How AEC Survived 2018 Floods

The rainfall in Kerala is mainly from the South-west and North-east monsoons. About 90% of the rainfall occurs during the monsoon months. In 2018 Kerala had abnormally high rainfall from 1 st June 2018 to 19 August 2018. This resulted in severe flooding in 13 out of the 14 districts in the State. Heavy rains and floods severely affected the lives and properties across Kerala.
Our Agroecology Centre in Panavally in Wayanad district had been badly hit due to the severe flooding of the river Kalindi, on whose banks it is located. There was heavy damage to the infrastructure of our centre and a large portion of its cropland have been destroyed. Our neighbours in Panavally had also suffered the loss of crops and land. The farming community as a whole have been badly hit.

We at THANAL resolved to raise resources to rebuild the Agroecology Centre and work with farmers in the region for post-disaster rehabilitation. We helped local farmers to build climate resilience in farming methods and their communities. It took nearly a month to normalize the situation. We lost over 60 varieties of paddy and need to relocate and restore them.
We had to rebuild almost from scratch the entire agricultural activity at Panavally, starting from de-silting the land to make it ready for the next season of planting. We restored nurseries, bunds, and upland farms where coffee, vegetables, palms, pepper, and fruit trees had suffered heavy damage. Rebuilt our submerged seed drying area and space for farmers to assemble. We lost the topsoil due to heavy flood. The fertility of the land could be increased only by applying a lot of inputs like cow dung, biofertilizers, green leaves, and dried leaves. Rejuvenating soil health was a big task in organic farming. Now the soil has greatly improved .

A new well designed rainproof structure was built to raise seedlings in a protected condition. As part of strengthening the banks, bamboo was planted in the river banks. Machan (watch tower)which was built on paddy land to watch and guard rice diversity block against wild animals collapsed in the flood. That was rebuilt. In our areca plantation, most of the Areca got yellowish leaf (Mahali disease) after the flood. We did root feeding to the areca and saved almost all the areca plants. The irrigation system of the farmland was damaged due to heavy floods. The whole system was repaired after the flood. Our pump house sank during the flood and solar pump and motor got damaged. Both of them were repaired. The electric fence in RDB got damaged due to a heavy flood. The fence got repaired after the flood. (most of these can be explained through photos).

Thus we have rebuilt the centre mindful of more climate extreme events. We were able to restart the classes and consultations with farmers in the locality by December 2018. Now we are continuing our work on conserving seeds and preserving our agrobiodiversity that helps build a safe, secure, and climate-resilient future for the farmers of Kerala.