The present Indian agricultural scenario presents a curiously depressing picture. A country which had developed a vast and rich agricultural knowledge system finds itself looking to the west for solutions to problems created by the chemical farming methods prevalent today.
Improper farming methods and overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers have led to severe degradation of huge portions of the country's arable land. The quality of the produce is also suffering due to the effects of chemicals.
There is little realization of the huge threat posed by the degradation of the rural environment to the country's food security and self-reliance. Also, the entire agricultural community seems to be looking in the wrong place for answers.
The answer to the problem lies in returning to our roots. Traditional agricultural practices which are based on natural and organic methods of farming offer several effective, feasible and cost effective solutions to most of the basic problems farmers face today.
There is also a real and immediate need to conserve our traditional seed varieties - some of which have drought resistant properties. The systematic degradation of bio-diversity in this region has left many of these potentially vital species close to extinction.
To achieve this end, it is important that farmers now relearn what they have forgotten and take a critical look at what they have been taught. Also, technology intensive and high cost methods of making natural pesticides have little or no relevance for the farmer. If he does need to go organic, he needs to use the available backyard technology to increase efficiency and decrease costs.
CIKS is engaged in developing feasible and user-friendly programs to help farmers go organic. Revitalizing and strengthening the farmer's faith in traditional eco-friendly technologies is the only way to ensure that the agricultural community turns to organic farming as a sustainable, long term solution. It is important to clearly understand what technologies can be used, if and how they need to be modified, and what needs to be discarded as unsuitable for our situation.
We realize the need to develop and offer solutions that can be implemented quickly and easily, so that the farmer can start reaping the benefit without going through too long a transition period.
Through our initiatives, we have successfully turned a significant number of farmers in the region to organic farming methods. By providing solutions that work, we demonstrate to the farming community that non-chemical methods are the only way forward.