2014) Zero Budget Natural Farming is a sustainable
method of farming, developed by Subash Palekar which is being practised in Kerala. It requires
zero monetary investment for purchase of farming inputs like pesticides, fertilizers seeds and
other plant protection chemicals. Subash Palekar developed several natural pesticide
formulations that can easily be made from ingredients available to farmers. Farmers can grow
local varieties of crops without using chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Since it requires zero
budget this type of farming needs no institutional credit and dependence on hired labour is also
reduced. All that this system requires is native breed of cattle which in most cases form an
integral part of farming families in rural areas. It is proved that one local cow is sufficient to
implement this method of farming on thirty acres of land.

3.2.4 Marketing

Hutchins and Greenhalgh (1997) studied marketing strategies used in the field of organic
farming. The study analyses results of a customer survey which shows that customers are
confused about the significance of the word organic. The present techniques for marketing and
labelling of organic products are not found to be effective. He proposes that organic farmers
should consider strategic marketing planning and customer research for satisfying a competitive
market which has better prospective than what is presently realized. For this effort to be fruitful,
senior managers in the farming sector must initiate change in marketing strategy.

A survey was conducted by the International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture
(ICCOA) in 2006 among top eight metro cities of India (which include about five per cent of the
households in India). It took into account present purchase patterns of consumer in modern retail
format. The study concludes that the market potential for organic produce in top eight metros of
the country was about Rs 562 crore in 2006. The total market potential in India is estimated to be
around Rs.1452 crore.

The survey conducted by Athanasios Krystallis and George Chryssohoidis, (2005) for organic
fruits and vegetables shows that they are perceived differently from other products by consumers
in Greece. Consumers exhibit high degree of willingness to pay more for organic fruits and
vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are among the very few organic products easily found in the
Greek market and are the organic produces that most Greek customers buy. Thus, customers are
more familiar with the idea of paying premium price to buy organic produce, and hence their
willingness to play more for these particular produces reects their actual behaviour.

3.2.5 Subsidies

The researcher also probed into impact of government subsidies and found that Lohr and
Salommonson examined the impact of conversion subsidies in organic farmers in Sweden. The

study found that providing extension services and market information to famers are more useful
than conversion subsidies in promoting organic farmers. Farmers with less literary rates, poor
access to extension services and insufficient infrastructure have great trouble in understanding
new techniques and concepts in organic method of cultivation. Hence it is concluded that the
success of any institutional policy design aimed at transforming inorganic farms to organic ones
depend on higher efficiency and productivity achieved by the individual organic farms.

3.2.6 Cost benefit

Studies on the financial advantage of organic farming have been the area of interest for many
researchers. As per the study conducted by Srivastava and Dhar (1982) the quality of the food
produced in soil containing combination of organic manure and phosphate is superior to that
which utilized inorganic fertilizers. It is found that the amount of vitamins, protein and minerals
are significantly higher in organically produced food items. As per Ainsworth (1989) the only
sustainable agriculture is profitable agriculture.

Another significant study was conducted by Van der Werf, E and de Jager, A (1992). The study
analyses two studies on organic farming in India. Practise and experience of 12 farmers,
transitioning from inorganic to organic farming methods, are analysed. It concluded that a
gradual approach is very important for the victory of organic farming. The duration of
conversion period depends on the earlier system of farming and the amounts of inorganic
pesticides and manures used in the farm. On an average conversion took about three to five
years. The relative performance of seven farm pairs constituting one organic and one inorganic
farm was studied. The farm pairs were analysed with reference to agronomic and financial
performance. Traditional farmlands were found to achieve similar financial results as that of
inorganic farms. There was no significant difference in the labour required per hectare. In
organic farms, livestock and trees were found to be more than that in conventional farms.

One of the most important studies in the field of organic farming was conducted by
Margasagayam N. and T Selvin Jebraj Norman (1997) on organic farming conducted in
Pudukkottai of Tamil Nadu. The study was conducted to analyse impact of organic agriculture
on yield, soil, ecology, debt, health, expenditure and income of three hundred organic producers
in Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu. It concludes that in spite of the embryonic phase of
organic agriculture, the outcomes are heartening. The study concluded that the cost benefit ratio
was higher for organic farming for some of the major crops.
Suryavanshi et al. (1997) conducted study among the grape farmers in Maharashtra. The study
shows that net returns per hector and cost-benefit ratio were significantly higher in case of
vermiculture than that in conventional farming.

Mondelaers et al. (2009) performed meta-analysis of the literature comparing the environmental
impacts of inorganic and organic methods of agriculture and connecting these to differences in
management practices. The study concluded that on an average soil in organic farms have a
greater content of organic matter. Organic agriculture contributes to natural biodiversity (wild
life) and agro-biodiversity (breeds used by the farmers). Organic agriculture scored better than
inorganic farming for phosphorous and nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions, when

expressed per production area. However, since land use efficiency of organic farms in developed
countries is lower, this positive result articulated per unit product is less pronounced.

3.2.7 Kerala General

Kerala is a narrow strip of coastal land flanked by Arabian Sea on the west and Tamil Nadu on
the east. It is located in southwest India. Kerala stretches North to South along a coastline of 590
square kilometres with width varying from 35 to 120 km. Temperature varies from 20-26 oC to
26-38oC. Rainfall varies from 1942mm to 3668mm. Thus it is a narrow strip of land forming
1.17 per cent of the total land area of India. However, it accounts for 2.76 per cent of the total
population of the Indian union making it the ninth most densely populated state in the country.
Kerala has a variety of elevation from the sea level to about 2692 m. Kerala is separated into 3
different zones: highlands, midlands and lowlands. The highlands comprise of the mountain
range of Western Ghats along the eastern part of Kerala. The highlands zone is wet and relatively
cool. It has large forest tracts. The midland contains a diverse terrain of small hills with valleys
in between. Lowlands consist of alluvial, low-lying, and fertile coastal land on the western part
of Kerala. It is the most densely populated among the three regions.

3.2.8 Kerala Agriculture

As per the Kerala Perspective Plan 2030 (2010), Kerala has been growing at an impressive rate
of over 6.3 per cent over the past two and half decades. In spite of high density of population and
comparatively smaller size, Kerala is responsible for several vital agronomic produces: Rubber
(92%), Pepper (96% of Indias production), Coconut (43%), Cardamom (70%), Cashew (85%)
and Ginger (60%). In addition to paddy fields and plantations, rural Kerala are blessed with
homestead farms that contain a wide assortment of plants and trees. Prevalence of annual tree
crops mainly rain fed farming and very small operational holdings of an average size of 0.36
hectares are the main features of Keralas agriculture. Value of product (VOP) from agriculture
per hectare of net sown area increased considerably in the state. Improvement in agricultural
productivity is a major reason behind this upswing of VOP from Rs 54,231 per hectares to Rs 97,
20 per hectares between 1990-91 and 2010-2011.

As per Madhusudanan (1995), varied farming schemes had developed in the state of Kerala. But
in the last few decades, modern, intensive cultivation was preferred against traditional
agriculture. This had an adverse effect on farming and on the culture, ecology, social life and
economy of the inhabitants. In Kerala the conversion of agriculture to agri-business is pretty
obvious. Floriculture, spices, sugarcane, oilseeds, rubber, horticulture, cashew, coffee and tea had
reduced the production of food crops.
Verghese (1995) studied the various problems in the Kerala agricultural sector. Below mentioned
were found to be some of the major problems in the field of Kerala agriculture.
Contamination of food products due to chemical manures and pesticides,
Acute shortage of skilled farm workers,
Increased construction of brick kilns and residential houses,

Reduction of the area under paddy farming mostly because of translation of farmlands for
paddy to coconut plantations,
Reducing significance of farming as a source of livelihood,
Declining share of farming in the individual earnings and total domestic production,
Fragmentation of land,
Change to long term cash crops from short term food crops resulting in reduced
employment potential.
Studies conducted by Pillai (1994) have shown that increased fertilizer usage does not
essentially lead to higher productivity in Kerala. Also studies by Thomas (1999) concluded that
the other major aspects assumed to contribute to productivity such as High Yielding
Varieties (HYV) and scientific irrigation techniques have not resulted in increasing productivity
of crops per hectare at state level.
As per Kerala Land Use Board (1997) The current farming systems lay emphasis on high yields
which are achieved by intensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and other off-farm inputs. Alternate
farming systems range from systems which follow only slightly reduced use of these inputs
through the better use of soil tests, cultivation of crops only on soils best suited to them,
integrated use of pest management, etc,. to those that seek to minimise their use through
appropriate crop rotations, integration of livestock with crop husbandry, mechanical or biological
control of weeds and less costly buildings and equipment. So for agriculture to be sustainable, it
should include a spectrum of farming systems ranging from organic systems that greatly reduce
or eliminate use of chemical inputs to those involving the prudent use of antibiotics to control
specific pests and diseases
3.2.9 Challenges faced by farmers of Kerala
In 1961, India was on the verge of mass famine. Indian government cooperated to import hybrid
varieties of wheat seed from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Centre (CIMMYT). India began its own Green Revolution program of plant breeding, financing
of agrochemicals and irrigation development. The Green Revolution substituted the time-
honoured variety of crops with high yielding crops. These varieties needed huge amounts of
inorganic fertilizers and pesticides, to realise the target growth. These new varieties of crops
foreign to soil resulted in creation of new diseases and pests. It also led to outbreaks of existing
pests. To fight these issues, more quantities of inorganic pesticides were used. Increasing use of
these chemicals let to multitude of environmental issues. Time tested traditional varieties
disappeared, microorganisms declined, water demand increased, soil lost its fertility and vitality.
In short, century old practices became extinct. The eternal connection between the farm land and
farmer was destroyed. More importantly food safety and food security became a frightening
challenge, sustainability of agriculture systems collapsed, income of farmers stagnated and cost
of cultivation increased. Biodiversity in the farm lands became history. Many species of
organisms and natural pest became extinct. In India the aerial spraying of pesticides was first
used in Konni forest division of Kerala in 1965 to control the teak defoliators. Almost 163 non-
target varieties of arthropods were destroyed within two days. The physically and mentally
retarded or handicapped children of Padri village of Kasaragod established the tragedies that
aerial spraying of chemical fertilizers and pesticides could impose on living beings.
The Modern methods of agriculture resulted in contamination of air, water, and soil. Most of the
farm produces were infested with harmful chemicals. The runoff from the agricultural fields
polluted the ponds, reservoirs, lakes, wetlands, rivers, tanks, and other water bodies and affected

aquatic life. Fishes contained high doses of chemicals and heavy metals. Incidence of fatal
diseases increased. Health hazards became unimaginably high. Cash crops became more
attractive and food crops became less attractive. Area under cash crops expanded, 17 per cent
under rubber alone, but that under food crops decreased to a meagre 10 per cent of the total area
of cultivation. Rice fields were sold to non-agricultural activities. Cultivation of food crops
became non-profitable. This led to soil erosion which in turn resulted in loss of soil fertility. The
introduction of intensive chemical agriculture and its popularity in the state for over fifty years
has led to near stagnant levels of productivity.

