August 27, 2019
Coimbatore : Farmers, agri-expertrs and academics have extended support to the Cauverry Calling movement, launched by Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, to revitalise the drying Cauvery river.
The programme is expected to enable the farmers plant 242 crore saplings in Cauvery basin spanning Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and the massive afforestation effort will not only enhance the river basin’s capacity to hold water, but also increase farmers wealth by three to eight times in five to seven years.
At a joint press conference addressed by experts, Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association chairman P Chellamthu said though farmers had been feeding the nation, their socioeconomic status had not improved in the past 70 years.
The market price for farm produce was not determined by the farmer. Partial conversion to tree-based agriculture could help enhance their income as they could take care of their needs with high-value trees.
India was a timber exporting country in the past but was now importing the wood and growing commercially valuable trees would help farmers as all wood-based product industries could not sources their material from forests, Dr K T Parthiban, head of agro forestry at the Forest College and Research Institute in Mettupalayam, said.
One of the pioneer agro-forestry farmers in Tamil Nadu, Valluvan, said his experiments with inter=cropping were guided by Isha Agro Forestry and had yielded good returns over the decade.
The groundwater level in his farmland had also increased significantly and led to filling up of a well which had earlier dried up. Isha agro forestry coordinator Tamil Maran said that since the beginning of August, an
intensive on-ground farmer outreach programme covered thousands of villages in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu bringing awareness about agro-forestry to more than 60,000 farmers.
Sadhguru would lead a bike rally from Talacauvery in Karnataka on September 3, passing through Thirvarur in Tamil Nadu and culminating at Chennai on September 15, covering 1,200 km in 12 days.