AGRO BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION PROGRAMME
The main objective of the project was to restore the biodiversity of agro-ecosystems, which has plummeted drastically during the last decades. The pilot project was at Padetty in Erimayoor Village, Alathur Thaluk, Palakkad district. 100 acres of paddy owned by 69 families, were converted to organic farming, with a view to enhance the agro biodiversity of the locality. Data from an adjacent area, where cultivation is carried out through chemical means were also collected for comparison.
The implementation of this project probably is a success story in the enhancement of agro biodiversity, achieved through people, Panchayats and the Agricultural Department. In addition to improving the biodiversity, the livelihood of the farmers in the village also improved. Adopting organic farming practices in 100 hectare (a total of 400 ha, out of which 100 ha paddy) paddy cultivation, though initially yield was low, fetched higher price and supplementary income was also generated through the homestead vegetable cultivation organically. Evidences on improvement in the biota especially of soil organisms, benthic fauna, amphibians and birds were also obtained from the scientific documentation through the outsourced projects. It was observed that insectivorous birds which disappeared decades back, reappeared. The population of crabs, frogs and reptiles were also improved after shifting from chemical farming to organic farming. The awareness on organic farming practices of the farmers enhanced considerably and now the Padetty village can act like a hub where at least 10-20 farmers are capable of imparting training to other farmers on organic farming practices because of the farmer field schools programme carried out under the project.