Many districts in Kerala, such as Wayanad are confronting intense water shortage. Economic
liberalization and World Trade Organization policies increased the miseries of the farmers by
drastically reducing the prices of agricultural products. Farmers were caught in the trap of debt
due to loan taken to meet the high cost of cultivation. These led to increasing occurrences of
farmer suicides. Investment in farming has diverted from farmers to the industries producing
inputs for cultivation. As a result net profit of farmers reduced while that of the industries
supporting farming flourished. Moreover the government policies for opening retail sector to
multinational companies impose significant danger to right of safe food and food sovereignty.
The potent danger of monopoly of seeds by multinational corporate bodies and introducing
genetically modified crops could result in permanent damage to agriculture of Kerala.

The farmers of Kerala are now sure that the sole way out is to get back to organic ways of
farming and avoiding damaging the environment. Thus organic method of cultivation, a system
having a broad principle of live and let live, was accepted all over the world.As an alternative,
to make agriculture sustainable, Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) gained
acceptance in many areas.

In the past ten years, many farmers in Kerala had started doing organic agriculture quite
sincerely. Those who returned from modern intensive farming to organic agriculture confronted
varieties of issues. The high yielding hybrid variety of seeds had to be substituted by organic
seeds. Sudden withdrawal of the inorganic pesticides, fertilizers and other inputs led to reduction
in yield. A gap of over thirty years produced a gap in the knowledge of organic farming
techniques. The existence of chemically intensive farming in many of the nearby farmlands made
it challenging to preserve organic purity of the atmosphere and soil. The organic producers are
dispersed across state with very few farmers following it earnestly. Though it has been proved
that the traditionally cultivated crop has superior quality, total productivity and economic
viability of organic farming is yet to be established.
To summarise challenge for the future generations is that the agricultural lands are degrading and
are fast becoming unstable. The balance between extensive and intensive farming methods is
uncertain. Farming knowledge over the years has revealed that disparity between existing natural
resource and crop production methods has disturbed ecological balance, reduced soil fertility,
increased soil erosion, and increased pests and diseases. The responsibility of taking up this
challenge is on organic agricultural science.

3.3 Chapter Summary:

Thus the researcher understands about Organic farming right from its origin till the current trend.
The observation has been done both qualitatively and quantitatively which has helped the
researcher get a clear picture about her research. Majority of the facts found were implemented
in the instrument (questionnaire). Thus, the literature review proved to be a major factor to
formulate the research.

Research Methods
4.1 Chapter Introduction:
Initially structured interview were conducted with the various stakeholders includingState
Horticulture Mission, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam, Kudumbashree, Kerala
Agricultural University, Department of Agriculture, Kerala. These discussions helped the
researcher understand the status of the schemes introduced to promote organic farming and the
corresponding challenges.

Survey was conducted among hundred farmers located in Thiruvananthapuram, Wayanad,

Kasaragod and Idukki districts of Kerala. The list of farmers was obtained from the Agriculture
department. Interview was also conducted among the various agencies such as High Range
Organic Producers Society, Idukki (HOPS), Kerala Agricultural Developmental Society,
Mankulam (KADS), Organic Agriculture consortium society, Wayanad (WOACS) and
International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture , Kasaragod(ICCOA).

4.2 Instrument Used:

The instrument used in this project is a structured interview which was prepared completely by
the researcher. The interview schedule was a combination of different types of scaling and it
helped in collecting huge data in a short span of time. The instrument was pretested with 30 non
sampling respondents and discussed with the organizations manager and the researchers project
guide. Few questions were added, removed and edited according to the advice of the valuators.
To check the reliability of the instrument, Cronbach's alpha was used and those questions which
did not have a score of 0.7 were eliminated. The reason was that, some respondents did not
understand certain jargons used by the researcher in the interview schedule and few questions
were complicated and caused confusion to the respondents.
4.3 Sources of Data

The primary source of data is the response to the structured interview filled by the farmers who
are located at Thiruvananthapuram, Wayanad, Kasaragod and Idukki districts of Kerala. The data
was collected over a period of one month from 25 farmers per district. The secondary source of
data was the farmers list provided by the Agriculture department, Kerala which was used to
randomly select the farmers for completing the interview. Interview was conducted among the
official stakeholders such as State Horticulture Mission, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council
Keralam, Kudumbashree, Kerala Agricultural University, Department of Agriculture, Kerala.
Data was also collected from various certification implementation agencies under state
government schemes such as High Range Organic Producers Society Idukki (HOPS), Kerala
Agricultural Developmental Society Mankulam (KADS), Organic Agriculture consortium
society Wayanad (WOACS) and International Competence Centre for Organic Kasaragod

4.4 Scales:
The interview schedule was a combination of nominal, ordinal and Interval scales. Many of the
questions followed the Likert scale. A simplified Likert scale was used because it is less biased.
It also included an open-ended question and a Ranking Order question.
4.5 Sampling and Sample size:
The type of sampling done for this research is Simple Random sampling. This is because it is
unbiased, reliable and the best type of sampling technique to make the samples representative.
The reason why the sample is said to be representative is because, the respondents were selected
in a random manner and there was no influence by the management on any respondents. Thus, it
portrays the response of the entire population, that is, it represents the population without any
bias or forced response.
Out of the total population of organic farmers obtained from Agriculture Department, hundred
farmers were selected randomly at the rate of 25 from each district Kasaragod, Wayanad, Idukki
and Thiruvananthapuram. The districts Kasaragod, Wayanad, Idukki and Thiruvananthapuram
were selected to collect samples because, during the pretesting process, the researcher
understood that these were the districts having maximum number of certified farmers and most
of the organic certification agencies were also located in these districts.
The independent factors truly represent the diversity represented by the universe and that is the
reason why these 100 samples were selected.
4.6 Data Collection:
The data collection was made possible, by getting the name list of the farmers from Agricultural
Department, selecting random members and getting the data collected from them using Hard
Copy (Photostat of the interview schedule) or Soft copy (Using Google Docs). The data was
collected during June 2015.
4.7 Statistical Techniques used:
The statistical techniques used include descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics was used so as
to describe the sample size which selected a particular category, its mean and its graphical
4.8 Research design:
The research design used in this project is Descriptive or Survey research design. The data is
collected by using interview schedule as the tool. Descriptive research method is used because
the researcher wants to describe specific behaviour as it occurs in the environment. Out of the

three types of descriptive design (observational, case study and surveys), the survey technique
has been used for this study. This is because; it will help the researcher to get the accurate
information from the respondents.
4.9 Chapter Summary:
Thus the data was collected in an efficient way by using simple random sampling and descriptive
and exploratory research design with 100 farmers, 25 from each district including Kasaragod,
Wayanad, Idukki and Thiruvananthapuram who represented the total population of the farmers in
Kerala. Data collection was done using a structured interview schedule. The analysis was done
through the obtained data using the tool called SPSS.

Analysis and Interpretation
5.1 Chapter Introduction:
The Analysis was done using the tool called SPSS. It helped in feeding the interview output into
the software and obtaining outputs like Frequency distribution etc. Based on these outputs, the
interpretation was done logically.

5.2 Organic standards

Organic standards define the minimum conditions that should be complied by a produce or farm
in order to be certified organic. Organic standards have been established at national as well as
international levels. The standards of the importing country or target market have to be complied
with for certification of produces for export. Certain organic private companies such as
Naturland and BIO SUISSE include certain extra criteria in addition to the national standards.

5.2.1 Indian National Standards for Organic Products (NSOP)

In 2000, the National Standards for Organic Products (NSOP) was released by government of
India under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). It maintains that

certification and inspection by a nationally accredited certification body is mandatory for
labelling and selling products as organic.

The agencies accredited are the Coffee Board, Tea Board, Agricultural and Processed Food
Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Spices Board. The regulations cover
domestic trade of the organic products, exports and imports. Export of organic farm produce can
be done only if it is certified by a certification agency accredited for the same purpose. The
categories of items covered under accreditation are organic processing operations forestry, wild
products, organic crop production and organic animal production.

5.3 Organic Certifications

5.3.1 Participatory guarantee system
This is type of organic certification in which farmers certify each other. This type of certification
incurs no additional cost and mainly concentrates on domestic organic consumption.

5.3.2 Third Party Organic certifying organizations INDOCERT
INDOCERT organic crop production certification provides a cost effective and reliable
certification to facilitate the strategic positioning of organic products in the global organic

INDOCERT is accredited by National Accreditation Body (NAB), Ministry of Commerce &

Industries, Government of India, as per National Program for Organic Production (NPOP).

5.4 Official Stakeholders for Organic farming

5.4.1 Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK)

VFPCK, an autonomous body with a capital of Rs 1000 crore was formed in 2001 as the
successor organization of Kerala Horticulture Development Programme (KHDP). KHDP was
funded by European Union and was one of the highly successful agricultural development
projects undertaken in India. KHDP could successfully address long-standing issues that beset
the farming sphere. The Self Help Groups (SHGs) established by them form the base units for all
the interventions like Value Additions and Exports, Rural Credit, Participatory Technology
Development (PTD), Group Marketing and Extension

In every Panchayat organic farmers were identified and organised by VFPCK. It has been
recently promoted as Regional Council for Participatory Guarantee certification of organic
farmers. In VFPCK, the distribution of information is routed through Master Farmers. Master
Farmers are selected in each Self Help Group and are trained for leading the group. They lead
farmers in the areas of credit, production and marketing. SHG membership enables farmers
access to training, credit, and technical advice from the Council staff, but benefits have gone

beyond production related aspects. The extension approach of VFPCK is unique with features
like frequent farm and home visits, office less extension, and mass awareness programmes like
demonstrations and campaigns. The extension officers of VFPCK frequently visit the farmers
fields as per fixed schedule and provide required leadership support and technical advice.

