This tribal community, who are nomads, migrated near Sirkazhi. Sixty six Irula families were registered with the SOFA for rat catching. They not only received a community certificate (proof of one’s belonging to a particular caste), but also found a way to earn income.

CIKS also successfully experimented with the barn owl box, another traditional rat control measure. “Within three months, an owl had occupied the box in our farm. Almost 80 per cent of the rat problem is solved,” says Chellappa Sivalingam, a farmer who installed the barn owl box in his organic farm.

CIKS brought in traditional practices for pest management for environmentally sound and effective solutions and discussed them with SOFA members. “We need to target one pest and solve the issue, instead of using pesticides and killing good pests,” Subhashini explains. To prevent crop contamination from chemical farms, the farmers grow barrier crops such as castor and sunhemp, which grow tall.