2,000 farmers gather to focus on 'Natural Resources Management' in farming

Bangalore, India
16th November 2014

Entrepreneurial zeal, a zest to know more and a passion for perfection: This might sound like a corporate conference. Yet it was the flavor of an agricultural meet with 2,000 farmers from various states of India. Farmers, most of whom have dedicated themselves to the soil for over four decades, discussed  "Natural Resources Management in Farming' and model village training at a 3-day meet organized by the Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust (SSIAST).

While inaugurating the meet, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living, said, “We need to make ‘kisan sangh’ (farmers' meet) in every village. More and more farmers need to adopt and implement the techniques of Natural Farming. Our earth has plenty for everyone. We only have to manage its resources well. Chemical-free farming is a new hope to the farmers in India and we will work with vigor to spread this knowledge.”

Held at The Art of Living International Center, the meet focused on the importance of saving indigenous cows, using natural ways of farming and chemical-free farming.

Simple and easy-to-practice tips like use of cow dung for manure, urine as pesticide were also given by experts. “Our philosophy is to promote farming techniques that are beneficial to the farmer, the consumer and the land. Natural farming or chemical-free farming can achieve these objectives. Along with the skills and knowledge we impart, here they can share leanings and challenges with each other too. We are creating a 'Kisan Sangh', an association to also market this organic produce,” shared Dr. Muley, Chairman, SSIAST. Incidentally 20 lakh farmers have already been trained by the SSIAST.

The meet provided an excellent platform for experts to come and share their experiences with the farmers. Chandrashekhar Bachelor, Agriculture Trainer with SSIAST from Chattisgarh shared his success story of converting infertile land into fertile by mixed cropping on a small scale with different crops, like, mango, papaya, and Kaju (cashew nuts). “We have stopped the production of alcohol from mahuwa flowers  in Koi village, Korba, Chhattisgarh which is heavily grown in the state. Instead we now make laddus (sweets) out of it. This is very popular now. We are working on 18 more villages and have empowered many farmers to grow organically.”

Vouching for the benefits of organic farming, Kehsav Vyas, a farmer from Madhya Pradesh said,” We are spending very less and earning much more. In modern farming, production reduces every year, while production increases with organic farming. I also grow sugarcane and make jaggery (gur) from the organic produce. I was fortunate that The Art of Living bought the entire jaggery produce.”

The Art of Living is also helping farmers by creating organic product markets. This method removes the middlemen and allows the farmers to earn more.  

The Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust is established with the main objective to provide opportunities in education, research and extension in different branches of agriculture, horticulture, veterinary and animal sciences, agricultural engineering, home sciences, forestry, co-operation and agribusiness and other allied fields.