5.4.2 State Horticulture Mission, Kerala

SHM under the aegis of NHM is entrusted with implementing organic farming and certification
in Idukki, Wayanad and Kasaragod districts of Kerala during 2014-2015. NHM is providing
financial assistance of Rs. 5.00 lakh per group of farmers covering an area of 50 hectares for
certification of organic process. Assistance is being given over a period of three years in the ratio
of 30:30:40. Agencies provide inputs, create awareness, impart training for organic farming,
provide organic certification and coordinate procurement of food products to be exported or sent
to retail shops. Organic retail shops are created at Adimali in Idukki and Kalpetta in Wayanad.
SHM has partially funded 200 vermi composting units.

5.4.3 Kerala Agricultural University

Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) as the sole agricultural university in the state is engaged
in the following activities for the promotion of organic farming.

Organic farming research and Education

It is offering a one year diploma course in organic agriculture.

Extension Services

KAU has released adhoc package of practices for organic farming

Conducting seminars, trainings etc

Maintain demonstration plot: Provide demonstration to farmers on how to prepare organic

manure and provide financial support to farmers as part of specific projects.

Karshaka Santhwanam Scheme: Group of scientists go to farmers plot and provide instant
advice. KAU has a hot line to cater to the needs of farmers in distress.

Pesticide residue testing lab: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) initiated
All India Co-ordinated Research Project (AICRP) On Pesticide Residues during the year 1984-
85 with 17 research centres. The mandate of the project include working out the safe
interval between pesticide application and harvest of the crop based on the dissipation of
residues, monitoring the pesticide residues in abiotic and biotic components of the environment
and devising effective analytical methodology for quantification of pesticide residues from
different matrices. Public awareness is created by providing categorized information on the
residue present in various vegetable and fruits. Agricultural university has found that 99 per cent
food produced in Kerala is not having harmful pesticides.

Safe to eat scheme fully funded by Department of Agriculture, Government of Kerala and
implemented by Kerala Agricultural University. They collected 378 samples of produces from 21
farmers. Those farmers whose produce were found safe to eat were awarded 15 per cent of the
value of the produce. Total of 3.5 lakh were disbursed to farmers over a period of one year.

5.4.4 Agriculture Department.


1. Reduce use of chemical pesticide

Sampoorna jaiva karshaka samsthanam (Complete organic farming state): Grass
root awareness creation done via 135 meetings held constituency wise which included
farmers, consumers and technical officers. Training conducted at school level to promote
house farming. Farmer clusters are formed for vegetables and banana promoting Organic
Farming. Demonstration plot was created which farmers can visit to build awareness and
record yield. Program formulated for each constituency based on individual conditions.
Kasaragod was declared 100 per cent organic in 2012. Rs. 4500 per pit assistance was
given in Kasaragod.

Rashtriya Krishi vikas Yojana (National scheme for improvement of farming

sector): In Kannur, Malappuram, Palakkad and Kozhikode 500 hectare from each district
was adopted and helped from the start for organic certification via agencies. SHM is
currently providing Rs 10,000 for conversion and Rs 10,000 for certification.
Banning the use of pesticides
Red and yellow pesticides are banned in Kerala. Plan is there to ban Blue pesticides also.

2. Production of organic manure and bio pesticide in field itself

Licence for organic manure and bio pesticide production is given by department to
agencies. Creation of Labs to certify inputs. Kudumbashree is helping farmers convert
animal waste to bio manure. Biogas is given government assistance.

3. Facility for testing residue in Vegetables and fruits

Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory under the All India Network
Project on Pesticide Residues is available at Vellayani Agriculture University.

4. Facility for testing organic manure

Kasaragod has facility for testing organic inputs.

5. Marketing facility for Organic products

Creation of Ecoshop in Kasaragod under government assistance.
Creation of Safe to eat brand under government

5.4.5 Kudumbashree

Kudumbashree was launched by the Government of Kerala in 1998 with the mission of
reducing absolute poverty from the State through rigorous community action under the
leadership of Local Self Governments. Today it is one of the largest women empowering
projects in the country. Kudumbashree is nodal agency for implementation of organic
farming. Concept of master farmers is followed by Kudumbashree. Select best farmers from
among group who can train other farmers.

Natural farming is being done in all 14 districts. Most of these are done by lease land
farmers. Kudumbashree members (females) are only benefitted. Joint liability group of four
to ten members is created. Only natural inputs are used for farming. Quarterly, monthly
markets and special markets during festivals such as Onam and Vishu are organized.
Products are sold in name of Kathir (Kasaragod) and Jaiva (Kochi). Centralized branding is
being done. VFPCK buys produces and sells it through their shops.

Training is imparted to farmers on agricultural practices. Agricultural incentives are given in

coordination with state government schemes and Interest subvention scheme.

Manure production is done by bio farmers in Kannur having animal husbandry. Products
such as Panchagavya, Jaivamritham, Ajashree (goat manure) etc are produced. These are
sold to local farmers at lesser price.

5.5 Analysis of Farmers Survey

5.5.1 Age distribution

Age of organic farmers under the study varied from 36 to 85. Of these 54 per cent of organic
farmers depend solely on farming as a sole means of sustenance.

Table 1: District specific age distribution

Kasara Wayan Thiruvanantha

god ad Idukki puram Kerala
46 0% 16% 28% 20% 16%
46-55 40% 36% 28% 28% 33%
56-65 28% 24% 36% 32% 30%
66-75 28% 24% 8% 20% 20%

75 4% 0% 0% 0% 1%
Mean 60.48 56.28 52.56 57.7 56.31
Std Dev 8.78 8.35 10.1 9.55 9.96

Significance value of age among the organic farmers belonging to various districts is found to be
0.028 which indicates that the mean age of farmers among various districts is not the same. This
is evident from the fact that the mean age of farmers in Kasaragod district is higher than all other
states.The analysis shows that current farming population are aged and there is need to attract
new generation into agriculture sector. In order to attract educated new generation population,
agriculture sector should be projected as a profitable and sustainable means of earning a living.

5.5.2 Gender distribution

Table 2: Gender distribution across districts

Kasara Wayan Thiruvanantha Keral

god ad Idukki puram a
Male 88% 96% 84% 48% 80%
le 12% 4% 16% 52% 20%

The gender distribution across states is given in Table 2.

80 per cent of organic farmers interviewed were male and 20 per cent were female. Maximum
number of females of about 52 per cent was interviewed from Thiruvananthapuram district.
Many working women and retired females in the capital city took to farming in the terrace and
many also owned poly house. This was due to the media publicityoffered by Agricultural
University on the results of pesticide content found in vegetables and fruits. The analysis
indicates increased awareness on the importance of farming among the inhabitants of the capital

20 per cent organic farmers were lease land farmers. Rest of the organic farmers cultivated in
their own land.

5.5.3 Farming area

Organic farmers in Wayanad and Kasaragod had largest area of farming. Organic farmers in
Thiruvananthapuram had least area of cultivation as the cost of land was high here. Mean area of
farming was about 2.94 acres.

Table 3: Mean area of farming (in acres) across districts.

Kasara Wayan Idukk Thiruvanantha Keral

god ad i puram a

Mean Area of
farming 3.81 3.8 3.58 0.641 2.94
Std dev 2.94 2.78 3.06 0.81 2.87
Mean leased land 0 0.38 0.35 0.3 0.25
Std dev 0 1.6 0.92 0.56 0.98

Significance value of farming area among the organic farmers belonging to various districts is
found to be 0.00012 which indicates that the farming area of organic farmers among various
districts is not the same. This is evident from the fact that the mean farming area of farmers in
Thiruvananthapuram district is lesser than all other states.

5.5.4 Crop preference among organic farmers

Crop preferences among organic farmers is depicted in figure 1

Fig 1: Crop preference among organic farmers


0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

From figure 1 it is clear that farmers practicing organic farming prefer short duration crops with
the exception of coconut. In the case of Kerala, coconut forms a part of the homestead farms
where subsistence farming is practised.

5.5.5 Years of farming experience

Table 4: Mean years of farming (in years) across districts.

Kasarag Wayana Thiruvananthapu

od d Idukki ram Kerala
Mean years in
farming 33.72 40.68 29.24 25.12 32.19
Std dev 16.91 14.03 20.17 19.87 18.55
Mean years in OF 16.28 10.20 7.74 8.62 10.74
Std dev 19.55 11.31 7.47 8.14 12.9

Most organic farmers were traditional cultivators and had more than 30 years of farming
experience. Many had used conventional method of cultivation using chemical fertilizers and
pesticides during the green revolution. They have later realized the ill consequences of using
chemicals and have shifted to organic means of cultivation. Kasaragod district had the largest
mean years in organic farming indicating that transition to organic means of cultivation started
here well ahead of other districts.
5.5.6 Source of labour

Table 5: Source of labour across districts

Kasarago Iduk Thiruvananthap

d Wayanad ki uram Kerala
Source of labour
Own family 16% 4% 24% 27% 19%
Hired labour 84% 96% 76% 73% 81%
Mean labour days 206. 216.8
used 287.4 283.6 73 56.7 1
256. 276.0
Std dev 360.47 252.85 5 91.47 4
Mean cost of 616. 551.7
labour 506.19 467.39 67 684.62 3
109. 119.8
Std dev 112.05 46.73 81 62.53 9

19 per cent of organic farmers used their own family members for cultivation. Remaining 81 per
cent organic farmers used their own family as well as outside labourers for farming. Mean labour
days were highest in Kasaragod and least in Thiruvananthapuram. Cost of labour per day was
highest in Thiruvananthapuram and least in Wayanad. Lack of skilled labours and high cost of
labour was stated as one of the main problems faced by organic farmers. Organic farmers have to
accept the high cost charged by labourers due to non availability of labour at the time of need.

5.5.7 Animal Husbandry

Most organic farmers have animal husbandry and they prepare their own manure at the field.
This reduces the cost involved and reduces dependence on external low quality inputs. All of the
certification agencies confirmed that animal husbandry is compulsory for organic farming and
included the same as compulsory criteria for selection for certification.

