Meet farming super heroine of Tamilnadu

By Krishna Srinivas V Published on Jan 01, 2018 03:18 PM IST

Chennai: In the recent times, farming, which is one of the oldest professions in India, is affected due to adverse conditions like lack of water, industrialisation and insufficient relief. But, many are working towards bringing back the glory days of Indian agriculture. One such organisation is Indian Super Heroes (ISH) which works towards propagating agriculture, garnering attention of urban clan and helping farmers in the process.

Founded by Divya Shetty, an activist based out of Coimbatore, the main aim of ISH is to help farmers get the right price for their produce.

"In this day and age, a lot of middle-men involve themselves between farmers and end consumers. Though I don't object it, these middle-men always become the deciding authority right from fixing the price for both the parties to deciding when to sell. In most of cases, they end up being paid higher than the farmers itself which is bad as the latter are the ones who toiled hard for the produce," she said.

With funds from friends, family and a number of like-minded NGOs, Divya said, ISH's initial investment was just Rs 10 lakhs. "We have created an online platform for farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers. Residents can just log on to our website and buy fresh farm produce for competitive prices. The greatest advantage is that there are no middle-men and more than 70 per cent of the profit directly goes to farmers," Divya emphasised.

"As of now, we connect over 800 organic farmers in Tamilnadu who sell their produce on a daily-basis. Not only that, we are also roping in others into agriculture by helping them take up farm lands for rent and providing them with necessities. We encourage the urban population by offering them weekend getaways and other attractive packages. Many are interested in farming but don't have idea about its know-hows. Our getaways bridge this gap. Our organisation's experts teach the basics of farming to all participants on a weekly-basis," she added.

When asked what separates them from the rest, Divya emphatically said, 'Our focus on organic produce is what makes us unique. We not only help farmers through our platform but encourage more and more people to take up organic farming. Our other aspects include boot camps and incorporating new features like as virtual reality (VR). In fact, our next phase of development is going to be the establishment of a VR platform where people can monitor their farms from far-off."

"Young kids will be playing a major role in this. We will soon be conducting workshops across schools and inspire them to take up organic farming through technological advancements like VR. In our roadshow, we received good response from parents as they see this as a productive activity rather than video games or television,' she explained.

In the end, revealing her future plans, Divya said, "We are working on a concept called Agribot which is nothing but bringing automation in farming. In addition, we are aiming to reach out to over 2,000 farmers in the next six months."

Uplift for organic farming
Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient time. It is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco friendly pollution free environment.

As per the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team on organic farming 'it is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection'.