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Wayanad Social Service Society

Projects And Programmes

WSSS is concentrating in particular among the small & marginal farmers for their betterment in the overall context, highlighting ‘Sustainable Development’ as the motto. At awareness and organizational levels, the Society has done a lot apart from introducing several innovations in the farming sector and popularizing them by implementing specific projects and programmes. The Society envisages sustainable agriculture with optimum returns, stability and regenerative management of natural resources. In accordance with the above it is purported to equip and empower the farming communities for judicious and progressive agricultural practices and absolute control and management over the means of production and produces including fair pricing of it. In the process the participation of the entire community ought to be there with desirable levels of equity in appropriating the output/ results in one form or the other. Wayanad is known as land of plantations and spices, the crops grown there in unique agro climate enjoying superiority in the international market. On the contrary, the small and marginal farmers who produce them stand largely deprived with low yield and poor prices as compared to the high investment and hard labour. In this respect, majority of the local farming community is constituted of agricultural settlers migrated from elsewhere and the entire population lags behind practically in all aspects of development. The primary sector of agriculture is still distanced from technological advancement, credit facilities, marketing linkages, etc. The major plantation crops include coffee, tea, pepper, cardamom and rubber. Coffee based farming system is a notable feature of Wayanad. Coffee is grown both as pure crop and as mixed crop along with pepper. Pepper is grown largely along with coffee in the north eastern parts of the district. As per the latest agricultural statistics coffee and pepper equally shares the cropping area accounting for about 60% of it in the whole district. Other inter cultivated major crops are coconut, areca nut, cardamom, cassava and ginger. Wet land area occupies 22,772 hectares cropped with rice, banana, areca nut and vegetables seasonally. These fields are mostly lying along the valleys formed between hillocks. 90% of the farming community is invariably small & marginal farmers occupying 60% of the total cultivated land. The remaining land is in the possession of planters including companies in the form of coffee and tea estates. The economy of the region as well as the livelihood of the population stand threatened owing to diminishing returns from agriculture. Taking 1990 as the base year, agricultural output has been decreased by 60% as of now and productivity by 30% . ). It is from 1980’s onwards that the farming sector in Wayanad has come under the grip of inordinate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The fast gains during the early periods by way of enhanced outputs turned the farmers greedy and rather crazy after chemical inputs being totally unaware of the inherent danger in the form of soil degradation to the extent of the farm land becoming unproductive. The period under review witnessed a thorough shift from organic farming to chemical fertilizer applied cultivation at the undue influence of fertilizer companies and their agents. It is not too late for the farming community to go back to organic farming and steps have been already initiated to mobilize the farmers and equip them scientifically in organic agriculture. In this respect, the Wayanad Social Service Society could rightfully stake claim as the pioneering organization in promoting and propagating organic cultivation closely collaborating with the programs of the Government and other national agencies like Spices Board, NABARD and State Horticulture Mission. In year 2000 WSSS selected by Spices Board as an implementing agency for the promotion organic spices cultivation, a project funded by International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva among Small & marginal farmers in Wayanad. Three clusters having five small farmers groups from Marakav, Edayoorkunnu and Kammana villages having total 106 small land holders were started organic certification process under an Internal Control System (ICS) and further National Centre for Organic Farming (NCOF) given a Service Provider status for the promotion of organic farming for 1500 farmers in Wayanad since 2003. Moreover State Horticulture Mission (SHM) department also provide support for the promotion of organic farming by availing subsidy for farm inputs and organic certification programme in Wayanad for couple of last years. 1.    Farmer Groups Networking of the groups at the village level in configurations of Village Farm Clubs (VFC) and in the spirit of community based democratic organizations. It is desired to bring the Farm Clubs in a legal frameworks and statutory credentials. Accordingly, each and every Village Farm Club will be registered under the relevant Act in force. Also registration with Local Self Government Institutions will be secured. Due representation will be ensured for the Farm Clubs in the decision/policy making bodies of the farmers organic agriculture programme and that of the mother organization, WSSS. The Assemblies scheduled to be in session every month would be the forum that gives propulsion to the village farming community and the livelihood system with the information/ knowledge, motivation and all other internal inputs. This will be also an evaluation on action/ reflection with the participants sharing their experience and concerns with courses corrections jointly deliberated upon under the guidance of resource persons. Occasionally as the case may be Govt. Officials and People’s representatives from the LSGIs, Banking and credit institutions will be present and pass on information on various schemes that has bearing on farming sector development, marketing support systems, good governance and practical training avenues on various appropriate technologies etc,. 2.   Clusters   The farmers identified will be formed into neighborhood groups of 25 members on the average. Naturally, the farm land of the group members would be geographical cluster and a micro watershed in character. Crop similarity will be another consideration of homogeneous grouping. Moreover, the common binding factor of the groups would be that the members practice thrift and micro credit and accordingly they will be given orientation and linkages worked out for uninterrupted the farming activities and livelihood affairs.  The group system also is advocated for internal monitoring and documentation arising out of the envisaged systematic organic farming.  It will be mandatory that the group meet every week for learning, experience/ knowledge sharing, micro credit transactions, review and recurrent planning, farm level documentation etc,.  Two commonly accepted persons each form every group and kept in place to discharge leadership responsibilities.