• Español
  • Français
  • English
  • Português

Sustainable Agriculture & Environmental Voluntary Action - SEVA

SEVA (Sustainable Agriculture & Environmental Voluntary Action) is an Indian NGO, located in Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India. It is a registered society under the 'Society Registration Act' of Tamil Nadu (Reg-No.136/92). The NGO has been constantly involved in various activities, as there are:

  • the documentation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge and grassroots innovations;
  • the conservation of local livestock breeds in Tamil Nadu State;
  • promoting self help groups with farmers, livestock keepers and grassroots innovators;

SEVA has been publishing a local newsletter in Tamil language called Num Vali Velanmai for communicating indigenous knowledge, organic practices, innovations in agriculture, animal husbandry and natural resource management.

The NGO has been a member of the “Honey Bee Network” and it collaborates with organizations and volunteers in other language regions of the country for the purpose of knowledge networking. 

SEVA is the coordinator of the “LIFE Network” and attempts capacity building of livestock keepers and pastoralists towards the conservation of local livestock breeds in India.

SEVA activities.jpg


Contact person: 
P. Vivekanandan
Contact email: 

Technologies from Sustainable Agriculture & Environmental Voluntary Action - SEVA


Innovations developed in Moringa oleifera (Drumstick tree, horseradish tree) propagation for enhancing nursery income in Tamil Nadu, India

Air layering is a technique followed in the nursery of ornamental/horticultural crops to promote vegetative propagation.
This practice explains how the propagation process can be accelerated by a so-called “double-layering method”. This allows the nursery to use air-layering in a more efficient way and increase the nursery’s income.
The double pit planting with two trees planted next to each other allows to nearly double the productivity of trees. The application of double pit planting together with the double air-layering practice contributes to the improvement of the efficiency of used resources for the propagation and production of moringa and indirectly to poverty reduction by enhanced income of the nursery.

Green manuring in sugarcane production for soil improvement and water efficiency, Tamil Nadu, India

Sugarcane production requires frequent irrigation, for the crop needs a lot of water in the production cycle. It is very difficult to raise it in sandy soils, as they are generally low in organic matter content and therefore not retaining soil moisture very well. Hence, sugarcane production on sandy soils is generally water-inefficient.
However, sugarcane can be raised successfully on arenosols and other soils consisting of mainly sandy soil texture by enhancing the soil organic matter content. This can be done in form of green manuring with the subsequent incorporation of the remnants of the green manure crops in the soil through successive mulching.
This practice presents a row-intercropping system with two different green manure crops for soil improvement in sugarcane production in Tamil Nadu, India. By improving the soil, sugarcane can be raised as ratoon crop for several years without much loss of yield. It explains a water efficient way for raising sugarcane on poor sandy soils, by increasing the organic matter content. Next to enhancing the water holding capacity of the soil, it additionally benefits soil fertility and thus potentially increases sugarcane production, especially when legumes are used as green manure crops.

Innovations for raising Malabar Neem (Melia dubia) in Tamil Nadu, India

This practice focuses on facilitating the nursery germination and plantation of the “Malabar Neem” (Melia dubia), which is locally known as “Malaivembu”. The tree is found in forest plantations in India and is a fast growing tree crop with up to 20 meters height. It produces greater bio-mass in relatively shorter period. As the seed has a tough seed coat, that does not allow water to penetrate easily, the germination becomes rather difficult. By softening the coat of the seed, the germination difficulties can be solved and enable fast germination. This practice presents valuable cost-effective methods for small-scale farmers to raise their own Melia dubia seedlings and establish a plantation independently from seedling suppliers.

Intensive stall-fed system for rearing goats, Tamil Nadu, India

Indoor housing is a convenient practice for raising livestock. If stalls are constructed in an appropriate way, they can fulfil several functions. By avoiding wastage of feed, they allow the keepers to have an enhanced fodder use efficiency. In addition goat droppings can be collected underneath the shed, enabling easily disposal as manure for crops. This hygienic practice keeps the animals healthy, preventing the excessive application of medicine.
Small-scale farmers and agricultural labourers can easily construct such a wooden stall-fed system. The construction materials are locally available and the stalls can be easily constructed with the help of local carpenters and/or skilled labourers. Construction of such a wooden stall can be completed quickly and at a lower cost compared with the construction of usual pucca shed (solid, permanent houses or huts that are made of concrete, clay tiles and/or stones).
This practice describes the construction of a low cost housing system for rearing goats in case of shortage of labor and/or non-availability of sufficient grazing area or absence of grazing area. The practice derives from a farmer-led innovation in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. There, it has been successfully adopted by 16 farmers in the Coimbatore district.

Traditional feeding of cattle with intercropped forage Sorghum, Tamil Nadu, India

Fodder sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is used for feeding animals in the dry lands of India. The forage crop is sown in an intercropping system along with staple crops. The intercropping of the forage sorghum between other crops additionally improves the land use efficiency, providing diversified yields within a specified area of cropping. Eventually, the harvested forage is cut from the intercropped fields and manually fed to the cattle by the farm members.
The present practice builds on the experiences of local people in the Krishnagiri district, Tamil Nadu. It is suitable mainly for small family farms, with small amounts of cattle. In the local language, the associated feeding practice is called “Thattu Koduthal” (hand feeding of fodder for animals). Hand feeding offers the advantage that wastages of forage can be avoided. Cattle prefer the panicles, and often the stems of forage sorghum are not fed along with the panicles. Manual feeding however, allows for the whole sorghum stems to be fed to the cattle.