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As part of the NRC ‘Kisan’ project, I have been traveling to Tamil Nadu- to speak and interact with an amazing group of progressive farmers- innovators and pioneers of change in the the field of agriculture in India. I recently facilitated a workshop and seminar with over 40 farmers, Nokia employees and members of the Tamil Nadu University as well.

Agriculture in our country is vastly neglected, with very few people keen on farming. Due to the fluctuating market rates and the acute dependency on the uncertain environmental changes, there is no economic security in the profession. It is for this reason many stop farming and go into the urban cities to take up jobs that offer them the financial security. On this trip, I have seen some incredibly clever traditional methods of dealing with day to day problems.

Aloe Vera plants attract flies and bugs- they act as a repellent in houses!

I stared at this one for a while! According to people in this part of the country, hanging a fox tail in your house/field brings joy, luck and happiness!

A light trap for fruit flies which get attracted to the light and then fall into the yellow tub below which has a chemical that kills it instantly

Fermon Trap- the bucket has a chemical pouch that attracts only the male flies which enter the bucket through the tiny holes and get trapped and killed by the medicine.

Coconut leaves barriers that mark out the courtyard. The yellow paint keeps the flies at bay. Pretty neat I thought!

Coconut tree pluckers make all their equipment out of the bark and husk available from the coconut tree. The bag that holds the sickle is made of the coconut flower which is very hard and sturdy, and I might add look beautiful. The sickle is sharpened using the husk. the band that holds the bag and the rope that ties around their feet is also made of coconut husk. The whip of course is leather. An incredible eco-system and a really good example for thinking about materials and their context in relation to sustainability.

 

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