Smart! Indian Farmers & American Consumers

World is slowly embracing sustainable, efficient, and localized systems of agriculture. Smart consumers in the US are driving up the demand for organic produce while the farmers in India, who are being pushed towards suicide, are looking back at traditional methods of agriculture. The problem with modern agriculture has been severe in states with water scarcity. Chemical fertilizers poison the land unless enough water is used according to farmers in Madhaya Pradesh. Governmental agencies in India are not trained to give guidance on such matter. This is creating a vicious cycle of high expenses for seeds and fertilizers, low yields, and the soil turning more infertile.

Drought is a frequent problem in the Indian sub-continent. The one size fits all farming modernization program is clearly failing a majority of Indian farmers. A sampling of the soil over a three year period in the state of Karnataka shows that micro-nutrients rather than regular fertilizers can benefit farmers and can help cut their costs by 50%. Farmers trying alternate methods are waking up to the possibility of higher yielding alternate crops. Some have become so happy that they are becoming facilitators for the alternate programs and educating others. Micro-nutrient approach is still inexpensive. On the contrary Zero Budget Natural farming methods (ZBNF) rely on traditional manuring methods and have seen viral growth in the state of Maharashtra.

The primary role of initiating and educating the farmers today is done through volunteers and non Governmental organization. Volunteer for a Better India and BTTR (Back to the Roots) is behind the ZBNF programs and (ICRISAT)  International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics along with Boo Chetana are behind the micro-nutrient approach.