Conversion to organic cultivation
The Indian farming community consists of nearly 74% small and marginal farmers. Most of them are dependent on rain-fed agriculture and organic agriculture is most relevant to them. Organic farming is very much native to this land. In this farming system, a piece of land is used optimally and to its fullest potential to produce a range of crops, maintain soil health and productivity by organic agricultural practices. Pests are also controlled and managed by the selection of crop mixes and using biological control measures.
Our direct programmes with the farmers is a complete cycle from registering the farm for conversion to getting it certified after three years. We work in collaboration with the state governments and help farmers access schemes and subsidies for organic agriculture. The farmer is motivated to adopt organic cultivation and registered, provided training on various organic practices like bio-fertilisers, pest management, bio gas, etc.
The farmers clusters are formed for training and developing market linkages. We train the farmer on the processes and practices for organic certification.
Biovillage - improving livelihoods
We have initiated a unique concept of biovillage that goes beyond just organic farming and certification. The model aims to increase the farmer's income and living standards by integrating seven other components such as agriculture/ horticulture, animal husbandry, production of organic inputs, bio gas units, basic processing facilities, rural entrepreneurs, agri and eco-tourism. The farmers and entrepreneurs will take up these activities within the village, thereby reducing the costs of farming inputs, 0primary processing and energy. The farmers can also earn additional income with dairy, poultry, sheep/ goat rearing and apiculture. Rural entrepreneurs are encouraged to start community compost units, primary processing centres, which will provide employment to the village youth. Farm stays and home stays have become hugely popular with eco tourism initiatives and this will be leveraged to supplement the income of the farmer. The biovillage model aims to build self- sufficient communities using sustainable organic farming practices.
During BIIO 2014, two Indian villages in Kerala and Nagaland signed an MOU with Goesan County of South Korea, to be part of Asian Biovillage Alliance (ABA), a knowledge exchange programme