Women members of Krishi Sahayi group. Photo: Special arrangement
FARMER’S NOTEBOOKAbout 35 out of 100 panchayats in the district are adopting this model
Amidst reports of abandoning paddy cultivation due to high labour cost and labour scarcity in Kerala, records maintained by a leading paddy farmers’ group named Avunjikad Padashekhara Samithy in Malappuram District point to a saving of Rs. 63,375 on cost of transplanting in an area of 15 acres for paddy.
The records reveal that the total expenditure of fully mechanised paddy cultivation for an area of 3 acres is Rs. 38,430 instead of Rs. 74,890 in conventional method — a saving Rs.12,150 per acre.
A study shows that the cost of transplanting using a transplanter is Rs.36,000 and that of manual transplanting is Rs. 99,375.
“This was made possible through the intervention of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Malappuram by developing a fully equipped women’s group named ‘Krishi Sahayi’ aimed at helping individual farmers and farmers’ groups in undertaking mechanised paddy cultivation in a cost effective way,” says Dr. Ayyappan, Director General, ICAR, New Delhi.
On gaining experience in the field under the supervision of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) scientists, women trainees decided to organise themselves into a self help group (SHG).
Thus, with the support and supervision of KVK, 11 women formed the group named ‘Krishi Sahayi’. KVK Malappuram convinced the paddy growing farmers of the advantages of mechanisation over conventional methods utilising Krishi Sahayi and as a result many farmers who turned away from paddy cultivation came forward to cultivate the crop in their fallow lands.
The group received several calls from farmers to undertake similar mechanised paddy cultivation in their regions.
But there was one problem. The group faced the constraint of repairing and servicing of machinery costing a huge amount from their earnings.