Farmers in the Jamui district of Bihar, India are adopting ecological agricultural practices. They are living a vision of progressive farming by embracing traditional ways of farming without chemicals, and adopting ecological solutions.it is working well.
Is there a problem ?
As many as 40% of the worlds population are small scale farmers, many live in poverty and hunger themselves. But they feed over 70% of the world. They face pressure from large farmers for land more often than not used for biofuels and cash crops, and from global transnational companies eager to sell pesticides, GE seeds, and fertilizers which often leads them into serious debt as well as having harmful effects on the soil and the humanity dependent on it.
...and then ?
India has a long tradition of sustainable farming. Down the ages farmers have used mixed cropping encouraging diversity, crop rotation and organic manures. This has been challenged by industrial farming techniques introduced in the mid ’60s relying on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to the detriment of nutritional value and ago-diversity,which protects water conservation and is resilient in the face of climate change. This leads to degraded soil with diminished fertility, food full of toxins, huge carbon footprints and destruction of farmers and farming communities.
...and now ?
Kedia has `become a shining example of an ecological solution’, an agricultural revolution. Recently 96 farming families have turned to eco-agriculture in Kedia village. They have taken the initiative themselves and have turned the situation around in less than three years. People are now talking of the `Kedia model’. They have returned to farming completely without chemicals, vermicomposting, biomass and organic inputs such as neem, cowdung and even human waste, and alternative ways of pest management. Soils rich in nutrients with multitudes of micro-organisms will produce good food ! They are now hoping to get together enough resources to fund a solar powered cold storage unit to eliminate waste which so often happens throughout the hot months of Bihar’s climate. Food production rates are good.
This is becoming a time of transformation for rural families and localities where food security in enhanced, families and communities are empowered, and carbon footprint is reduced. It is working towards sustainability and resilience in the face of the threat of climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and hunger. The losers will be the transnational corporations and the manufacturers and distributors of GE seeds,terminator technology chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Kedia can be an inspiration for many ! Let us hope it will be.
For further information :- see International Assessment of Agricultural knowledge, Science and Technology for Development(IAASTD) Brief - a unique in depth and global look at then future of farming.