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Karmuhil Organic Farms

Karmuhil Organic Farms

  1. KARMUHIL evolved out of MUHIL as “a spontaneous response to the call of the farming families” of the villages of Thirumangalam Taluk of Madurai District in Tamil Nadu during the Drought and Failure of Monsoon for three consecutive years of 2001-2004.

The Village Women Health Workers later became Agents of Social Change, beckoning us to begin agricultural activities, enlisting a number of small farmers, including women farmers from the target villages. They had also identified hundreds of unorganized landless women and men farm workers. In order to cope with recurring failure of monsoon rains and prolonged drought conditions for consecutive years (2001-2004), planned systematic agricultural involvement was necessitated.

  • Efforts to cope with Drought and Poverty of Farming Community:

Bio Dynamic Agriculture (BDA) Methods of Farming as the Alternative

In Oct 2004 Fr. Clement Joseph and Dr. Fatima Rani underwent the BDA Training Programme conducted by the BDAI at Kodaikanal. The Muhil Group then conceived of the concept of Karmuhil (in Tamil means the ‘dark monsoon clouds’) as another Peoples Movement in order

  • to promote Bio Dynamic Agriculture among the poor farmers of the villages
  • to reclaim wasted private small and tiny farm lands
  • to promote harvest of rain water
  • to prevent migration of rural farming people to urban and semi urban sectors and
  • to provide employment and job security for the landless farm workers.

We facilitated different levels of training of willing farmers who owned small and tiny farm lands, i.e., less than 5 acres, and landless men and women farm workers from the villages by Mr. Peter Proctor, Ms Rachel Pomeroy and Mr.Jaison J. Jerome in 2005.

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  1. Karmuhil would engage the women and the small farmers of the villages in the processes of Reclamation & Rejuvenation of wasted farmlands & Herbal and Aromatic Crop Cultivation.

    Karmuhil would promote processing units and also be involved in value addition.

    Karmuhil would grow medicinal plants organically, which would be used as raw material to produce Siddha (herbal) Medicines, external & internal, for Muhil Health Center.

    Karmuhil would also be engaged in the cultivation of vegetables and fruit trees to supplement the food needs of the people of the villages.

    Karmuhil would cultivate aromatic plants which would be processed to produce essential oils; and market them as an income generation activity to enhance the livelihood of the farming families.

    Karmuhil would train and enable farming families to assume Community Social Responsibility (CSR) in order to protect natural environment, improve biodiversity and adopt Ecological Regenerative Agriculture as farming methods (ERA Farming).

Five Gardens of Karmuhil Organic Farms

Karmuhil began its initial BDA Farm Activities in the five Gardens listed below:

  1. Muhil Gardens (01.33 ha),
  2. Semmuhil Gardens (01.02 ha),
  3. Venmuhil Gardens (02.71 ha)
  4. Vanmuhil Gardens (11.58 ha) and
  5. Karmuhil Gardens (09.62 ha).

These Gardens are close to each other on either side of the NH 744 located about 6 Km away from the Town of Thirumangalam. They are marked on Google Maps as well.

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During these couple of years, 2005-2007, intense process of setting up Rain Harvest Land Structures in the five Gardens provided much relief and success in water harvesting.

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The excavated soil was made use of for laying of farm tracks, primarily all around the fences to prevent water drainage from neighboring farm lands which have not adopted to organic farming.

Adaptive Research Analysis & Trial Cultivation

Adaptive Research Analysis (2006-2009) was conducted in a 4 acre farm land of Vanmuhil Gardens to convert farm lands into Bio Dynamic Agriculture and promote Cultivation of Aroma Crops.

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Trial Cultivation of palmarosa, citronella and lemon grass culminated in the distillation of palmarosa, citronella and lemon grass essential oils in April 2009. The BDA efforts taken were a tremendous success.

The BDA Farming Methods were adhered to very intensely in following farm lands from the year 2006:

  1. Muhil Gardens (01.33 ha),
  2. Semmuhil Gardens (01.02 ha),
  3. Vanmuhil Gardens (11.58 ha),
  4. Karmuhil Gardens (09.62 ha),

Encouraged by the results, a proper Social Enterprise Project Proposal was drafted: “Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2011-2014”.

Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklungs e. V., Bochum, Germany came forward to be our partner for the Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2011-2014.

The certified farm lands were further developed along the guidelines and under the supervision of BDA Expert as part of the “Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2011-2014”.

farming methods needs to be sustained and implemented by the farm workers, BDA Training Programs were designed and conducted for the farmers and farm workers of the villages as part of the Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2011-2014.

Moreover, in order to realize the objectives of the “Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2011-2014”, clusters of small and tiny farm lands scattered in nearly 40 villages of Thirumangalam Taluk of Madurai District in Tamil Nadu were mobilized. More than 100 farmers and more than 300 landless women and men farm workers have been trained in bio dynamic agriculture as part of the “Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2011 - 2014”.

