Is Kerala repeating Cuba’s path of farming?

There are farmers and hobby cultivators located in every part of Kerala. One best solution is to get the merchants and stockist out of the buying and selling picture. Creating farmers market to sell their surplus production directly to the population should help farmers and consumers.

Kerala and Cuba has undergone tremendous social reforms

They also have a lot of things in similar be it foot ball, tourism (tourism is one of the main sources of income in Kerala and Cuba), politics(Communist Party has high influence). It reminds me of a Malayalam movie by Srinivasan Arabikatha. Actor Srinivasan’s name in the movie is “Cuba Mukundan”. He has great respect for Cuba and its leaders. In the movie Mukundan is forced to work in gulf country and he tries to propagate his ideology in Gulf. But all in vain.

Farming in Kerala is dependent on government subsidies

Agriculture has a little different story, or rather Kerala is repeating Cuba’s mistake. Petroleum products(Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, tillers, de-weeder) have become a must. Having said so Cuba once was on this path. Heavily dependent on petroleum products and subsidies from Soviet Union.

Cuba’s agriculture came to a halt with the collapse of Soviet Union. Cheap fuel for tractors were unavailable. Pesticides and fertilizers ran out of stock. As a result Production fell drastically.

On the onset of this situation cattle was slaughter and eaten. Killing a cow is crime in Cuba. But that has not controlled the drop in cattle numbers from 7m to 4m.

In a desperate attempt to survive cuba was forced to revert back to its age old traditional way of farming. Manual Labour and oxen returned to the fields. All the hybrid cows were replaced with zebu cattle. Unlike the former cows zebu cattle could feed on the road side grass and farm waste.

Cuba is back on track, however they still import grains, legumes and cooking oil from other country. Vegetables, tubers, sugar are produced locally.

Urban farming has also been very effective in Cuba. Most people consume fresh produce. It has been documented well that even without synthetic chemicals and pesticides quality and quantity food can be grown in Cuba or any other part of the world. Indian has been practising it for many centuries.

Why most Keralites don’t farm anymore?

Kerala has its unique set of problems. It rains for more than six months starting from mid may till November. It becomes ideal breeding ground for weeds and wild trees. Lot of things have to be considered and taken care when farming here in Kerala.

Because of rains and the landscape most parts of Kerala has forest. People are located on small pockets every where unlike other parts of India. So any form of Industrial development or large scale farming can cause or disrupt the lives of people. Kasaragod is one of the best example.

Rain water carries all the pollutants with it. Spreading diseases and poison in the food chain.

This makes average Malayalee to flee to other parts of the world and earn his living. Rest now lookout for government jobs.Leaving the fields and cultivable land unproductive.

Remaining people in Kerala earn their living through lottery, liquor, land deals, construction work,  remittance and tourism.

I agree that corruption is less in Kerala as compare to other parts of the world. Most people get regular meals. Government hospitals are also not in bad shape. By the way Kerala has the highest density of hospitals in India. Is this a good sign? Most people are always sick. Anyways how long can you sustain such expensive process?

Coconuts and Nendra pazham (plantains) are produced in bulk locally. So it is cheap, rest every thing has to be imported and is expensive.

There are farmers and hobby cultivators located in every part of Kerala. One best solution is to get the merchants and stockist out of the buying and selling picture. Creating farmers market to sell their surplus production directly to the population should help farmers and consumers.

Farming in Kerala compared to rest of India

Producing food is a loss making venture. Merchants buy produce for dirt cheap from farmers and sell at a higher price. So paddy fields or any productive land is converted to housing property with the help of panchayat offices. yes all this is because of decision making or implementing powers with the local government officials.

I feel that Kerala has not developed actually it has and is degrading. If you cannot locally produce and feed your people then how do you say Kerala is way above other states in India. Human basic needs are food, clothing and shelter.

If you have to understand Kerala’s problems you have to stay with the locals and understand, how problematic a average Malayalees life has become. Everything is way too expensive and their is absolutely no choice you have to live with what you get even in the interior parts of Kerala. Wage for most workers are 500 to 700 rupees a day.

I wonder when oxen will be seen ploughing the fields in Kerala!!!

Credits & References

  • More about “Cuba Mukundan” –
  • Kerala & local democracy in Harvard University –

4 Replies to “Is Kerala repeating Cuba’s path of farming?”

  1. Hi Anoop,

    True, as you had mentioned, natural farming requires lot of effort, especially in understanding nature’s way and I think Fukuoka talked about it in his books, but probably people don’t dig much and indicate, natural farming is leaving everything to nature. For example, Fukuoka had mentioned during transition weeding, composting etc will be required. He had asked to dig trenches and put organic matter (cut wood parts) to it in order to develop an orchard, while planting saplings, deep hole should be put and coarse organic matter should be filled into it.

    Keep it going, good work !!


  2. Great work friend! You’re living the real life! Glory to the farmers of this great country!


    Thank you. indeed they are the one’s who run the economy. As Bahadur Shastri mentioned “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”

  3. Hi Anoop,

    I became Mumbikar in the year 1994 before leaving from my home in Thiruvalla in search of greener pastures. I came across with your blog today and I am stumped to know that an urban-raised youngster went to nature for a sustainable living. I salute you for your brave attempt and wishes all the best. Just would like to know – do you employ people for manual labour or do yourself? How do you cope up with the exorbitant financial demands of the labourers? Do you think that the decision you took was a life-turning one?


    Benny, Thank you.

    Our property is small and not like a big farm. And I do most of the activity. planting, harvesting, getting grass for cows etc.etc. I even pluck coconuts, tree climbing is in my genes, all my uncles and grandfather are good at it. After all I belong to thiyya community.

    But I mastered harvesting coconuts after I settled in Kerala. I spend 3 months with a traditional plucker, he also happens to be my relative. I still some times go out for harvesting nuts with a friend. 2 to 3 hours of hard work pays off descend, plus no reporting to the boss or dead lines.

    Yes labor is so dam expensive. I am a farmer cum labour with other skills, I feel all this while I have been able to survive with what I love doing is because I am blessed. But mind you I have many problems with family and relatives. Because when I am suppose to earn descend I am trying to be a waste, anyways I am not bothered with what people say. Every one dies be it poor or rich. I also started working online again because of some financial crisis(house construction is so dam expensive here in kerala) I wanted to build a mud house. But you know how malayalees are my family members, neighbors, parents no one allowed me. anyways things happen for good.

    I even plan to buy some paddy field which has so far not worked out. No cash in hand.

    Online and farm produce has not been smooth for me all this time. Some times I earn from it, I know it will take some more time. Harvesting nuts has been smooth for me with regular income. However I am finding it difficult to move out as I have 2 cows and a Bull now, one cow will deliver by this month end, so will have to manage all together 4 cows. Too much of work. I currently live with my dad elder sister she is in here 70′s.
    I am 28 and not married. I am planing to get married with some who can get here hands dirty in the fields.

    Its not so difficult to lead a simple life. Provided you have a understanding partner. Some time again in future will be offline with no cell phone, cam and comp.

    Hoping things with work out.

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