Originally, PDS was started with tribal development programmes and it continues to implement various programmes addressing the livelihood and other issues of the tribal people.
Under this project, each family demarcated 50 to 1 acre of land in which scientific agriculture including cultivation of organic pepper, coffee, paddy and cocoa and soil and water conservation programmes are undertaken. Introduction of low cost technologies for value addition of pepper and cardamom, micro finance, micro insurance, measures for improving food security and self-employment programmes were also implemented under the project. The project is being implemented through a 3 tier system of people’s organizations namely AlochanaSamithi, Village Development Council and KannampadyGirijan Federation. Peermade Development Society, a premier NGO in the state, is the Project Implementing Agency (PIA) for the programme.
Popularisation of Proven Bio-agents and Standardisation of Traditional Botanical Pesticides for Scientific Organic Cultivation of Cardamom among the Tribal Farmers of Idukki District is a project supported by Dept. of Science & Technology, Govt. of India. Three awareness campaigns on importance of organic cultivation were conducted in different villages, in which 92 farmers participated. In addition, two training classes on Agronomic, pest and disease management aspects of organic cultivation of cardamom were conducted for equipping the selected tribal farmers (30 direct beneficiaries). Different trials on developing Package of Practice were carried out in this period.
One of the major problems faced by the tribal communities in Idukki district is the lack of marketing facilities for their agriculture produce. In order to check the exploitation of the middlemen and ensure reasonable price for the products of tribals, PDS continues to buy the organic spices from the tribals at a price higher than the market rate. The tribals are given training in organic cultivation of pepper, ginger, turmeric and cardamom and are certified by Control Union as organic farmers. Presently there are 276 certified tribal farmers and during the reporting period, PDS collected 12 tonnes of black pepper, 3 tonnes of turmeric and 2 tonnes of ginger from them.