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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to nature – Not Just food, Medical system also

Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS), Chennai an NGO with a strong belief  that  the future lies in understanding and harnessing the potential of indigenous knowledge systems and integrating them into the mainstream of scientific, industrial and everyday thinking. This belief is in synergy with the thinking of Centre for Traditional Medicine and Research (CTMR) particularly in delivering affordable healthcare through Indian Traditional Medicine Siddha and Ayurveda. Both Organizations believe that harnessing the full potential of the traditional knowledge only will help build a strong and self-reliant society. It was no surprise that when Mr. A.V.Balasubramanian, Director CIKS proposed working together in the area of health, Traditional and Organic food, Sustainable development using natural biological resources available in their project districts of Ramanadapuram, Thiruvanamalai and Dindigul, CTMR was too happy to accept the proposal.

Following the Chukkankollai farm visit and training on ‘Health through Herbs’ by CTMR team Mr.K.Subramanian, Project Director CIKS organized two training programmes for the organic farmers of Ramanad district at Kamudi on 15th Nov, and at Kanivadi on 16th Nov for farmers of Dindigul district.

The trip to kamudi from Madurai is along the river and since being the north east monsoon the ever dry riverbed had some water flow. Being the peak agricultural season the farmers suggested the programme commence around 10.30 a.m so that they can do some farming activity before they assemble for the training. The farmers are growing sesame, ground nut, chilies organically in their farms and vegetables organically in their homes for self use. Since this is the third year of the window period of conversion to organic status, certification will be received after the current crop. On interaction they expressed their happiness in growing traditional varieties organically and mentioned that not only their cost of cultivation come down and since they are registered seed producers they get a better price for seeds (Rs 42 against Rs 29 for conventional sesame seeds). The coordinator Mr.Marimuthu warned that there will be power cut at 2.00 PM it is advisable to finish the training where use of LCD projector is warranted. Therefore it was a continuous session of 3½ hours.

 I was unsure if I will be able to hold the attention of the farmers for such a long spell covering areas like Basic principles of Indian Traditional medicine, Regimens of healthy living, Management of common ailments with locally available resources, Identification and utilization of locally available biological resources, Scope of developing Home herbal garden and Techno-commercial  feasibility of sustainable collection and growing of medicinal plants as hedge crop, intercrop, tree species along the bunds etc., The session was very interactive with the farmers chipping in with questions and at times sharing the known regional use of some of the medicinal plants. What was more attractive was that the training took place in a typical rural set up and under a thatched roof and everyone sitting on the floor for almost 4 hours with folded legs. The common ailment for which individuals consulted me after the session was common cold, Bronchial asthma and arthritis. Almost everyone recorded notes and the courtesy extended was too good to forget. A very satisfying day.

                   The Notes on Kanivadi will follow in the next blog.


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