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The success story of organic mixed farming: Swapna James

Farming is an integral part of our culture. Many farming techniques are in use without soil or extra space. In any endeavour, there will be some element of risk. What matters is how you handle adversity and achieve success. Farming is a fascinating experience and source of income for Swapna and James, who live in Kulakattukurissi in the Palakkad district. Due to the falling price of rubber on the farm, the couple has switched to mixed cropping. Today there is no space left on their farm. Along with satisfaction, they get 30 lakhs per year from farming. Swapna received the KarshakaShri Award in 2018.

Way To Organic Farming

Swapna decided to help her husband, James in farming 15 years ago and received training from the Agriculture Department and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK). Initially, they used chemical fertilisers, but in 2006, they turned to organic farming. The couple practises the intercropping method of agriculture.

Swapna’s Farm

They have an 11-acre home plot where they planted rubber, 65 cents of paddy, and 6.5 acres of mixed crop cultivation. Swapna grows vegetables and fruit trees in the house plot. In the 6.5 acres of land nearby, she grows coconut, areca nut, plantain, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, tubers, and other crops. Swapna has a farm with goats, hens, honey bees, and native cattle breeds, among other things. Furthermore, the couple owns a nursery.

Great Support from the Family

Organic Farming

Coconut, nutmeg, and areca nuts are mainly grown along with banana, turmeric and arrowroot. Sprinklers are used for irrigation, and the whole process is controlled through a mobile app. “Kasargodan” variety of areca nuts gives a good yield. Large-scale cultivation of high-yielding nutmeg and coconut varieties is done here. Usually, they get 100 coconuts in a year. Most of the yields are sold as tender coconuts; the rest are used to make coconut oil and fresh seedlings for the nursery.

The rubber plantation, which contains about 3000 carefully arranged trees, is another unique feature of this location. On the plantation, coffee, a bamboo variety (‘Lathi Mula’) and cocoa are grown as intercrops.

Organic Pesticides

They use organically produced pesticides. Castor cakes combined with jaggery and cow dung, a mixture of turmeric powder and chillies with the urine of cows, are used as pesticides. The aroma of this mixture kills weeds and protects crops from pests.



Products from cattle breeds like Jivamrutham and Panchagavyam are used as manures. To create a good source of fertiliser, they produced fish amino acids and combined dung with coconut husks.

Waste Management

They make use of the Thumboormuzhi waste management system. The Thumboormuzhi model composting unit, built on both sides of their house, is used to dispose of all household waste.

Value-added Products

Besides, dried nutmeg, Swapna James also sells dried nutmeg flowers in packets. In addition to selling fruit and vegetables, she makes squash, vines and jams. The other products include pure coconut oil, turmeric powder, dried tapioca and more.


According to Swapna, honeybees are beneficial for agriculture because they aid in pollination. They receive honey for personal use and sell the rest. Farm animals provide them with additional income. Native cattle are raised for manure because of their high microbial content. They get milk for daily consumption.

She is an encouragement to others

Fertile land for the next generation

People from different places, especially farmers, visit their farms to learn more about their organic farming methods. Visitors can buy produce directly from the farm. Due to her husband’s busy schedule with the latex industry, she takes care of the farm.

Swapna began farming to provide her children with chemical-free food and to support her husband. Like all mothers, she started a vegetable garden in response. It is difficult to obtain high yields in the early stages of cultivation. With the training and hard work she has received, she furthered her goal. Due to the drop in rubber prices, the couple started growing multiple crops. As her perspective broadened, she began to consider farming almost all fruits, tapioca, ginger, nutmeg, hens, goats, honey bees, cattle, fish, etc. Her husband, James, supported her in all of her endeavours. Swapna hopes to preserve the fertility of her land for the benefit of next generation. It is in that context that she chooses organic farming. Through persistence and dedication, this English literature postgraduate has transformed herself from a backyard gardener to a Karshakashri winner.

Credits and References