An agrarian success story: How a matriarch led an organic farm to success

11tymp_farmers_sol_2889555g“We sold gold to buy this land. Now we are reaping the gold back from it,” says Mrs. Palaniammal Muthu, the matriarch who runs a 7.8 acre farm at Thenkadai Kurichy (also known locally as Koundampatti), Karur District in Tamil Nadu, India with her eldest son Arivuazhagan.

Visitors could spend the whole day in the verdant surroundings, sipping the sweetish water from an endless supply of tender coconuts, listening to the mother-son duo recount their tryst with agriculture.

“This stretch was just a scrubland when my father bought it in 1967, by selling Amma’s 6-sovereign gold thali chain,” says Arivuazhagan. “I joined the farm when in 1987, after I failed my 9th Class exams. With six siblings to take care of, I used to do everything with my mother – including kitchen work, babysitting, besides the farming.”

That early graft has paid off handsomely. Today, Arivuazhagan proclaims with pride that his four brothers are all college graduates, and his two sisters were married off in a grand manner with the help of the farm’s income.

Palaniammal has overseen the calving of at least 500 cows in her 40 years as a farmer, and now, still sprightly in her late sixties, is already on to other value-added farming practices such as vermicomposting and maintaining a small pond of freshwater fishes. Solar energy panels help to pump the water for the farm’s requirements.

Read the full article in The Hindu

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