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Thursday, November 22, 2007

‘Adike Patrike': It taught them Self-help Journalism…

Twenty years back, when the prices of Areca nut fell down, there was nobody to hear the problems of farmers. Areca Growers Association which was formed to safeguard the interests of Areca Farmers started the 'Areca News' with the active help and guidance of Shree Padre and later it became 'Adike Patrike'.

Nethrakere Udaya Shankara

'One satisfying aspect is that farmer readers have been convinced that this altogether new concept of 'farmer -to - farmer communication ' or 'self-help journalism' is highly reliable. Though there is no much written response to boast about, lots of farmers are practicing and experimenting the ideas published in our journal. One outstanding example is of Rain Water harvesting. Hundreds of our readers have implemented this and got benefited. Latest example is of Virgin Coconut Oil that we have named as 'Tentaa Oil' (Tengina Taajaa Enne) which has roused tremendous interest not only among our readers, but in the societies around. A few people have already extracted this oil at their homes.'

This is the answer given by Mr. Shree Padre, Executive Editor of 'Adike Patrike' which was released by 'Kadala Kareya Bhargava' Kota Shivarama Karanta in November 1988. We asked about people’s response to Patrike's various efforts to improve Farm sector in these 20 years.

For magazines like Adike Patrike which specifically committed themselves to improve farm sector, 20 years is not a long duration. But in this short span of time what it achieved is not meager. It gave new dimension to Farm Journalism since these two decades.

Twenty years back, when the prices of Areca nut fell down, there was nobody to hear the problems of farmers. Areca Growers Association which was formed to safeguard the interests of Areca Farmers started the 'Areca News' with the active help and guidance of Shree Padre and later it became 'Adike Patrike'.

Many people laughed at this effort and asked questions like 'How a magazine in the name of Adike could help farmers as the jurisdiction of Adike itself is limited?

But Shree Padre had the clear-cut idea about the Patrike. He called this as 'Self Help Journalism'. His object was to enlighten farmers that root cause of all problems is the modern ways adopted in farming leaving behind all conventional irrigation and water conservation systems.

He appealed to farmers to share their experiences of success, failures and difficulties through Patrike. He told them that 'Your experienced based farming is far better than the suggestions given by scientists who don't have field experience.

To prod the farmers to come out with their innovations and experience Shree Padre conducted workshops on Farm Journalism and it’s result is very encouraging. Several farmers who got training in such workshops began to write not only their own farm experience, but also began to report, interview and narrate the farm experiences in their neighborhood. This pro farmer stance of Adike Patrike gave new dimension to Farm Journalism in the country, setting aside the age old notions of information supply, practiced by the official agencies.

The most important achievement of the Adike Patrike is that by its stance it turned the concept of ‘Farmers First’ in to reality. Shree Padre’s efforts through journal became fine example for self help journalism and acclaimed world over. Journal spread from Karavali to Malenadu and Bayalunadu. This experiment has also inspired several papers to start special magazines for farm sector with articles based on farmers’ experiences.

Along with this Adike Patrike started awareness campaign to conserve water and rainwater harvesting. Padre wrote serial articles on ‘Hundred Ways to Conserve Water’ in Adike Patrike. These articles became eye opener for farmers not only in Karnataka but also in Kerala. Many people adopted several methods of water conservation and rain water harvesting based on the articles and books written by Padre in the region. Apart from this, to boost the rainwater harvest and water conservation Padre has initiated ‘Jalakoota’ in 2001 and many rainwater clubs started in Karavali Area.

Today not only in villages, but also in cities also concept of rainwater harvesting is spreading like anything. Several Schools and Colleges and Government Offices like Vidhanasoudha, High court and Jalabhavana made arrangements for rainwater harvesting.

vative efforts also brought more than 10 awards to including State Award and Statesman Awards to Shree Padre.

Apart from awareness campaign for rainwater harvesting and water conservation, Adike Patrike also tried put light on efforts of Value Addition to farm products like Vanilla, Coconut, and Jackfruit.

Shree Padre calls himself a farmer by profession and journalist by obsession. Definitely this reflected in his life and work and it put a wide base for self help journalism of Adike Patrike.
Let us hope success for the innovative way of Adike Patrike and its efforts to help farmers.

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