January 30, 2022
During the COVID pandemic, Cauvery Calling enabled farmers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to plant a record 2.1 crore trees. *1,25,000 farmers spanning the two states have adopted tree-based farming* on their lands, Shri. Tamilmaran, Coordinator, Cauvery Calling told reporters at a press conference at the Coimbatore Press Club today.
He said that the motorcycle rally undertaken by Sadhguru, Founder- Isha Foundation, in 2019 to create awareness and build consensus for cohesive action to revitalize river Cauvery had yielded extremely positive results- farmers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka began showing interest in the tree-based farming model as a result of the rally, he said. In addition, field volunteers of the Cauvery Calling Movement have been going from village to village in the river basin districts in the two states to educate farmers about the economic and ecological benefits of planting trees. Shri. Tamilmaran said that Cauvery Calling volunteers visit farmlands of those who express interest in tree-based farming to study soil properties and irrigation facilities before recommending suitable saplings. He said special field training sessions are also held for farmers on the premises of successful model farms to encourage them to embrace the model.
Other on-ground activities include plantation drives to mark birth anniversaries and remembrance days of prominent agronomists such as Thiru Nammazhvar Aiya, Thiru Nell Jayaraman and Thiru Maram Thangasamy, he said. The highly successful drives have enabled the planting of more than 1 lakh saplings on each occasion including nationally celebrated days such as Gandhi Jayanti and Vana Mahotsavam. Awareness programs and sapling planting events have also been held in 650 farmlands across Tamil Nadu.
Shri. Tamilmaran said a total of 6.2 crore saplings have been planted till date through various Isha environmental projects including the Cauvery Calling Movement and added that 32 Isha nurseries operating in Tamil Nadu produce saplings through natural methods to supply the demand. Training sessions are also held for those interested in starting their own nurseries.
Shri. Tamilmaran also spoke about the online efforts of the Movement to broaden its reach through social media. He said about 20 lakh volunteers are involved in this effort. Their activities include managing 128 WhatsApp farmer groups through which accurate and relevant information is disseminated. Every month 4 lakh farmers get information about various government schemes and agro-forestry programs through social media. He said 890 rural youths have been assigned to interact directly with farmers.
Shri. Valluvan, a farmer from Coimbatore said, “Planting trees between coconut trees, my farm has increased soil fertility. The ground water level has risen and the demand for water has decreased. Yield and product quality have improved.” Farmer Mr. Vanjimuthu said “I heard about the activities of the Cauvery Calling Movement and planted saplings 2 years ago. Now the trees are well grown, which is very satisfying.”