Crops. Paddy (3 varieties) – 50 acres. Banana (5 varieties)– 20 acres. Tapioca – 5 acres. Vegetables – tomatoes, brinjal, beans,different gourds, lady’s fingers, melons, onions, chillies, turmeric etc) – 5 acres. Orchard – mangoes, Gooseberry, Pomegranate, Sappota, Coconut etc)- 5 acres . Medicinal plants (Coleus forskolii) and Herbs – 3 acres. Cattle fodder (Sorghum) for silage- 40 acres. Silviculture of commercial timber trees (for paper pulp and plywood) – 7 acres . Grazing grasses 5 acres.
RESOURCES: Good healthy soil, as we have been doing organic farming. Our own dairy farm of 50 cows supply manure. We also have biogas plants of 24 m3 capacity which is fed with cow dung. The methane is used in the kitchen, the digested slurry is fed to the earth worms which in turn gives us vermicompost. Most of the fields are irrigated by wells through drip and sprinkler systems.
Challenges: We are very vulnerable to the vagaries of the 2 monsoons, especially the rain fed crops. Severe shortage of farmhands in the villages due to urbanisation, where the jobs are more lucrative. Escalation of farm labour costs due to shortage of man power. Agriculture, not very remunerative due to no minimum support price for many crops and also the exploitation and manipulation of the middlemen in the market. We do not get any premium for our organic produce and the certifying agencies demand a very exorbitant sum of money for organic certification which we cannot afford. Dwindling water table due to monsoon failure and also unregulated pumping of underground water in the neighbourhood.
Activities. Milk from our dairy is supplied to our orphanage, home for the elderly and also to the school for the missionaries children who number around 800. Paddy is for our own consumption and in the past few years we had to buy rice from the market because of monsoon failure. Fruits and vegetables are consumed mostly in our community and only the excess is sold outside. Around 12 acres of banana is being entirely sold in the neighbouring state of Kerala, which gives us some income.In some years we grow sugarcane also for selling outside. Medicinal plants and herbs are sold for pharmaceutical companies in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
NEEDS. Assistance in, getting organic certification with a farm friendly agency, tie up with a trustworthy buyer for our organic produce, to get reasonable premium for organic produce, Christian volunteers from India and Abroad to work in our fields, and ultimately to put to use our God given resources to further His Kingdom.