Sunday farming (Sustenance through nurturing and dignifying approaches for youth in farming) may be a new term for many, but hundreds of progressive youth and students in Kerala state have been harnessing agri-technologies through Sundayfarming@gmail.com .
The United Nations had declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming and 2015 as year of soil. But in 2003 Sunday farming had launched family farming for nutritional security, soil wisdom, seed security and decentralized waste management as slogans for the past one decade. Many among them are now sharing their experiences through social media group and page on Sunday farming.
Sunday farming was developed by P.K. Abdul Jabbar, Assistant Professor (Agriculture Extension) of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Wayanad under the Kerala Agricultural University to nurture and dignify farming in budding generation. He developed the concept while working as an agriculture officer at Vattamkulam Krishi Bhavan in Malappuram district in 2003. The avid interest shown by a group of part-time famers prompted him to launch the initiative.
“Though they were enthusiastic, many lacked professional guidance as were involved in farming only on holidays,” Dr. Jabbar said . When Dr. Jabbar launched the project with the support of Oisca International South India chapter there were four Sunday farming clubs in Malappuram district. Now there are 105 such clubs in Kozhikode, Ernakulam,Palakkad ,Malappuram, and Wayanad districts.
'The programme is a wonderful initiative for the farming enthusiasts ,including government officials ,youths and business men, in urban and semi urban areas of the country as the group would get only a day in a week for spending agriculture' ,says Dr. M.J. Chandre Gowda, Principal scientist ,Agriculture Technology Application Research Institute under the ICAR ,Bangaluru .'More over the farmers' clubs under the initiative has a great potential in all cities in the country',Dr.Gowda adds.
Any youth keen on family farming, can constitute Sunday farming club. “The present agriculture system forgets the vast scope of technology transfer and bridging the digital divide by diffusing technologies through cyber space. Youngsters in the family can assume the role of retrieving technologies for the family.” he said.
What fascinates young generation to Sunday farming is its technology combination of nutrition garden, terrace farming, rain shelter farming, organic farming technologies, special varieties for family farming, homemade growth promoters, key hole farming, vermi wash production from kitchen waste , portable bio-gas production, treadle pumping, low cost drip and sprinkler system, banana macro propagation and triangular planting , mushroom from waste bottles,etc. Together all technologies provide ecological intelligence , horticultural therapy and safe food for stressed youth thus achieving organic freedom of villages.
After initial two hours muti media presentation for a club, further technologies will be transferred online from email@example.com and to beneficiary emails and mobile phones through social media. So far 145 sessions have been handled for the members on holidays.
Family seed security is equally aimed as an integral part of achieving nutritional security in villages. A brinjal variety developed by Balakrishnan Nair of Vattamkulam panchayat named ‘Vattamkulam brinjal’ was popularised through Sunday farming . Treadle pumping, a link between organic farming and daily exercises, is promoted as a zero carbon technology for family farmers for an insight of reducing carbon foot prints.
Facilitating diffusion of technologies to the fingertips of new generation, it has become a virtual platform for transfer of farming technologies to citizens in family farming.
Till Mr. Jabbar launched Sunday farming, there was no online guidance exclusively for part-time farmers. The Coconut Board in 2009 and the Oisca International in 2012 and 2015 awarded him for his services. Sunday farming methodology was mentioned in standard VIII science text book by the State Education Department .
For more details readers can contact P.K.Abdul Jabbar on Karshikam@gmail.com or Mobile number 9447228022 .Caption- Dr.Abdul Jabbar demonstrating treadle pumping to the BSC agriculture students of the College of Agriculture at Padannakadu under the Kerala Agricultural University on a Sunday farming session held at Thirunelly in Wayanad district recently.