IR12 Iggalore – IFD

30th November 2013


IFD stands for Integrated Farming Development. Our day would involve the passing on of knowledge we received at Raleigh’s project partner MYRADA’s training days. The concept was to teach, and make farmers more aware about the dangers of chemical fertilisers and pesticides to the livelihoods of people, animals and farming land. Therefore today was really about teaching them alternative organic methods which would also have more financial gain and be a more sustainable way of faming as a whole.

But one thing stood in our way... Bricks and barbed wire!!! Yes, 650 cement bricks and 3 kilometres of barbed wire for construction which had already meant to be delivered the day before had been rescheduled for this morning at 6am in Balapadaga. Not ideal considering our IFD day which we had been promoting and planning all week was meant to be set up and starting at 9am. Never the less we grabbed our biscuit breakfast, pumped up our muscles and trekked thirty minutes to Balapadaga (quite a view as the sun rose over the mountains) ready to attack the unloading task ahead.

6.30am came and went along with 7am and 8am and as the sun rose so did the level of sweat dripping from our faces as the sun beat down on us. 8.15am came where we had to divide the Romeo 12 team. We now had ‘team IFD’ which consisted of Me, Kate, Dan, Jen, Rosie, Anoop and Anu, who would return to Iggalore to start setting up IFD day and ‘Team Brick’ which consisted of Sam, Raja, Larry and Rachel who would sit and eagerly wait the arrival of the brick lorry.

As team IFD trekked back and neared the community hall in Iggalore having being passed by multiple quarry trucks eagerly looking for bricks in their load. A strange new confidence came over us when as from the long windy road from Chikahally, a lorry approached slowing down, not to dodge herds of cows or buffalo but to speak to us. Despite the driver’s  lack of English, or our Tamil, we pointed them in the direction of Balapadaga and tried to explain that team Brick was still there waiting their arrival. Read Sam’s construction blog post to find out more about the barbed wire and brick adventure and what they will be used for....

With 9am fast approaching Team brick arrived back just in time to kick the day off. Thank goodness, especially as me and Raja were leading the day and there had been no Raja present up to this point. His massive muscles were needed for the bricks. In the Iggalore school courtyard arose IFD day in the form of 3 stalls

·         Vermicompost stall (run by Dan and Sreenivas)

·         Panchacava solution (run by me and Raja)

·         Buttermilk solution (run by Kate and Anu)

Along with a registration (run by Rosie and Jen), a tea station (run by Sam)and a main talk area. Leaving Rachel and, Larry and Anoop to float making sure the day ran as smooth as possible.

The day started slow but after rounding up the farmers  and any interested villagers again there was soon a steady flow at registration. After the riveting opening speech given by Raja the attendees were split into 3 groups, each group starting at one of the 3 stalls. After 20 minutes each group would rotate so by the end of the day they had attended all three stalls.

We received lots of good feedback and the farmers were asking lots of interesting questions as they seem to have really caught on to the benefits that this could have on their farming land and their pockets. As they left we also provided them with a pre made booklet with details of all the solutions and vermicompost and how they could be made and used. There was also a contact number provided for MYRADA so if the farmer wants to know more, they are able to do so even after we leave.

Romeo 12 as a whole are chuffed with how the day went and we wish to go on and run and bigger and more improved version of IFD day in Balapadaga next phase.

Romeo 12 IFD Blog post Written by Claire