We conducted a workshop for people engaged in documentation of self-reliant farming model of Chetana-Vikas. The techniques and science employed in the model are continually researched and improved by us and focus on low external input, high internal regenerative farming.
|Training of village resource persons during the workshop. In many instances, the trainers are from the villages too.|
|Documentation of facts, figures and observations during the workshop.|
Beej Swaraj - Seed Sovereignty:
Because of unprecedented monsoon this year, farmers were compelled to sow twice, or in some places even thrice, which adds to their woes. In view of this crisis, seed procurement and seed distribution activities were carried out for them at their doorsteps. Most of these seeds came from Chetana Vikas’s seed banks, or in a few cases, were purchased from outside, and sold to the farmers at subsidised rates as part of the movement called ‘Beej Swaraj’ – literal translation would be “Seed Sovereignty”. We firmly believe that seeds are a renewable and unpatenteable resource, and hence, it was made sure that the distributed seeds were not hybrid or genetically modified and could be sowed in the next sowing season.
|Beej Swaraj or Seed Sovereignty: Seeds taken to the farmers' door steps for second or third sowing. This was required due to extremely excessive rains causing unforeseen damages to crops.|
Wasteland Regeneration & Soil-Water Conservation:
A part of the experimental farm of Chetana Vikas is devoted to research on wasteland regeneration. We identify, plant and monitor survival and growth of various native hardy species that are resistant to long spells of water scarcity, but yet are fast growing. A quickly established green cover of a hardy native species is important in soil and water conservation which hastens the process of wasteland regeneration. This is an important attempt as recent survey by the Govt. of India concluded that about 50% of Indian landmass is degraded and unsuitable for any agriocultural, farming or planting practice. We have been working on regeneration of such plots through perennial pioneering species of plants for last 30 years. These efforts have led to the improvement of the soil and the land supporting less hardy species. Parts of these plots are now converted to the orchards and other planting related experiments. We usually carry out gap-filling of trees in these plots at the beginning of monsoon as the saplings have a higher chance of survival due to conducive environment. This year, gap filling was carried out using saplings of fruit trees such as amla and custard apple, other perennial trees such as teak, neem, banyan, and peepal, important nitrogen-fixing trees like gliricidia, and various improved fodders. Apart from these activities on the experimental farm at Wardha, distribution of suckers (shoot planting material) to farmers in the villages was carried out as well. Vetiver grass which is an extremely good bio-agent for soil conservation and serves as a good fodder was planted on the experimental farm, and the planting material was provided to farmers in the villages as well.