G Nammalvar, messiah of organic revolution

January 18, 2014 0 Comments

Jan 31, 2014 | From the print edition

G Nammalvar was one of a kind, a messiah of farmers who was revered as a saint-teacher by his followers. He was an agriculture scientist, a graduate of Annamalai University, who left a government job at the research station at Kovilpatti when he realised that he could do nothing for the resource-poor farmers who depend on rains to cultivate their parched land. Thus began an odyssey of half a century when Nammalvar travelled across Tamil Nadu spreading the message of organic farming in his gentle style of story-telling to make farmers understand what is good for them. “By using chemical fertilisers,” Nammalvar said early on, “I found that farmers incurred only losses and costs went up. I realised then that in order to get optimal results in farming, farmers should rely minimally on external inputs like fertilisers. This was a turning point in my life.”