Trainings on Sustainable Practices for Cardamom Farmers in Kerala

08 November 2022
Farmers attending FSA training program and discussion and group exercise with women farmers on importance of Biodiversity [©GIZ/Poonam Pandey]
Farmers attending FSA training program and discussion and group exercise with women farmers on importance of Biodiversity [©GIZ/Poonam Pandey]

The cardamom plantation itself is a biodiversity-rich farm. However, the overuse of agrochemicals in recent decades has had negative impacts in the long term. Farmers are using huge amounts of pesticides to control pests and diseases in Cardamom to get better yields. However, these deadly chemicals are affecting the quality of Cardamom as well as soil health and water quality. Heavy usage of pesticides is also a threat to biodiversity as well as health of the Cardamom farmers. Biodiversity plays a crucial role in human nutrition through its influence on the quality of food production as well as conserves natural resources and ecosystems.

For getting better yields and better returns, the production of compliant and good quality Cardamom is very important. To facilitate the process of Sustainable Production practices, Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) plays an important role in the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices. The FSA program is not a certification system but a verification program for farmers to help them produce, sell, and source sustainably produced agricultural products. FSA is a toolset for farmers to assess, improve and verify a farm’s sustainability performance. It improves a farmer’s social, environmental performance, and common understanding of sustainable agriculture.

Thus, DPP GIZ-AVT McCormick project organized two trainings on FSA certification for Cardamom farmers as well as trainings on Biodiversity-Friendly Organic Cultivation of Spices for Women Farmers in Kerala. These trainings were organized at different locations with project farmers at Rajjakkad and Thekkady in the Idukki district. The first training was organized in Rajakkad on 8th November 2022 on FSA certification for Cardamom followed by a training for women farmers on Biodiversity-Friendly Organic Cultivation of Spices. A similar series of trainings also was organized on 9th and 10th November 2022 at Thekkady. Mr. M. Mani, MLA from the region, and panchayat leaders were present for the inauguration ceremony. Dr Poonam Pande, Project Manager, GIZ and Mr. Ashok Nair, Head, Sustainable Agri Operations, AVT McCormick presented the brief about the project and Mr. Sajan from GCL Internationals, the lead trainer, facilitated the training on FSA certification for Cardamom. Dr Vijiyan, subject matter expert explained Integrated Pest and Disease Management for Cardamom plantation.

On the second day, around 45 women participated in the training on Biodiversity-Friendly Organic Cultivation of Spices at Rajjakkadu. The training started with brief information about the project by Mr. Ashok Nair, AVT McCormick. This was followed by Dr Indira Devi, Ex. Director of Research, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, who explained the impacts of pesticide usage on human and environmental health. Dr Poonam Pande, GIZ, conducted an interactive session on the importance of biodiversity as well as the role of women in the conservation of biodiversity. Dr. J Thomas, Advisor, Peermade Development Society (PDS) interacted with the participants and presented a case study of women spice farmers engaged in biodiversity conservation. This was followed by a group exercise related to biodiversity in Cardamom farms. Dr. Vijayan talked about the Integrated Pest and Diseases Management (IPM) and Ms. Pradnya Thombare, GIZ, explained how women farmers can prepare bio formulations by using locally available resources for Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) and Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPM) at their home. A health camp was also organized as part of the FSA certification for men and women farmers in each training.


Link to further materials

Ravindra Singh — Programmer Director
Indo-German Biodiversity Programme

Poonam Pandey — Team Leader
Enhancement of Smallholder Spice Farmers’ Capacities in Sustainable Farming Project

Key buzzwords
Cardamom Farmers, Organic Spices Cultivation, Women Farmers, Kerala