The CSI East Kerala Diocese in collaboration with the CSI SEVA has been organizing Agriculture Fest annually, popularly known as “Karshikothsvam”, since 2014. In order to encourage farmers to take up natural/organic farming, a best farmer award called “Karshakothama” is awarded each year during the festival. The winner is identified by a special committee appointed with experts and based on information gathered from various pastorates. In 2016, the Agriculture Fest was held on November 26th, at St. John's CSI Church Kattapana, in which the Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. K. G. Daniel participated and presented the award. In order to learn more about the Festival and also to talk to the awardees of 2015 and 2016, Mr. K. Prem Madhuker, Coordinator of CSI SEVA visited Kattapana and Heaven valley. He personally talk to the award winners and also visit their farms.
Award for 2015
The Award for 2015 was given to Mr. P. C. Mathew of Kattapana. His parents migrated to Kattapana in early 1950s as part of government policy to encourage farmers from plains to settle in hilly areas and Develop the land for agriculture. He along with his wife and son are fully involved in farming in multifarious activities in about six acres. He grows spices like pepper, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg, fruits like Jack fruit, Sapota, Mango and Banana and Commercial crops like Coconut, arecnut, Coffee and Rubber. He is also into diary, piggery, goat rearing, poultry and fish ponds. He also grows medicinal plants and has one Bio-gas plant. He also grows vegetables using green house. Based on his achievements, the Government of Kerala also awarded him Best Farmer Award for promoting natural and organic farming. He also served as the Panchayat Union President of Kattapana for one term.
Award for 2016
The award for 2016 was given to Mr. Chacko Chandy of Heaven Valley. Heaven valley was a Tea Estate at about 20 km from Kattapana which declared lockout in 1980s. Mr. Chandy was working as an Estate Supervisor then. After the lockout, he started work developing his own land of 40 cents. He started with growing spices like Pepper and Cardamom and fruits like Banana and through hard work and loan from Bank, purchased another 5 acres belonging to the Tea Estate and started commercial crops like Coffee, Arecnut, Rubber and Coconut. He practices organic farming and maintains two compost units. He also employed two persons to work in his farm and also have 2 cows. Mr. Chandy is also a good organist and plays organ in the Church regularly every week. He is also a good wood carving artist and has many carvings to his credit.
The purpose behind the event is to farmers from the Diocese to gather together and share their agricultural experiences and know-how and learn and practice innovative, organic as well as updated farming skills and techniques. Thus, this Agriculture Fest is celebrated as “Diocesan Harvest Festival” as an occasion for creative as well as constructive agrarian life.
The Fest started with Thanksgiving Service followed by Seminars and Training by professional agricultural experts and agriculture officers from Government. There was an Exhibition and sale of various kinds of Agricultural products, seeds, and tools and an auction of agriculture products which were offered by the farmers from different parts of Diocese. Ultimately, the Fest becomes not only diocesan fest but also the fest of community around.
Kattekola Prem Madhuker
Coordinator, CSI SEVA