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A mid-election agrarian thought

columns Updated: Apr 29, 2019 00:17 IST
2019 political manifestos,agrarian crisis,Zero Budget Farming

Farmers aren’t being able to earn enough to live off the soil.(HT File Photo)

Who doesn’t know that we are in a deep agrarian crisis? The 2019 political manifestos have in fact, been particularly mindful of this. But can the stated promises really transform agriculture? Let’s imagine a best case – that the manifestos are all somewhat implemented. What next? I still don’t think it will make the change we need.

Farmers aren’t being able to earn enough to live off the soil. Plus, the soil and our food is heavily poisoned. Whatever access to credit and loan waivers results in, we still need to think about the farming model itself. I am pretty inspired by Zero Budget Farming in Andhra Pradesh, where natural practices predominate. About 8% farmers have moved to this model, says writer Cathy Wilson, in a piece for The International Council for Research in Agroforestry. That farmers are able to use fewer resources, local knowledge and resources and lean less on predatory creditors is incredible. Whatever good intentions every manifesto has, the elected government will be wise in learning from this.

(Bharati Chaturvedi is the founder and director, Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)

First Published: Apr 29, 2019 00:17 IST