The agricultural sector in Kerala is stuck at an impasse. Lush paddy fields swaying in the breeze, once a common sight, have all but vanished from the state’s landscape as agriculture has been given up due to scarce labour and the diversion of land for commercial and residential use. It was on Guru’s directions that the Ashram launched a drive in Kerala a few years ago to initiate an ‘agricultural renaissance’. Traditional cultivation methods and native paddy varieties, becoming extinct, are being revived to conserve bio-diversity and to restore a healthy agro-based environment.
The drive was launched from Chandiroor village, the Guru’s birthplace. Ashram inmates with the help of local people are cultivating paddy in 15 acres of land around the Janmagriham (Santhigiri Ashram, Chandiroor branch). Only bio-fertilizers are used. The work begins with prayers every day. The paddy grown here is used for ‘Annadaanam’ at the Ashram and also distributed to the poor and needy people living near the Ashram Branch.
The activities of the Agriculture Department are spread over 200 acres in different places. Besides Chandiroor, paddy is cultivated at Palakkad. Vegetables and various other crops are also grown at Pothencode and at the branch ashrams.
Herbal Garden, Dairy Farm, Bee Keeping, Horticulture, Floriculture and Plantations are among the other major activities of the Agriculture Department.