5.5.8 Comparison of organic and inorganic means of cultivation

Table 6: Comparison of organic and inorganic means of cultivation

Natural Organic Partial organic

Mea Std Std Std Significa P
n dev Mean dev Mean dev nce
2.437 0.72743 2.1587 0.8836 0.7977 0.284368 NS
Yield 5 8 3 57 2.5 24 897
0.6191 2.35523E- ***
Shelf life 3 0 3 0 2.625 39 06
1.562 0.81394 2.3015 0.8914 2.4285 0.7559 0.006540 **
Cost 5 1 87 45 71 29 529
1.437 0.39583 1.9206 0.3968 0.4615 0.019268 *
Irrigation 5 3 35 25 2 38 681
1.687 0.94648 2.7460 0.5670 2.2142 0.9749 1.98378E- ***
Weeding 5 5 32 6 86 61 06
0.66666 2.6190 0.5622 2.4285 0.5714 6.08348E- ***
Pest 1.5 7 48 12 71 29 06
Adaptation NS
to Climate 2.9285 0.0714 0.057938
change 3 0 3 0 71 29 828
1.6774 0.8778 1.3571 0.5549 0.296170 NS
Marketing 1.375 0.65 19 42 43 45 941
0.80622 1.8032 0.8910 1.5714 0.7559 0.026098 *
Profit 2.375 6 79 61 29 29 397

Notes: Statistical signicance of differences between group means: * p < 0:05(less significance), ** p < 0:01(medium
significance), ***p < 0:001(high significance), NS not Signicant;

Response options were: less (coded as 1), same (coded as 2), more (coded as 3).

47 per cent of farmers said that yield from organic farming was better than that from
conventional farming. 96 per cent confirmed that the shelf life of organic product is high. It
could be as high as three months for cucumber. Cost for organic farming is high as stated by 58.7
per cent of farmers. This is mainly due to more manure required, frequent application of
pesticides and manures which demands more labour and high cost of labour. 58 per cent farmers
stated that Irrigation requirements for organic farming are same as that for conventional farming.
Weeding and Pest is high for organic farming as confirmed by 72 per cent and 68 per cent
respectively. Immunity of plant to withstand climatic variation increases with organic farming as
stated by 98.1 per cent farmers. Marketing avenues and Income are less for organic farming as
stated by 75.5 per cent and 49.4 per cent farmers. This is mainly due to lack of separate market
or shop for organic farming produces.

Perception of farmers on Organic Farming

The perceptions of farmers practicing natural, organic and partial organic farming methods were
collected. Comparison was done with inorganic means of farming which they had previously
practised and the organic farming method which they were pursuing now. While 16% of farmers
used zero budget farming, 6 per cent of farmers used pure chemical method of cultivation.
Thirteen per cent farmers used chemical only for certain crops such as rubber, ginger, rice etc.
Rest of the 65 per cent of farmers used organic means of cultivation. Many organic farmers who
cultivated rubber used organic method since intercropping was being practised.

There was significant difference in variables: shelf life, weeding requirements, pest attack, cost
of cultivation, irrigation requirements and income received by the three groups of farmers.

Shelf life of products produced by organic and natural methods of farming are found to be very
high while that created using partial organic means is found to be lesser. This could be due to
leaching of inorganic inputs to organic farmland thereby affecting shelf life of the product.

Weeding requirements and pest attack is found to be significantly less for farmers following
natural farming method. Organic farmers reported high Weeding requirements and pest attacks
while it is moderately high for partial organic farmers.

Cost of cultivation is found to be least for natural farmers. Natural farmers reported less weeding
and pest attack. They also required less external manure which in turn reduced labour
requirements and the hence cost of cultivation. Organic farmers reported moderately high cost of
cultivation and partial organic farmers reported very high cost of cultivation.

Irrigation requirements were found to be very high for partially organic farmers and least for
natural farmers. Profit was highest for natural farmers due to reduction in cost of cultivation and
was less for partial organic farmers as they might not receive full benefit of the premium price
for organic products.

There was no significant difference among the group of farmers for the variables: Yield,
adaptation to climatic change and Market availability.

5.5.9 Price realisation

About 24 per cent of organic farmers said that they were not getting any premium price for
organically cultivated produce. These organic farmers were selling their produce to private shop
and were getting same price as that of a chemically cultivated produce.

26 per cent of organic farmers were getting premium price for all varieties of produces. This
included farmers who sold their produce to Thanal (Thiruvananthapuram), VFPCK (Kasaragod)
KADS ( Idukki), WSSS (Wayanad)

About 50 per cent of organic farmers said that they were getting premium price for certain crops
such as coffee, pepper, coconut, banana, arecanut etc. Most of these farmers sold their produce to
local shops, Kudubbashree, Fair trade shop ( KZ)..

5.5.10 Certification, Marketing and Transportation

58 per cent of the organic farmers did not have organic certification. Some of these uncertified
farmers who sold their produce to shops such as Thanal, Sangamaithri and VFPCK reported
getting premium price. Rest of the organic farmers sold their produce to local shops and were not
getting premium price.

42 per cent of farmers who had organic certification reported getting good price for certain
products from VFPCK, KADS, WSSS and private shops. Some of the certified farmers are
selling their products to private shop due to lack of procurement agencies for organic produce.

Organic certification does not ensure good price to farmers. An agency or shop that locally
procures organic produces and pays premium price to farmers is necessary to ensure that farmers
get a premium price. Many farmers find is challenging to transport their produce to the
appropriate shop. Lack of processing companies and huge transportation cost also affects the
profit that the farmers receive.

SHM is implementing schemes via agencies such as ICCOA (Kasaragod), KADS and HOPS
(Idukki) WOACS (Wayanad). These agencies are working on organic certification of farmers.
None of these agencies have local organic shop that procures all products of farmers. KADS and
WOACS do not work in the organic marketing space. They provide training and support during
the first three years of conversion period. After this no marketing support is provided to organic
farmers. Hence farmers who are certified do not find it financially viable to renew the annual
certification. There are also cases were farmers who were certified went back to inorganic ways
of cultivation as they were not having any proper marketing mechanism for organic products.

ICCOA and HOPS procures certain products from organic farmers. Farmers get premium price
for certain export oriented products such as pepper, coconut and coffee. For the remaining
products such as vegetables and plantain farmers does not get a premium price.

Therefore it can be concluded that these agencies working on certification and procurement of
export oriented products does not cater to the domestic market or improve food security of

5.5.11 Insurance

89 per cent of organic farmers did not have any insurance. Many of these farmers had taken
insurance previously but never got their claims or received very less claim amounts. 11 per cent
organic farmers took insurance as part of the eligibility criteria for taking loans. The amount of
insurance and the duration was found to be ineffective. Many organic farmers were not able to
get the benefits due to technical reasons such as: Validity of insurance is only for one year.

Insurance amount is 2 Rs per plantain which does not even cover the cost of cultivation. Many
farmers discontinued taking insurance due to these reasons.

Table 7: Insurance for organic means of cultivation (Figures in %)

Kasarag Wyana Trivadru
od d Idukki m Kerala
Use of Insurance
Yes 28 4 4 8 11
No 72 96 96 92 89

5.5.12 Loan

51 per cent of organic farmers interviewed did not have any loan for agricultural purposes. 49
per cent of organic farmers had loans varying from 10,000 to 8 lakhs. Interest free loan of one
lakh given for farmers were availed by 5 farmers. 31 farmers availed loan at 4 per cent interest
rate. 8 farmers took loan at 10-16 per cent interest rates due to delay in getting agricultural loans.
Remaining 5 organic farmers who took loan from multiple banks took certain amount at 4 per
cent and remaining at higher rates. Delay in getting agricultural loan sanctioned was stated as
reason why farmers took non- agricultural loan at higher rates.

Table 7: Loan for organic means of cultivation

Kasarag Wayan Thiruvananthap
od ad Idukki uram Kerala
Use of loan
Yes 60% 60% 52% 44% 49%
No 40% 40% 48% 56% 51%
Mean amount of credit 1,21,00 1,83,00 2,43,00 1,60,0
(Rs) 0 0 0 1,90,000 00

5.5.13 Reasons for changing to organic farming

Fig 2: Reason for changing to organic farming

Reasons for health
Concern for human changing to organic farming
Concern for environment

Depleting health of the soil

Sustainable long-term agriculture

2%2% 1% 0%
Influence of other organic farmers, natural farming, permaculture, etc.
5% 22%

Emotional, philosophical and ideological reasons


More revenue due to premium price.

Need for more freedom in farming and self-dependence
Preservation of traditions

Increasing crop diseases and pest infestations and

12% 12%

Increasing risks

Increasing costs and dependence on external sources for labor and manure

Decreasing net farm income Concern for human health: The population groups most affected by pesticide use are
farm workers and their families. These people live in communities near the application of toxic
pesticides, where pesticide drifts and water contamination are common. Farm workers, pesticide
applicators and fieldworkers, who tend to and harvest the crops, come into frequent contact with
pesticides. Their families and children are then exposed to these pesticides through contact with
them and their clothing. Children living in areas with high pesticide use are at great risk of health
effects because of their high susceptibility to pesticides. Organic agriculture does not utilize

these toxic chemicals and thus eliminates this enormous health hazard to workers, their families,
and their communities. Concern for environment: In many farmlands, pollution of groundwater courses with
synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As the use of these is prohibited in organic
agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers enhancing soil structure and water infiltration.
Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs.
Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through
its ability to sequester carbon in the soil. Organic farmers lives in sync with environment and
refrains from any activity that harms the ecosystem. Depleting health of soil: Soil building practices such as crop rotations, inter-cropping,
symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimum tillage are central to
organic practices. These encourage soil fauna and flora, improving soil formation and structure
and creating more stable systems. In turn, nutrient and energy cycling is increased and the
retentive abilities of the soil for nutrients and water are enhanced, compensating for the non-use
of mineral fertilizers. Such management techniques also play an important role in soil erosion
control. Many farmers reported lack of microorganisms in soil in the case of chemical means of
cultivation as the main reason for converting to organic cultivation. Sustainable long term agriculture: Many changes observed in the environment are
long term, occurring slowly over time. Organic agriculture considers the medium and long-term
effect of agricultural interventions on the agro-ecosystem. It aims to produce food while
establishing an ecological balance to prevent problems with soil fertility or pests. Organic
farmers take a proactive approach as opposed to treating problems after they emerge. Organic
farmers are convinced that chemical means of cultivation is neither sustainable nor profitable for
long term.

5.5.14 Perception about Kisan SMS

64 per cent of organic farmers were not getting Kissan SMS. Many who were getting SMS did
not find it useful as it gave advice on outdated materials like Cevin whose production is stopped
or chemical pesticides or manures which were not useful to organic or natural farmers. Farmers
mentioned that climate related advices were useful. Hence there is a need to encourage organic
farming specific SMS services which would be useful to organic farmers.

5.5.15 Perception about Kisan call centre and Kisan Credit card

Many organic farmers were not aware of Kissan call centres or availability of Kissan Credit card.
Couple of farmers said that Kissan call centres never pick up calls.

