The Panchayat Raj Movement (PRM) was founded in India in1989 by a group of youth activists with the vision to create a society where every human being can live in peace, harmony and respect with each other. They aim to connect various grassroots groups of different backgrounds to form an integrated community.
Over the course of 6 months two staff members from PRM, with the help of 15 volunteers, facilitated the training of 50 farmers from 10 different villages- Aiyavayal, Kurunchampatti, Shanthinipatti, Kadiyapatti, Veerakudi, Kangampatti, Perampur, Surundampatti, Muttampatti and Palaiyaveerakudi.
The initial session was held at the PRM Field Office run by Mrs. Vijaya, a local organic farmer, teaching permaculture skills with a focus on introducing mixed crops into agriculture, digging small ditches for rainwater harvesting, growing herbal plants to make pest repellents and compost making with agriculture waste and promoting perennial crops. The participants gained hands-on experience in making compost, natural pest repellents and setting up worm farms.
The development of better and more affordable pump systems has seen a steady increase in the groundwater consumption in the south of India. The ancient technique of digging ditches for rain water harvesting was demonstrated and is reviving the area immensely.
Other monoculture farmers have taken an interest in the project and have since experimented with more sustainable ways of mixed farming and natural fertilisation of their crops.
Now over 150 acres of land have been planted out using permaculture techniques. Soil and water conservation structures are being made and only organic inputs were used. 500 to 750kg of produce was harvested and up to 350 farmers in 10 villages are being made aware of permaculture techniques for land regeneration.
In addition to this, there was another training day offered by Mrs. Sumathi to teach 30 women how to value add to their millet products. Also, 5 seed banks were established over the course of the project. The monsoon rains were better than expected and allowed the farmers to earn an income from their farming activities. The project achieved its goal and created a larger impact than anticipated.
Fund-raising activities, donations, tithes and pledges to Permaculture Australia’s Permafund are warmly welcomed and are supporting community projects like this in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. One off or recurring tax-deductible donations to Permafund can be made here. Many thanks.
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Felix Leibelt – Permafund Team