For the first time in the State, a tribal community has obtained organic certification for their farm produce, thanks to the efforts of Collector V. Vishnu.
The tribe lives in Agasthiyar, Servalar, Chinna Mayilar and Periya Mayilar hamlets, all situated near Servalar and Papansam dams, and Injikuzhi area that is deep inside a dense forest 14 km beyond Papanasam dam. They have been cultivating a range of farm products for the past several decades using natural manure and pesticides without being able to reap the benefit of selling organic products.
They grow lemon, banana, jack fruit, tapioca, cashew, coconut, green gram, pepper, pineapple, mango and almond and collect minor forest produce such as honey, amla, bay leaves, fig and jamun to be sold to customers visiting their hamlets. They strictly avoid using chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides. However, the right price eluded them due to lack of organic certification from competent bodies for the products.
Things began to change for the better when the Collector met them on Monday last to hand over a mini-cargo vehicle for transportation of their farm produce to consumers on the plains. He promised to get them the much-needed certificate and that set the ball rolling.
On behalf of Mayilar Kani Kudiyiruppu Eco Development Committee, an application seeking organic certification was submitted to National Programme for Organic Production Standards and Swiss Organic Farming Ordinance.
Subsequently, Coimbatore-based Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department inspected the place and products, and issued certification for a period of one year from June 25, 2021 to June 24, 2022.
The validity of the certificate depends on continued compliance with the required standards and is subject to annual surveillance inspection.
“It is a proud moment and great recognition for the uncompromising sincerity, integrity and hard work of the Kani people over all these decades. Now, 40 of their farm products will be available with organic certification, which will fetch them a better price,” said Mr. Vishnu.
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