ATTAPPADY CO-OPERATIVE FARMING SOCIETY LTD., NO. (P) 637

Agali P.O, Palakkad District

Attappady Co-operative Farming Society was formed is 1975 under Western Ghat Dev. Programme to settle 420 landless Tribal families of Attappady. The Government in G.O (Rt.) 3343/75/A.D dtd 3.12.1975 have issued orders to assign vested forest land in Attappady area and assigned 1092.79 Hectares. The Society
had settled 420 families forming 4 farms as shown below:-

Sl.No. Name of Farm No. of families Survey No. Extent. in Hector
1 Chindakki 100 1,12,14,44 Kallamala Village 283.43 Ha
2 Karuvara 50 23 in Kallamala 141.47 Ha
3 Pothuppady 150 2019,1335
In Agali Village
377.89 Ha
4 Varadimala 120 1734,1725,1736,1742 Sholayoor Village 290.00 Ha
Total 420 1092.79

The objective of the Society was

  1. To accelerate the pace of development in Attappady Valley to bring the areamore productive.
  2. To utilize the land resource in vested forest effectively without disturbingthe eco-balance.
  3. To bring about Socio-economical and cultural changes among STs ofAttappady.
  4. To create sufficient employment opportunity to STs.
  5. And to raise natural production of spices.

A satellite farm at Pattimalam: 12 Acres of land under Vattulacky farming Society which is also under the presidentship of District Collector, had been handed over to ACFS in 2002 for plantain cultivation.

The Members
The society has 816 registered members and all of them belong to Scheduled Tribe Community viz. Irula, Muduga, Kurumba. Since majority of them are expired, an initiative to find out their legal heirs and assign the land with them is
taking place.


The Management

The management of the Society is vested in a Board of Directors consistingof District level Officers and 4 elected ST members (non-official) representing 4 farms.

Official Members

(1) Dist. Collector, Palakkad President
(2) Project Officer, ITDP Attappady Vice-President
(3) Sub-Collector/RDO Ottappalam Managing Director
(4) Joint Registrar of Co-op Societies (General),
Palakkad
Member
(5) Principal Agri: Officer, Palakkad Member
(6) Divisional Forest Officer, Mannarkkad Member

An Officer in the cadre of Asst. Director from the Sch: Tribes Dev: Dept is working as Secretary.

An Organized structure
It is an entity which maintains the generally unorganized tribes as organized labour bank providing all kinds of emolument packages throughout the year as a part welfare measure. The society contributes its part in Provident Fund according to the labour days in the farms. Gratuity is another major service benefit provided to them. ACFS provides all kinds of benefits according to the Provident Fund Act, The Plantation and Labour Act and Kerala Service Rules.


Staff Strength

The Staff strength of the Society in as follows.

Sl
No.
Designation Posts
1. Secretary 1
2. Manager 1
3. Unit Officer 4
4. Accountant 1
5. Junior Clerk 3
6. Typist 1
7. Mechanic 1
8. Driver 2
9. Tiller Driver 3
10. Attender 1
11. Peon 3
12. Watchman 3
13. Farm Assistant 7
14. Agri. Assistant 4
15. Maistry 19

Now, the Secretary and Manager are officials from ST Dev. Department on deputation basis.


The Activities

The Plantation and infrastructural development programme were carried out in consultation with experts of Agriculture Department, Coffee Board, and Spices Board. Technical personnels from these bodies were actively involved and vehemently participated in establishing and maintaining of the plantation.
From the very inception the Society was engaged in the production of cash crops like Cardamom and Coffee, Pepper, Arecanut have been cultivated as interim crops to get additional income. Nutmegs, Cloves, are also cultivated in a lesser extent.


Major Crops

The Agricultural crops produced by the Society are mainly Coffee (Arabica & Robusta), Cardamom, Pepper and to a Smaller extent Orange, Clove, Nutmeg. Main feature of the agricultural produces is that they are not applied with any kind of pesticide or any other toxic ingredients.


Marketing Opportunities

Coffee and Pepper are mainly sold selling out through auction. Pepper and Cardamom find greater demand in international trade fare in Delhi, and fares sponsored by the ST Dev. Department every year, Onam trade fares and at an Agri Horti Society in Palakkad. Produces like Orange, Nutmeg and Clove are usually sold in local markets.

The auction process conducted by ACFS tries to include all the competent and genuine bidders and accredited agencies in Kerala through proper advertisement that proves good for the crops.


Transportation Facilities
Our firm own an Official Tours (Jeep) supplied from ST Development Department, which remains under the ownership of Director, ST Development Department.

And the three Pic-up Jeeps, purchased using the financial assistance from the ST Development Department, are using for transportation of labourers to worksites and for that of agriculture produces from various farms to Head Office for auction purpose.

Details

1) Jeep KL 01 AY 7339 Official Vehicle
2) Pic-up KL 50 B 259 Estate Duty
3) Pic-up KL 50 B 3014 Estate Duty
4) Pic-up KL 50 B 2977 Estate Duty
5) Tractor KL 12 B 1075 Estate Duty


The Constraints

The Infrastructure facilities in the farms are very pathetic. Since all the farms are in the vested forest lands all development activities have to be done without disturbing the flora and fauna. As the Society is in a dire financial state it cannot afford to construct new Quarters or houses for the members which results in their deserting the farms for greener pastures. – The infrastructure whatever developed by the Society became obsolete and out dated and it now require huge investment to update them.

