Gudipadu Cheruvu Farmers Group is First of its Kind in Andhra Pradesh

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Amrita Gudipadu Cheruvu Organic Farmers Group. More than 50 members registered under the group.

Farmers in the remote village of Gudipadu Cheruvu in Andhra Pradesh where Amrita SeRVe is currently working, were recently inspired to form a farmers group and commence organic farming on a share of their collective land. More than 50 members came together in a meeting to discuss their new co-operative which they named the ‘Amrita Gudipadu Cheruvu Organic Farmers Group’.

The group expressed, they are keen to learn new ideas and ways of natural farming from the Amrita SeRVe team and other supporters of organic agriculture. They agreed that of the total 250 acres between them – which currently produce chillies, rice & cotton – they would initially cultivate 50 acres using organic methods. At this first meeting each member committed 200 Rs to start a joint bank account to manage the income and expenses, and they also appointed a president, secretary and treasurer.

Filling in the forms and verifying address and Aadhaar details.

Early the following morning at 3.30am, they started on a 6-hour journey to the District Registrar’s Office in the town of Nasaraopet to formally register their group as a farming co-operative. It is required by law under the ‘Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act 1964’ that the group registers before proceeding. Upon arrival at the registrar’s office, they were told their co-operative was the first of its kind to be registered in Andhra Pradesh! With this news, the farmers were very proud of their initiative and even more encouraged knowing they are leaders of natural farming in their state.

The final step was to complete the necessary paperwork for final registration and opening a bank account. This required preparing the groups’ bi-law rules and regulation documentation, recording member’s personal details and Aadhaar numbers, and completing the bank account application forms. This meant the president and secretary could now open the joint bank account within 10 days of the co-operative being registered (also required under the Act). Which they successfully did on Monday!

Meeting with block development officer to discuss available government schemes for the farmers.

The group will now start holding weekly meetings to plan where to go from here and what procedures they need to follow to be successful. This includes e.g which seeds to use and where to buy them, what training is needed how to organise it, what water management system is required, what labour is needed, what drawbacks and challenges they can foresee and how they might overcome them.

This exciting new venture will not only help reshape farming in Andhra Pradesh, it will assist to bring about greater self-reliance for the local farmers of Gudipadu Cheruvu. Their knowledge of growing crops using natural methods and earth processes will be enhanced, and their dependence on chemical pesticides and fertilizers will reduce resulting in economic savings. We wish them well and look forward to supporting them in their new enterprise!

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