5.5.16 Problems faced by Organic farmers

Fig 3: Problems faced by Organic farmers

Problems faced by farmers

Pest infestations and More labor required.

Climatic changes, erratic Unavailability of premium
rains. price
Unavailability of labor & Lack of affordable good
exorbitant wage rate. quality organic inputs such
as manure, seeds and
5% 2% 1% 15% Lack of availability of organic Lack of consumer/ market
6% inputs such as manure, awareness regarding organic
8% 15% seeds and pesticides produce.
9% Lack of financial support Artificially created price
14% during transition to organic slump in the harvest season
13% farming. forces small-scale farmer to
sell at lower price.
Being part of a collective
farm restricts innovations
and adaptation of different
techniques. Unavailability of labour and extreme high wages for labours

Unavailability of labour and extremely high wage rate was major issues. The introduction of
MNGREA scheme has made farm labourers adopt the scheme which resulted in a dearth of
labourers for farmers. Since labourers are in high demand and less in supply, organic farmers
have to accept the high wages enforced by the labours. Also there is lack of skilled labourers and
most labourers are not willing to do the farming work. Some of the MNGREA workers

mentioned that they were being given useless jobs. They said that they would have been happier
if they were allowed to work under farmers. Some of the lease land farmers said that MNGREA
workers should be made available to them as well. Attack from pests, deadly bees and animals

Organic farmers also mentioned increased attack from deadly bees and animals who feeds on
yam items. Many organic farmers have stopped cultivating yam varieties due to the same.
Organic farmers experienced more pest attack if the nearby farmers were practicing chemical
form of farming. Hence for success of organic farming also depends on the type of farming used
by nearby farmers. Lack of separate marketing mechanism and lack of premium pricing for organic

Lack of proper marketing mechanism and lack of premium pricing is another major issue for
many farmers. Many organic farmers said that they were not getting premium price due to low
cost imported products from nearby states cultivated using intensive chemical methods. Due to
lack of separate market for organic products, these products have to be sold in the same shop
selling chemical products. Organic products have to compete with chemical products which
appear superior due to their beautiful appearance. Many consumers prefer chemical products due
to their pleasing appearance to organic products. Organic farmers said that they do not want low
quality inputs or subsidies instead if government can provide a way to market organic products
separately they would be satisfied. Farmers who were not getting premium price for organic
products have reduced intensive cultivation and have confined cultivation of vegetables to their
own needs. This is a very disturbing trend that can affect the food security of the state of Kerala. of quality inputs and unavailability of agency to certify quality of inputs

Lack of quality inputs and unavailability of agency to ensure quality of input is another major
problem. Organic farmers who do not have animal husbandry find it very difficult to get good
quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Most of the organic fertilizers and seeds supplied from
Krishi Bhavan are of poor quality. Farmers have stopped collecting inputs from Krishi Bhavan.
They procure inputs from other organic farmers or buy it from authorized places at very high
cost. Currently there are no agencies for certifying the quality of inputs.

5.5.17 Perception about Krishi Bhavan

Perception about organic farmers about the effectiveness of Krishi Bhavan varies according to
the location. For example in areas such as Aayampara, Udayapuram and Periya (Kasaragod)
farmers were relatively happy with the subsidies and trainings conducted by Krishi Bhavan. But
farmers at Oolattu (Kasaragod) expressed deep dissatisfaction at the conduct of Krishi Bhavan.
Most of manure and seeds are delayed or are not enough. Not getting seeds or manure on time
reduces the usefulness of the same. Many organic farmers also complained that after passing of a

subsidy it does not reach them. Farmers who are well aware of the working of Krishi Bhavan
follow up on benefit while those who are ignorant of the same miss the benefits. Karshaka
pension was not given to farmers for last two years. Many organic farmers said that in case of
issues they would contact Krishi Bhavan for advice. But many mentioned apprehensions on
quality of advice and the lack of field visit to confirm the problem.

Many organic farmers complained that Krishi Bhavan was providing subsidies to chemical
fertilizers and pesticides. Also advices provided by Krishi Bhavan encouraged use of chemical
pesticides and fertilizers. Farmers said that if government stopped subsidies to chemical
fertilizers and pesticides, farmers would automatically shift to organic means of cultivation.
Farmers who cultivated using chemical fertilizers and pesticides said that the main reason why
they dont convert to organic means of cultivation was because of the subsidies to chemical
fertilizers and pesticides made available by government via Krishi Bhavan. Though government
is supporting organic agriculture on one side they are also promoting chemical inputs
manufacturing companies on the other side by providing huge subsidies to chemical fertilizers
and pesticides.

Some organic farmers mentioned that though soil testing was done by Krishi Bhavan, results
were not given and no appropriate way forward was suggested.

5.5.18 Perception about various government schemes

Organic farmers reported having benefited from below schemes

National Application Innovation Products: International tour
Vibrant Gujarat Award Rs 51000
RKVY : Subsidy for plantain
ATMA : Training, Production bonus for pepper and plantain
VFPCK award
Panchayat award
KB Subsidy for Sprinkler, polyhouse, manure, seedlings
SHM Subsidy for manure, financial support for farming
KAU : demonstration plot financing
Sangamaithri : Subsidy
Kerala gandhi smaraka Nidhi: best farmer and female farmer awards
Azhakulam jaiva karshaka samithi: Tour to see farm lands.
NABARD : Watershed
NABARD : Organic shop
UPASI United Plantain Association : Tea and Rubber good advice and research
Spices board subsidy for pepper
Tea board subsidy
Award mathrika krishi toottam
ATMA : Honey bee training and financial support
Kudumbashee group farming incentive
Krishi vigyan kendram : Financial help for kayyala

5.6 Agencies working on certification and marketing

Below are the details of agencies of working on certification and marketing.


Fair trade: Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) is an organization of small scale organic farmers
from the hilly regions of the Western Ghats of Kerala and was established in the year 2005. The
organization was established as a response to the crisis of poverty and indebtedness that gripped
agriculture sector in Kerala during the beginning of the 21st century. During this time producers
were not even getting the cost of production for their product. FTAK aimed to address the
problem and find solutions. This led to concerted action with producers, distributors and
consumers to create a system where trade is not just to make profit but is an exchange with a
human face. Farmers working under Fair Trade principles are given a premium price for their
products and sustainable farming means that protects and nurtures the land as well as the

Farmers at Udayapuram were certified by LACON with help from Fair trade. They are currently
getting premium price for coconut, pepper and cashew. They have also submitted proposal for a
project for processing plant worth 12 lakhs. These farmers also got NABARD funding of about
Rs 90 thousand for starting an organic shop. They are running this shop but are facing problems
due to unavailability of continuous supply of products.

International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA): International

Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture started as a knowledge centre for all stakeholders
involved in the organic sector and was registered as a society in 2004. They work in 12 states of
India reaching out to around 270 member organisations and more than two lakh farmers directly
and indirectly. They collaborate and network with individuals, farmer organisations, consumer
organisations, voluntary organisations, corporate bodies, research institutions and government
departments in India and South Asia. ICCOA as an interface organisation not only complements
and strengthens the activities of the stakeholders and the organic movement but also
complements the efforts of the government.

ICCOA had been undertaking projects from Kerala, Srilanka, Nagaland, Tamilnadu and Sikkim
for over 10 years. In Kerala they are concentrating on districts Calicut, Malappuran and
Kasaragod. They provide expert help, training, manure, financial assistance, help in marketing
and exporting. They have strict selection criteria including basic data collection and survey
(three times). GPS mapping of farmlands is also being completed. Under SHM scheme to
provide organic group certification to farmers Calicut and Malappuram projects were completed
and handed over to control union: Elite green and Sunstar overseas. Kasaragod project for
certification process is in progress. Plan for Virgin coconut oil processing plant is in progress.
They are planning to form tie up with Elements and Lulu hyper market. Their long term plan is
to develop bio villages (self sustaining villages). Lack of regular supply for vegetables is one of
the main problems that they suffer.

Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK): VFPCK in the Bekal fort area of
Kasaragod are doing excellent work in the marketing space. They procure produces from
farmers. As per farmers, VFPCK bargains with traders so that farmers get premium price for
their product. They also provide trainings, manure and seedlings to organic farmers.


Wayanad Social Services Society (WSSS): Major objective of Wayanad Social Service Society
has been to form village level peoples organizations in order to empower the poor and weaker
communities since its establishment in 1974. It aims at Socio-economic empowerment of the
target group consisting of women, tribal, small and marginal farmers through participatory
development policies.

WSSS helped 348 clusters of farmers including 12600 farmers in Wayanad get certification. In
Kerala they are concentrating on 25 Panchayats of Wayanad. They are also promoting organic
farming in Nilgiri district of Tamilnadu since 1999. They provide training, manure, financial
assistance, help in marketing and exporting, expert help, and also register farm clubs for
NABARD. They have been appointed as Regional council for PGS certification.
They help in providing the following certifications

Fair trade certification (FLocet)

Organic certification
Rainforest alliance certification
JASS certification (Japan)

They have completed the following schemes

NABARD UPNR: Umbrella program for natural resources for OF.

NABARD : Waadi TDF Tribal development fund
NABARD : Water shed development project completed last year
NABARD : farm club promotion group of farmers
Capacity adoption and technology (CAT): Exposure visit and trainings.
MEDP : Micro enterprises dev program Skill training
Spices : certification quest
Coffee : processing and marketing unit
KINFRA : processing and marketing unit
SHM : Conversion time support
IFARM : standard for OF and Organic farming training

Lack of government support and quality inputs are the issues being faced by them. They created
domestic market support with PGS for 34 farmer groups. They have a resource centre for
Organic Farming which has documented success stories of organic farmers. They have Radio
station: radiop matinee (6hrs organic) and Vikaspedia in web. They also have Relience mobile
package. They received Best industry award last year and best Paristhithi Mithra (Friend of
environment) award this year.

Wayanad Organic Agricultural Consortium Society (WOACS): Wayanad Organic
Agricultural Consortium Society is a collection of number of societies following organic farming
in Wayanad District. It has a governing body (working committee) comprising nine members
including four representatives from Agriculture Department. Continuous facilitations and
trainings are proposed for capacity building through periodical training to elected peoples
representatives, farmers, farm women, farm children and farm labourers.

WOACS has been helping farmers of Pulpalli, Betheri, Meenagaadi, Noolpuzha, Poothadi
panchayats of Wayanad district get organic certification under SHM scheme since 2003. They
provide Certification from IMO Bangalore and LACON. Certification of about 2000 farmers was
completed and next set of 1035 farmers is in progress. Currently they are not working on the
marketing part; hence certified farmers do not often find it financially viable to renew organic
certification annually. Lack of fund usage by government resulting in lapse of 3.5 crore last year
was main problem sited by them.


