The Amrita Gudipadu Cheruvu Organic Farmers’ Group started to cultivate chillies as the farmers’ first initiative after establishing their group, which was formally registered as the first organic farmers group in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Preparations began in July, starting with training on developing and using natural fertilizers, such as Jeevamritam and how to treat seeds before planting.
As suggested by Amrita SeRVe’s program manager Sreeni KR, the team visited a chilly nursery ‘Reddygudem’ in the beginning of August and placed an order for chilly saplings. Since then, the farmers have gathered together for meetings every 2-3 days to discuss further steps: how to apply for subsidies, tractor use, certificates needed and any other practical matters. They are also working on a rainwater-harvesting pond, which is a part of a government project.
Later in August, the chilly saplings were purchased for 16 acres of land. Teza Lepakshi was the chosen variety and the next day the saplings were planted. More meetings followed to complete the applications for a tractor and bore well motors.
The farmers are depending on favorable weather conditions since it is the only irrigation system they have at the moment. Village coordinator Mallikarjun has reported that to this day the rain has not yet come. In accordance with their local traditions, the farmers have conducted a special puja (sacred ritual), addressing the goddess ‘Sattemma’ to shower Her grace for an abundant harvest.