Food security through knowledge in Tamilnadu
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Over the years there have been many efforts taken by both governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure food security in India.
One such NGO that operates in the state of Tamil Nadu is SCAD- Social Change And Development. This has been fundamental since 1985 and has focused on empowering the marginalized communities in about 500 villages of Tamil Nadu. Many of the farmers in these areas are small scale producers who are often isolated, lack support and knowledge. Through SCAD, the farmers receive advice, support and information on the latest technological advances to help them cultivate the best crops from the land and to raise healthy animals. Their farm centre, known as Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), is supported by the Central Government of India and many innovative technologies that have sustainable advantages have been developed for the local farming communities. KVK has a soil, plant and water testing labs, bio agents, bio fungicides and bio fertilizer production labs. A nursing and farming area are available for trials and experiments. The problems faced by farmers, if any, are sorted out through KVK collaboration with farmers.
Soil fertility project has undertaken by them to provide organic products for rural farmers using agriculture and market waste. Two main products made are Biochar and Liquid fertilizer. Biochar is a coal made from 'dry' agricultural waste such as straw, rice husks, unused woody material etc. The process of PYROLYSIS is used to make biochar from charcoal. Fertilizers are also made from 'wet' waste such as vegetable trimmings from SCAD kitchens and green waste from local markets. 'Charfer' is a combination of biochar and liquid fertilizer and it can be used effectively to improve soil fertility and crop yields, without destroying ecosystems.
Veterinary camps are a crucial part of SCAD wherein dairy, poultry and domestic animals are treated. About 50 camps are held each year and 10,000 animals are vaccinated. Technical guidance on starting cow and goat rearing units, backyard poultry rearing, rabbit rearing and fish cultivation is provided.
Fish cultivation is done in freshwater. Traditional water reservoirs called 'ooranies' collect monsoon and are then stacked with freshwater fish with a supply of nutritiously rich food. These fishes are large, less expensive and the profits obtained by selling them is used for the maintenance of 'ooranies' and to expand fish culture.
I think that SCAD has not only benefitted people by providing them with food security, but also encouraged them to expand their knowledge by educating them in the scientific aspects farming and rearing animals for a sustainable living.