The Kerala Agricultural Development Society (KADS): KADS is a voluntary organization of

farmers registered in 2001. The objective of KADS is promotion of quality organic production,
secure premium price for farmers by avoiding middlemen and provide assistance in sustainable
management of natural resources through awareness campaign, promotion and practicing of eco-
friendly agriculture.

KADS had been helping cluster of farmers from Idukki and Ernakulum in getting organic
certification since 2001. Initially about 2000 farmers were certified (LACON) with partial
financial support from Spices board. Currently next set of 500 farmers are in the process of
certification (IMO) under SHM scheme. But no marketing facility is made available for the
certified farmers. Many of the farmers who were certified felt certification was useless after the
three years conversion process and discontinued renewal process. One of the farmers Jolly
Varkey (Thodupuzha, Idukki) complained that KADS collected 500 Rs for three years but never
gave certification.

Highrange Organic Producers Society (HOPS): HOPS is an organic farmer collective based
in Adimaly. They are a Charitable Society registered in 2006. 'HOPS' was formed in the
backdrop of the drastic decline in productivity and health problems caused by indiscriminate use
of toxic manures and pesticides in the high ranges of Idukki district. They present an alternative
way of farming and a holistic vision of human-nature co-existence that will support the farmers
to lead a dignified, responsible and prosperous life.

Highrange Organic Producers Society (HOPS) has been giving group certification (Indocert) to
about 280 farmers in Devikulam taluk, Idukki under SHM scheme. They were doing marketing
at their own expense and were able to get premium price for pepper and cocoa. They have tie ups
with Jeevagram kaladi, IOFPCL, JTT Exporter, Ernakulam, LuLu shop (Packaging procuring).
Lack of continuous supply and transportation are the major issues faced.


Thanal: Organic Bazaar was launched by Thanal in 2003 inspired by Berkeley Farmers Market
(California, USA) to bring Organic farmers, producers and consumers together for efficient
exchange of organic products. It was introduced as a once in a month: Second Saturday bazaar.
Later the frequency of the bazaar was increased gradually and now it functions on all working
days of year. This feat was made possible through consistent capacity building, extension work
and sensitization among marginal farmers in various locations of Kerala thereby increasing the
supply base. Consumer sensitization and awareness programmes also played an important role in
attracting more consumers to support Organic Bazaar.

Thanal has been found to the best model for marketing which can be emulated in large scale.
They select farmers using strict selection criteria. They do continuous inspections to make sure
that farmers are strictly following organic method of cultivation. They also provide training to
farmers on organic methods of cultivation. They procure all produces from selected farmers and
provide transportation to collect products from farmers. They ensure that farmers get premium
price for all their products. Issues that they face are lack of continuous supply of products and
lack of support for transportation.

5.7SWOC Analysis

For a country, sector or a company a good performance is the result of correct interaction of
management with its internal and external environment. The identification of external
opportunities and threats and internal and external strengths and weaknesses can be successfully
done by using SWOT analysis as per Houben 1999 and Collett 1999.

As per Balamuralikrishna and Dugger (2001) decision making using SWOT analysis involves
increasing strengths, reducing effect of weakness, utilizing opportunities, counteracting threats

A simplified SWOC analysis is used to evaluate organic farming sector in Kerala.

Superior quality of the product
Land and water conservation
Shelf life increases several times
High domestic demand
Cultivation as inter/mixed crop

Low productivity/revenue during initial three years of conversion
Insufficient supply of good quality inputs
Increase in cost of production
Pests and diseases
Lack of sufficient experienced labour
Less government support for marketing and promotional activities
High dependence on weather

Lack of technical knowledge
Mind set of farmers should be changed about organic farming.
Leaching of inorganic inputs from nearby farm lands or from mountain areas (Most often
Rubber is cultivated at top of mountains. Inorganic input from the Rubber farms passes to
low lying farms)

Increased global demand
Change in life style and food habits
High domestic demand and less supply

Increasing production and high productivity in competing countries
Price fluctuations
Depletion of water sources
Change in climate

5.8 Chapter conclusion:

Thus the various analyses were done using SPSS software and the outputs and interpretations of
the descriptive statistics were done in this chapter.

Chapter 6

6.1 Chapter Introduction:

Based on structured interview of 100 farmers from Thiruvananthapuram, Wayanad, Kasaragod

and Idukki Districts of Kerala and results generated from the analysis done using tool SPSS,
interpretation was done. Data was also collected from official stakeholders such as such as State
Horticulture Mission, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam, Kudumbashree, Kerala
Agricultural University, Department of Agriculture, Kerala. Data was also collected from various

certification implementation agencies working on state government schemes such as High Range
Organic Producers Society Idukki (HOPS), Kerala Agricultural Developmental Society
Mankulam (KADS), Organic Agriculture consortium society Wayanad (WOACS) and
International Competence Centre for Organic Kasaragod ICCOA (ICCOA).
This chapter will explain how these outputs can be decoded for implementing changes in the
State, how much these outputs are important for the stakeholders of the State and the limitations
of the study.


1. It has been found that leaching of inorganic inputs from neighbours farm lands defeats our
efforts to pursue organic farming. Hence organic cultivation has to be in a contiguous area and
cluster of farmers may be identified for organic cultivation.
2. Organic Certification agencies have limited presence and cost of certification is not affordable to
the farmer. The process of certification should be group certification and more agencies should
be encouraged to take up organic certification
3. A supply chain management approach has to be pursued to promote sustainable organic farming
in the state.
4. State government may provide incentives (like the subsidies being provided for manufacture of
fertilisers to promote inorganic cultivation) for the production of organic manures and fertilizers
5. The quality of the organic inputs being produced is not uniform. There is a need to fix quality
standards for organic manures and pesticides.
6. The findings of the study indicate that the cost of production is more for organic farming
compared to inorganic farming but it is the least for zero budget farming. Further, the study
indicates that labour requirement is more for organic farming and the least in zero budget
farming. This has great relevance to the state of Kerala where farm labour is scarce and wage
rates are extremely high. Hence more focussed research is needed to establish the type of organic
farming best suited for Kerala
7. The observations of farmers on organic farming have been varying with regard to cost of
cultivation (CoC), labour requirement and yield. Hence there is need for research to establish the
relationship between organic cultivation and CoC, organic cultivation and labour requirement and
organic cultivation and yield.
8. Farmers have developed organic inputs locally. These have to be tested for it efficacy and
documented to encourage organic farmer clusters to produce their requirement of organic inputs
locally. This is very relevant in the context of organically produced inputs where the shelf life is
very less.
9. Many farmers have expressed interest to switch over to organic farming. However, lack of
expertise in this line deters farmers to pursue organic farming. Organising exposure visits,
awareness training programmes and promoting master farmer concept to transfer the technology
may go a long way to popularise sustainable organic farming.
10. There is a demand for organic products. Organic production of products is being pursued by
farmers in Kerala, However, the farmer is unable to market his produce as organic and earn a
premium price for it. This is adversely affecting the sustenance of organic farming in the state.
There is an urgent need for a dedicated marketing channel for organic products. The demands for
organic products have to be established and supply adjusted according to the demand.

11. During the conversion period from inorganic to organic farming, farmers are experiencing yield
reduction and thus it affects their income generation. Some form of assistance during this period
will attract more farmers to organic farming.
12. Organic Farming has risks attached to it. Hence suitable insurance products are essential to bring
more farmers under organic farming.
13.Price fluctuations and the lack of a premium price for organic products is dissuading farmers to
continue organic farming. A suitable price formula is essential for organic products to sustain
organic farming

6.2 Way Forward: Empowering Organic farmers

The NITHI Ayog may bring out a vision document on Organic Farming. Based on the vision
document, a long term policy covering 10 years may be formulated. Efforts are needed to
coordinate the work of various government departments and agencies such as Irrigation,
Veterinary, Land use board, Forestry department, Tribal development department, SHM,
VFPCK, and Agriculture University.

1) Authority for implementing Organic Farming

Centralized authority should be incorporated to implement Organic agricultural policies with

help from various government departments and agricultural university

2) Organic Farmer Groups

Set of 40-50 group of farmers similar to Anand Pattern Co-operative Societies (APCOS) set up
by former units producing milk. Voting authority is to be given to farmers based on quantity of
output produced. This group will have a federated structure which ranges from block, taluk,
district and state. People in the union will be farmers and will be interested in protecting the
interest of farmer groups. This group of farmers may be able to build cold storage facility,
transportation and marketing as a group. Government should provide financial support for 3-4
years to these groups for converting to organic farming.

3) Input certification agency

Establish certification agency for verifying the quality of inputs such as organic manure,
pesticides and seeds.

4) Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam

Participatory Guarantee System Certification should be done in coordination with this

organization. Procure and provide organic seeds to the organic farmer groups. Determine
financial help required by farmer groups on case to case basis. Visit organic farming sites and
help farmers prevent/solve pest infestations.

5) State Horticulture Mission

Provide financial and technical support and monitor end use,

6) Veterinary Department
Work in sync with organic farmer groups and help them by giving them timely veterinary

7) Civil supplies Department

The civil supplies departments and shops can be used for marketing, procurement and selling of
organic inputs as well as produce. Government can rent out portion of the shop to a group of
organic farmers for selling organic produces.

8) Land use board

Certain percentage of land from each taluk should be allocated for Organic Farming. Land being
used for Organic Farming should not be converted for any other purpose

9) Kerala Agricultural University and Krishi Bhavan

Research should be conducted on new techniques for sustained organic farming. Create package
of practices for products such as Cardamom, Rice etc which are difficult to convert to organic
due to intense pest attack. Krishi Bhavans should stop providing subsidies to chemical fertilizers
and pesticides gradually. The quality of inputs supplied through Krishi Bhavans should be
ensured by input certification agency.

10) Irrigation Department

Ensure provision of quality irrigation water. Take responsibility to create awareness on water
conservation and collection and management of rainwater.

11) Roof top gardens

Increase production and help Kerala achieve self-sufficiency in vegetables and fruits by
encouraging roof top gardens and promoting cultivation among students through schools. Free
grow bags and seeds should be given to citizens through various government outlets.

12) Customer behavioural changes:

Provide awareness sessions to consumers on the need for paying premium price to organic
products. Create awareness to customers that slightly infected vegetables and fruits are actually
healthy and can be consumed after removing the infected part. Also educate consumers that it is
healthier to eat locally available seasonal varieties rather than imported ones. Good Food
Movement Campaign should be encouraged for healthy food from school level itself.