The unforeseen and unfavorable climatic changes coupled with unstable and fluctuating prices of cash crops (often downslide) leads to sizable downfall in the income of the Society. The timely activities such as Manuring, shade regulation, irrigation etc was also suffer heavily due to paucity of funds which adversely effects the production.


ACFS – An unsung hero in forest conservation

Role of Society in Eco-restoration and Forest Conservation

2 of the 4 farms under ACFS viz Karuvara and Chindakky are situated in the Bufferzone of Silentvalley National Park, the core of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

Para 99 of Sri. T.Madhavamenon Committee report suggest “ The block XXIII of Chindakky farm of ACFS comprising pure growth of rosewood trees should be jealously protected” and recommended AHADS to intervene in protecting this. The Forest Dept is of the opinion that those trees were well
protected and any external intervention is not required. The Society consider this as a word of approval and appreciation since the Society is protecting them right from its inception.

It should be noted that a single tree has been cut from the arm without the knowledge of Forest Department. Even the shade management works were carried out according to the direction from the forest officials. It should also be noted that a single case of theft or illegal felling trees was reported so far. The Society can assure that there is scarcely any Soil erosion in its
farms. No tillage works except the plant protection works; were carried out. The water sources and small rivulets were so conserved that they transform into a perennial streams. Even the fell down tree trunks were allowed to decay so as to absorb water.

AHADS with Govt. aid shown remarkable achievement in the field of ecorestoration. It is learnt that certain voluntary organizations with some external aid have enacted their roles as well. But the achievements of ACFS in the field of forest conservation and eco-restoration never appeared in the annals of Forest protection. It cannot be forgotten that the extent of degradation of Forest land under ACFS Farms was barest minimum while the depletion of even guarded forest and in Attappady was on a high.

It is apparent that the Society is playing an important role in maintaining the forest land with amazing biodiversity, assigned to it. A large number of valuable trees such as rose wood, in our farms were reverently conserved from the very inception of the Society since 1975 and doing the role of preserver of these trees worth Crores of Rupees.

The Society’s policy for refraining from the application of any incant of toxic items in any of its estates also contributes the least harm to the fauna in which it situates. The conservation processor of the farm areas by the Society are being done by the watchers recruited from the Tribal people of the area which will emanate a natural tendency in them protect the surroundings; also ensure a constant remuneration through out the year.


Attappady Co-operative Farming Society manifests its social commitment in education sector by maintaining successfully two educational institutions for tribal education, namely AAHS & Gurukulam Vidya Kendram.


Attappady Adivasi High School

Attappady Adivasi High School Chindakki functioning under ACFS is one of the best schools in this region producing 100% results in SSLC examination for the past few years. The facilities in this school is barest minimum since the cash strapped society cannot afford to spend more on infra structure development. However with the support of Sch: Tribes Dev: Department and Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) maintenance works were done and Sasthraposhini labs were set up in the school. All the Teachers working in this school were appointed on contract basis. Most of the students
studying in this school are the inmates of Pre-Matric Hostel Chindakki and Mukkali under ITDP Attappady. Nearly 70 students are day scholars. The society runs a girls hostel in Chindakki since there is no PMH for Girls under ITDP in this area. This is the nearest High School to many Kurumba PTG settlements. A Teacher of the school holds the additional charge of the warden and
a cook is engaged on daily wages.


‘Gurukulam Residential Coaching School’

‘Gurukulam’ Vidya Kendram is a holistic programme designed for imparting residential coaching to failed students of higher secondary courses, by the scheduled Tribes Development Department. It was started in 2003-04, under the direct sponsorship of ACFS funded by ST Dev: Department.

A comprehensive schedule is chartered for class room training by the expert faculties selected from the native areas and other places who are available at all times. The class room are arranged in the premises of ACFS Head Office at Agali in addition to the buildings rendered by the Project Officer ITDP, Attappady. The project provides accommodation facilities, food at competent nutritional level etc.

Another important feature of the programme is that it incorporates cultural programmes of traditional values performed by native artists.

Its implementation is moulded by the thoughts of service attitude of Department; in this project each student is given individualized attention by the faculty and the Society Management. Regular Parent Teacher Association meetings are convened to improve the running of the project. Special Medical checkups are also being conducted for the inmates. Regular test papers are done to assess the improvement in the standard of the students. Study tours are also convened as a part of knowledge oriented entertainment.

All those failed students from various educational institutions in Attappadyduring the academic year 2015-16 at higher secondary and Vocational higher secondary level are eligible for admission. A special priority is given to the dependants of Members of ACFS.

Being an initiative for tribal welfare, Preserving nature, ACFS stand a top in the pyramid fulfilling its social commitment to the Society, taking initiatives and attaining remarkable achievements in the sectors like education, Agriculture, ecorestoration,
afforestration etc.

The Society comprises 420 ST families and provides them with jobs throughout the year. Despite of the labour ensured, the ACFS recognizes the tribe’s Social and financial status in the Society.

The firm adheres strictly to the plantation Act, Co-operative Rules & Regulations and their welfare measures.