  • Implementation strategy: “Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2011-2014”

CONCEPT

  1. Crop Cultivation (Aromatic essential oils and other food crops),
  2. Organizational Set up: evolution of organizational set up through developing expertize and decentralization of power,
  3. Multiplier Effect or ripple effect: monitored processes of revolving funds and products among the beneficiaries,
  4. Scale down – scale up – Hazard Control – Risk Management – Critical control points,
  5. Diversified farm structures & products – to cater to diversified markets: local, zonal, seasonal and international,
  6. Protection of farmers’ interests by value addition to farm products: value added vegetables and fruits in peak seasons,
  7. Establishment of Producer Company to empower farmers and farm workers to become self-reliant.

 

Objectives of the project:

  1. To promote crop diversification into aromatic plants among small & marginal farmers
  2. To promote cultivation of aromatic plants through organic & bio-dynamic methods
  3. To get organic certification for all farms growing aromatic plants.
  4. To process aromatic plants and market essential oils as a finished product
  5. To grow herbs needed for making herbal medicines for primary health care
  6. To empower women and small farmers to become part of a co-operative that will produce and market aromatic oils and herbal medicines, as Karmuhil Organic Farms.
  7. To market the dried culinary herbs &
  8. To stop selling agricultural lands and prevent non-agricultural activities on them.

 

Primary Activities:

  1. Cultivation and processing of aromatic plants
  2. Cultivation of vegetables and fruit trees
  3. Growing of herbs and dried herbs manufactures
  4. Manufacture of essential oils to promote value added agriculture
  5. Evolve an Institute of Training in Bio Dynamic Agriculture
  6. Adequate training of farmers in Bio Dynamic Agriculture
  7. Developing Nurseries

 

Project Area: 40 Villages of Tirumangalam Taluk, Madurai District, Tamil Nadu.

 

 

 

  • Tirali Panchayat:
    1. Tirali
    2. Achampatti
    3. Sundarrajapuram
    4. Pacchaikoppanpatti
    5. Katrampatti

    Sowdarpatti Panchayat:

    1. Sowdarpatti
    2. Meenachipuram
    3. Vaalnayakkanpatti
    4. Valaiyappatti
    5. Muthuppatti
    6. Indira Colony
    7. Sithireddipatti
    8. Pottipuram
    9. Sokkalingapuram

     

  • Kilavaneri Panchayat:
    1. Kilavaneri
    2. Ponnampatti
    3. MGR Nagar

    Alampatti Panchayat:

    1. Alampatti (East)
    2. Andippatti (West)

    Pudupatti Panchayat:

    1. Pudupatti

    Alapalacherri Panchayat:

    1. Alapalacheri
    2. Vazhvandhalpuram
    3. Idaiyappatti
    4. Venkatesapuram
    5. Kattaareddipatti

    Mathippanur Panchayat:

    1. Mathippanur
    2. Arunachalapuram
    • Resource Farms & Producer Company

    The five certified Gardens were listed as the Resource Farms in which the farmers and farm workers of the villages would be trained in BDA Farming Methods. In the course of the implementation of the Project, the following independent enclosures were established:

    1. Cowshed,
    2. CPP Shed,
    3. Compost Yard,
    4. 2 Shade Net Houses as Nurseries,
    5. Vermi compost (shade net) sheds and
    6. 1-ton capacity Distillation Unit with Solar Systems to produce essential (aroma) oils, named MIRACLE AROMA

     

    Organic fodder cultivated in the converted organic farms of the Project Farmers from the villages ensures quality cow dung to produce quality BD Compost & CPP manure

    • Seedlings were produced in the Shade Net Houses of the Karmuhil Organic Farms and distributed to the farmers of the villages

      In 2015, Karmuhil Producer Company Limited has been registered. Its office has been opened in Muhil Gardens for the present.

      In order to stablize and standardize

      1. the practices of Bio Dynamic Farming,
      2. management of the different supportive units and
      3. the newly established Producer Company

      The Second Phase of the Project: “Karmuhil Organic Farms Project 2015-2018” was proposed to the Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklungs e. V., Bochum, Germany.

      The Second Phase of the Project was accepted and approved with the Project Period from July 2015 to December 2018.

      Karmuhil Organic Farms cooperates today with a number of small & tiny scale farmers which are united under the umbrella of Karmuhil Producer Company Limited. The land owning farmers, with signed contracts in order to implement biodynamic agriculture on their farms, produce different crops, including fodder grass and palmarosa for the company. They get training and support from the company. The cow shed on Karmuhil Organic Farms provides these farmers also with cow dung, if needed.