13) Government should allow MNGREA workers to work in organic farms. Government should
provide part of (50%) salary and remaining 50 per cent should be borne by farmers. This would
reduce acute labour shortage and exorbitant wages of labours which is one of the main problems
faced by the farmers.

14) Leaching from other areas

Provide awareness to farmers on how to prevent leaching of inorganic matter from nearby sites.
Bio fencing using Neem/erukku
Buffer zone: 1 Meter area from which harvest is not taken.

15) Kudumbashree:

Kudumbashree will collect organic waste from urban population and convert waste to bio
manure. This organic manure would be provided to organic farmers at very less cost.

16) Insurance for pest infestations.

Insurance schemes to be implemented for organic farmers in case of

Pest infestations
Climatic variation
Yield reduction during first three years of conversion to organic farming.

Agricultural Insurance schemes should be redesigned to include long term insurance and remove
unnecessary terms and conditions. Inputs from farmers should be considered while designing
insurance schemes. Concentrate on making insurance terms and conditions easily understandable
by farmers and enable eligible farmers to get appropriate benefits. Index based crop insurance
scheme should be implemented for promoting organic farming in the state.

17) Production bonus to organic farmers:

Bonus would be provided to organic farmers in proportion to the quantity and quality of product
produced. This bonus would be reduced over period of time. Encourage farmers to reduce
inorganic inputs gradually over period of time. Provide incentives to farmers whose produce are
found to be free from pesticide residues by the Pesticide residue testing lab at KAU.

18) Homestead based organic farming with diverse crops has to be encouraged. Farmers should
be encouraged to do Animal husbandry, bee keeping, etc. Develop Bee-keeping, fisheries,
quackeries and similar enterprises as part of the mixed farming programme to ensure integrated
farming and the availability of farmyard manure and urine. Encourage farmers to sell excess
manure from animal wastes to other farmers.

19) Supply chain management:

Lack of government support in supply chain management on the field of agriculture remains one
of the major problems for farmers and traders. Government should use Information technology
for schemes to improve logistics, transportation and transparent link should be made between
farmers, consumers and traders which prevent any kind of exploitation.

20) Online organic shops and weekly shops in collages and offices:

Infrastructure for online shopping of organic products should be made available which would be
an attractive option for the busy citizens of Kerala. Also weekly or bi-weekly organic shops can
be organized at collages and offices.

6.3 Proposed Business Model for organic farming clusters

1) Clusters of farmers are created who would help each other and create organic products
based on requirements from customer. Farmer Clusters also help with group certification
and brings down the costs considerably. Sharing of knowledge, seeds and manure
happens easily among farmers in cluster.
2) IT services are used for collecting requirements from urban customers.
3) Clusters of Farmers divide the customer requirements among themselves and cultivate
based on the customer requirements.
4) Organic food produced is transported to customers in urban areas via optimized routes.
5) Organic food is sold to urban customers and organic waste created at the customer
household is collected and sent back to the Farmer clusters. A premium amount is
collected from customer for the healthy products. Discount is provided to customers
based on the quantity of organic waste collected from customer.
6) Financial Institutions provide farmers with credit for converting the land to organic farm.
The financial assistance would be extended over a period of three years to compensate for
reduction in yield during the period. After three years the cultivation would become
completely organic and the farmer would start reaping benefits from premium price
available for organic products produced. Interest subsidy to be provided by the State
Government for 3 years,
7) Regulatory agencies certify the organic food products and organic inputs on regular
8) Organic tourism would be encouraged to accumulate more foreign direct investment in
the sector.
9) Organic farming policy is created by the state and the Commodity Board ensures
continuous market for the products by using advertisements and word of mouth. They
facilitate organic farming and also promote trade of organic commodities through
knowledge sharing.

10) State Agriculture University would focus on launching diploma and certificate courses on
organic farming so that necessary manpower can be created for areas such as input
management, certification and inspection, supply chain management and retail marketing.
11) For wider diffusion, local NGOs and KVKs or the agriculture extension service centres
may be involved in promoting organic farming.
12) Organic products are also made available in mall that offers ample space for farmers
wanting to sell their produce directly to consumers. Products are sold in weekly markets
at urban apartments, institutions, government offices and IT companies.
13) Self sustaining bio village units are created which recycles organic wastes and produces
all varieties of organic products required for all the members.

Organic Bio Village


Weekly markets at apartments, IT companies and offices

Organic food mall

Rural area Transportation Urban area

Organic food Organic waste

Organic waste Organic food IT Service

Organic food requirements
Farmer clusters

Premium price
Organic Tourism

Financing Company

Centralized Certification Authority

6.3 Chapter Summary:

The recommendations of the study will be put forth to the organization so that they can take it
forward. The recommendations if implemented in the right earnestness, would lead to sustaining
organic farming in Kerala.

Chapter 7
The ill effects of inorganic cultivation practices are felt in Kerala in terms of health, sanitation
problems, ecological degradation, unsustainable agricultural production etc. Organic agriculture
is increasingly being adopted as a substitute to inorganic agriculture.

The demand for organically grown food is increasing day by day. However no attempt has been
made to assess the demand for organic products and hence there is a mismatch between demand
and supply. The supply chain is besieged with various constraints. Insufficient supply of organic
planting material, organic fertilisers and pesticides and the absence of any quality control in this
respect is hindering sustainable organic farming in Kerala. In the absence of a dedicated
marketing channel for organically produced food, farmers are not able to get a premium price for
their produce.
Organic cultivation needs timely attention and care. However, there are no exclusive insurance
products for organic farming.
The answer lies in establishing an efficient supply chain management for organically produce
products. This has to be essentially backed up by policy initiatives from the state government,
some of which are doing away with subsidy for chemical fertilisers, enact regulations for quality

control of organic inputs, establish accredited labs, make organic certification easier and cheap
and last but not least support market interventions to create a win win situation both for the
farmer and the consumer,

Chapter 8

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Chapter 9
Appendix 1
A compilation of locally developed knowledge collected during the survey of organic farmers is
furnished below:

1) Adding calcium to soil reduces acidity of soil and helps it absorb nutrients.
2) Erythrina indica was found to be best support for pepper.
3) Plantain can be used as shade plant for pepper.
4) Micronutrients Ayar were used to improve soil.
5) Mix Gliricidia leaves+ cow dung + castor oil cake. Keep this mixture for 7 days. Mix 1
litre in 20 litre of water. This can be used as effective pesticide(1 litre per plant).
6) Cow dung + castor oil cake is mixed and kept for couple of days. It is a good pesticide for
7) Aavanippullu after taking oil is kept in bowl of couple of days. Bad smell starts
emanating from the bowl. Beetle that affects coconut die by the smell from the same.
8) Planting Marigold reduces attack of pest : nematode
9) Drumstick leaves and coconut water can be used to simulate flowering hormone.
10) Weeds can be retained to prevent soil erosion and improve moisture content in soil.
Worms and weeds prevents soil erosion
11) Fermented rice water can be used as effective pesticide against Epi lackna beetle.
12) Neem is very good for pest control
13) Direct inspection and removal of pest manually is effective in case of vegetables. Daily
care is required.
14) 8:1 mixture of Ash and turmeric is used as pesticide for powdery mildew.
15) Cowdung+ castor oil cake + neem cake+ mysore poovan + jaggery+ Gliricidia leaves.
Keep this mixture for 7 days. It is good manure for vegetables.
16) Fish amino acid is a very good manure. It is prepared by combining Sardine fish and
17) Vermiwash is a pesticide and it provides extra growth also.

18) Cow urine is very good for growth of vegetables.

Appendix 2
Various Agriculture models that can be replicated

Marketing model
Ayoob Thootholli a farmer at Cherukara, Tharuvana PO (Wayanad) had taken lot of effort in
creating a separate market of his own. He put in lot of effort in the last four to five years by home
delivering his products to neighbours homes. He also manually transported products to areas
where he would get premium price for his products. Due to the marketing effort taken by him he
has created a niche market for himself. Now customers come to his home to buy good quality
organic products by paying a premium price.

Value added products model

Eeliyamma Joseph from Kaanjaar had created a good model for value added products using
jackfruit. Various products such as vada, paayasam, fries, chakkakkuru, chakkakuru podi, poori,
chappatti, jelly from chavana, etc were created using jackfruit. She gives training to other
farmers about preparation methods of these value added products. She also created plates out of
coconut (paala). She sells these products to people who come asking for these products.

Irrigation model
Jolly Varkey of Wayanad a plumber by profession has created water ponds and canals to collect
and utilize rainwater and to prevent its wastage.

Training model
Dr. Maitrei of Wayanad district advocates the significance of organic products to her patients and
co-workers. An organic garden was created at the hospital campus under her supervision. The
hospital staff works in the garden and the products created are distributed among the staff. She
also distributes seedlings to her co-workers and encourages them to cultivate required vegetables
in their own garden.

Natural farming model

In Wayanad about seven farmers used natural method of farming or zero budget farming. These
were the group of farmers inspired by the trainings conducted by Subash Palekkar the advocate
for zero budget farming. These farmers reported increase in yield and significant reduction in
cost of cultivation. They do not use any additional organic manures or pesticides. These farmers
also had significant reduction in weeding and pest occurrence.

Dr Paus of Aikarakunnel, Thodupuzha has not applied any external input for the last 14 years. He
maintained weeds and used bush cutter to cut off extra bushes. He does not plough the land as it
would disturb the micro organisms in the soil. He said that organic farmers are using huge
quantities of fertilizers which is unnecessary. Extra work involved in ploughing and weeding is
not required and allowing micro organisms to thrive in the soil improves its health and increases
productivity of soil.

Appendix 3

Survey: Sustaining Organic Farming in Kerala: Farmers Apprehensions & Appreciation

Approach & way Forward.

1) Name :

2) Age :

3) Gender : Male Female

4) Address :

5) Qualification : UG PG SSLCNo

6) Date and Time of Interview :

7) No: of familymembers :

8) Apart from you, how many members of your household are involved in farming?

9) Total areaof farm land in acres :

Fallow land OF(Organic farming) Non OF

Perennial Annual crops


Owned land Leased land Land given for lease

Rent given Rent received

10) Apart from agriculture what else do you do for earning? What is income?
11) Laborers

Particulars Others Own family

Organic farming
Other type of farming

12) Perception about labor requirement for Organic Farming:

13) How much do you pay for laborers on daily basis?

14) Are the crops cultivated insured. If so name of insurance company, premium and source of subsidy
towards premium. If not why dont you insure your crops :

15) Total Years of your farming experience :

16) Total Years of your organic farming experience :

17) Items of farming :( Tick whichever is applicable )

PerennialC Perennial Annual corps Annual corps Others Pls

orps Corps specify
Coconut Areca nut Turmeric Paddy
Rubber Cashew Ginger Vegetables
Pepper Nutmeg Plantain Yam
Cardamom Pineapple Green chilly Amaranth
Mango Papaya Tapioca Curry leaves

18) Allied agricultural activities

Cow Bee Piggery Poultry Fish/Pra Duck Goat Rabbit Integrated Others Pls
wn/Mus specify


19) How much of organic manure goes for Organic farming vs. non Organic farming?

20) Is it irrigated/rain fed farming? If rain fed, why rain fed?

21) Perception of irrigation requirement for Organic farming vs. non Organic farming? :

22) If irrigated, method of Irrigation in the cultivated lands:

Sprinkle Well Bore well Pond/ Canal River Government Drip Others Pls
irrigation /tube well Tank provided irrigation specify

23) Do you use Biogas? Is the slurry used for Organic farming vs. non Organic farming? :

24) Usage of agricultural machinery:

No Coconut Tiller Harvester Methiyant Tractor Traditional Others Pls
machines Climber ram specify

25) Distinguishing features of crop management :

1. Variety of crops.
2. Intercropping.
3. Usage of traditional seeds suited to the local conditions.
3. Manure creation in the field.
5. Selective weeding.
6. Distribution of food and cash crops.
7. Abundance of fruit trees.
8. Drip Irrigation
9. Animal husbandry
10. Bio fencing and buffer zone
11. Land protection from erosion and run-off
12. Any other (specify) _________

26) Types of organic fertilizers used :

1. Green manure
2. N- fixing crop cultivation
3. Organic fertilizer including wood ash, cow dung, and poultry wastes.
4. Recycling of organic matter
5. Mulching
6. Minerals such as gypsum and rock phosphate
7. Animal excreta
8. Vermicompost
9. Biodynamic preparations
10. Maintain plans as a source for green manure
11. Bio-fertilizers: Bacteria Kit (Ph. bacteria, N bacteria)
12. Narayan Devaraj Pandey (NADEP) Compost
13. Fish meal
14. External inputs: Neem cake, castor oil cake,
15. Biogas slurry (slurry from gobar gas plant)
16. Bone meal
17. Press mud
18. Jeevaamrith
19. Panchagavya
20. Any other (specify) _________

27) Types of organic pesticides used :

1) Manual de-weeding and usage of the weeds as cattle feed or for mulching.
2) Manual removal of pests, bio-controls.
3) Bordeaux mixture
4) Fermented butter milk
5) Jeevamrit
6) Neem oil
7) Panchagavya
8) Cow urine
9) Plant extracts like pongamia, cassia, garlic, Aloe vera, datura, ginger and Chilly,
10) Bio-agents like Tricoderma, Pseudomonas, Verticilliam, HNPV and Bt spray

11) Any other (specify) _________

28) Are you getting more yield doing Organic farming / non Organic farming? For which crop are you
getting more yield?

Particulars Organic farming Non Organic farming

Shelf life
Productivity production/unit area
Cost of cultivation
Occurrence of pest and diseases
Ability to withstand adverse
climatic conditions.


29) Certification: Is your farm certified? If so what type of certification? If not why?

30) Marketing channel and transportation:

31) Income per unit area from Organic farming/non Organic farming:

32) Profit per unit area from Organic farming /non Organic farming:

33) Are you getting premium price for Organic farming products?

34) Countries to which organic products are exported:

35) Excess income from Export vs. domestic price:

36) Items exported:

37) Route for export? NGO/Agency:

38) Is there steady demand?

39) Is there any government support available for exporting?

40) Reasons for changing to organic farming :

1. Sustainable long-term agriculture

2. More revenue due to premium price.
3. Concern for human health
4. Need for more freedom and self-dependence in farming
5. Decreasing profit from farming
6. Philosophical Emotional and ideological reasons
7. Escalating crop diseases and pest infestations
8. Increasing costs and reliance on external sources for labor, fertilizer
9. Decreasing health of the soil
10. Influence of other organic farmers, natural farming, Permaculture, etc.
11. Environment conservation
13. Preserve tradition
14. - Any other (specify) _________

41) Problems faced by organic Farmers :

1. Changes in climate, unpredictable rains.

2. Unavailability of labour and very high wage rate.
3. Pest infestations and diseases.
4. Lack of availability of affordable organic certification agency
5. More labor required.
6. Lack of financial support during transition to organic farming.
7. Lack of market / consumer awareness regarding organic produce.

8. Lack of affordable good quality organic inputs such as fertilizer, seeds and pesticides
9. Lack of availability of organic inputs such as fertilizer, seeds and pesticides
10. Less shelf life of produce.
11. Payback period is high.
12. Any other (specify) _________

42) What are the factors that encourage you to do organic farming?

43) How much is the loan amount that you have taken for farming?

44) Is the loan amount sufficient/Insufficient? If insufficient to what extend?

45) Is credit available at the same extend for Organic farming /non Organic farming?

46) From whom do you take loan?

47) What difficulties have you faced while taking loan?

48) Is there a reduction in yield during first 3 years if so to what extend?

49) Why dont you sell your crops to the government purchase center?

50) For the following items, indicate your choice with a mark in the appropriate box.

(5 = Strongly Agree; 4 = Agree; 3 = neither Agree nor Disagree;

2 = Disagree; 1 = Strongly Disagree)
Items 5 4 3 2 1
1) Good quality organic seeds are available in market
2) Good quality bio pesticides and fertilizers are available in market
3) It is very easy to use bio pesticides and fertilizers
4) I am very happy with using bio pesticides and fertilizers
5) I am happy/satisfied with the rates of crops decided by the Government
6) Using organic method of farming increases my revenue
7) People appreciate me for using organic method of farming
8) Organic products provide better yield
9) Organic products provide better revenue
10) Marketing setup is sufficient
11) Profit from OF is attractive
12) Pesticide and fertilizer poison and hybrid crops residue in food can result

in dangers in future.
13) I have benefitted from below schemes
a. RashtriyaKrishiVikasYojana
b. GraminBhandaranyojana
c. National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
d. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS)
e. Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA)
f. GraminBeejYojana

g. KrishiVigyan Kendra
h. Kisan Credit Card
i. Interest subversion scheme of government
j. Subsidy for agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers etc.
k. National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
l. KarshakaSanthwanam Scheme
m. Sampoornajaivakarshakasamsthanam
o. Apart from the above scheme have you heard of any other scheme?


52) What are the challenges you faced while doing organic farming?

53) Which are the Government organizations such as Krishi Bhavan that are helping you in organic
farming? How are they helping? What more do you think can be done by them?

54) Which are the private organizations or NGOs such as Kerala Social Services Forum that are helping
you in organic farming? How are they helping? What more do you think can be done by them?

55) What are the marketing techniques used to improve awareness and acceptance of your products?
Which are the other organizations involved in marketing of your products? How do you think
marketing efforts can be improved?

56) Have you ever got Kisan SMS on your mobile? If not why?

57) Whom do you contact for advice if you have a sudden unexpected pest infestation?

58) Do you have any tips to improve yield of organic farming?

59) What do you think are the areas/ideas government should focus on to improve adoption of organic

Stakeholder Interview schedule

1) What are the developments in organic farming? State govt strategy to make Kerala organic by 2016.
Which are the other agencies involved (govt and private)?

2) Which are the districts best following organic farming?

3) Which are the districts not following organic farming?

4) Is there any correlation observed between organic farming and animal husbandry?

5) Is there any correlation observed between organic farming and organic manure?

6) Is there any correlation observed between organic farming and bio gas production in the area?

7) Are there any models developed for organic farming?

8) What is current status of input availability/quality certifications? What are the challenges?

9) Are good quality inputs available for organic farming?

10) Possibilities for introducing quality certifications for inputs related to organic farming/challenges?

11) What are the related trainings requirements?

12) What are the various stakeholders? What are their roles?

13) What are the bottlenecks which dissuade farmers from taking up organic farming?

14) There is conflicting opinion while pursuing Organic farming what are the possible reasons for this?

15) Is yield from organic farming dependent on the extent of damage done to the soil?

16) What are challenges for taking up Organic farming on large scale in terms of quality of product/shelf

17) Are there any documented tips from farmers to increase yield through Organic farming?

18) What are the crops for which organic farming is suitable?

19) What are the crops for which organic farming is not suitable? Have university/department come out
with package of practices for growing crops organically?

20) What is the strategy to make organic farming sustainable?

21) Are current organic farming certifications affordable or available If not why?

22) Are current organic farmers (Certified/not certified) getting price premium?

23) Is organic farming finding favour among small/large farmers?

24) It is suitable for large farmers.

25) Is organic farming finding favour among Homestead/single crop farmers (annual crops/perennials)?

26) What is status of organic farming for lease land cultivators?

27) Marketing system in Kerala for organic products. Are there any set up available. Has any agency
worked model for marketing organically grown crops?

28) Publications/websites related to organic farming

29) SWOT analysis of organic farming

30) Expected yield increase in general. Are there studies conducted on per cent increase?

Agency Interview schedule

1) Agency name :

2) Jurisdiction :

3) Location address :

4) Constitutional structure :

Quasi government NGO Trust Government OthersPls specify

5) Whose programs are you supporting State/Central? Which all programs?

SHM RKVY Agriculture department Other Pls specify

6) Which districts are you concentrating? Are your programs extending across multiple districts? If
so which districts?

7) How long has the agency been promoting Organic farming?

8) Which are the area you are concentrating on and to what extend?
Training Which area: manure production/conversion/marketing
Provide manure/financial assistance/fertilizer/market
Help in marketing
Help in getting premium price

9) What are the schemes implemented by Agency for organic farming?

10) Do you promote individual farmers or cluster of farmers?

11) On what criteria is farmers selected for financial support?

12) Which is the list of farmers benefitted from schemes?

13) Which are the other departments/organizations with whom you are coordinating to meet the

14) What are the apprehensions for Organic farming?

15) What are the appreciations for Organic farming?

16) What are the challenges faced?

17) Have you found correlation between AH and Organic farming?

18) What more do you think can be done to improve the situation?

19) What are the best practices observed in the field?

20) What is the future strategy to meet the objective of making Kerala 100 per cent organic by 2016?