Saturday, February 2, 2008

PRA exercise in Chaina village

Agriculture is enslaved, farmers lost roots in agriculture shows PRA exercise in Chaina village

For the first time in Punjab the Participatory Resource Appraisal Exercise [PRA-exercise] specially focused on agriculture was held at village Chaina of the district Faridkot was conducted under the guidance of eminent conservation expert Sri PV Satish from Deccan Development Society [DDS] Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, This was done in a workshop of the Natural farmers of Kheti Virasat Mission – KVM, at Chaina village of Faridkot. PRA was held at the farmhouse of Shri Bhupinder Pal Bhullar. Renowned seed keeper and founder of Beej Bachao Andolan, Uttrakhand Shri Vijay Jardhari, was also present at this workshop.

An old veteran farmer of the village Shri Ram Singh (65) was asked, as to what were the practices in the village's agriculture when he started farming at the age of the 15 during the period before the advent of green revolution, and his past experience was noted down in the form of a table on the ground using lime and lime colors as the writing tools. His experience was compared with a comparatively young new generation farmer Shri Gora Singh's (27) who was simultaneously telling the latest practices of the chemical farming which were of course noted down in the same table on the ground. As the process of this participatory appraisal was in progress, the farmers who were gathered in workshop were also taking part in this highly interactive session, which lasted far about 4 hours with an attentive lot of natural farmers.

After a lot of discussion and mind-boggling exercise a clear picture of the game was revealed. By calculating the income generated during the traditional farming and the chemical farming, it was proved that the traditional farming was more sustainable and profitable as compared to the current chemical farming. The farmer was self-dependent about all his agriculture as well as his daily needs at kitchen & home, but at present he is entirely dependent upon the market for all such needs. Today the farmer earns only Rs 15000/- per acre as compared to the Rs 25000/- during the pre green revolution days.

Shri PV Satish fiercely criticized the economical mindset of the farmers, who are becoming prey to the highly hostile market economy, which is gradually snatching the wealth and peace of mind of the farmers. He asked the farmers to remain within his economic capabilities, and that he should not be get lured by the market and consumer goods.
Shri Umendra Dutt, Executive Director of the Kheti Virasat Mission said that the farmers should get out of this exploitative Chakraveyuha*. We the farmers should expel out all the doubts in their minds about the success of the natural farming. Many states like AP, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Kerala, Uttaranchal etc. are promoting natural – ecological agriculture for the betterment of their farmers and ultimately Punjab government has to fallow the lines.
Shri Vijay Jardhari, from Beej Bachao Andolan asked the farmers to save the natural-traditional native seeds, as it is extremely important for the farmers to have control over the seeds. If they failed to do so the situation is going to become incurable. He told that the god has provided us with diverse biological resources to the Indian farmers and this also includes all diverse varieties of the seeds that must be protected.

After this workshop all the farmers along with Shri Vijay Jardhari visited some natural farms of the village. The crop diversity, status of soil fertility, growth of various plants, and above all the growth of wheat crop were rich enough to impress upon the visitors in the natural farms of Shri Charanjit Punni and Shri Amarjit Sharma. He was briefed about the Jeevaamrita preparation tank in the farmhouse of the Punni. But he was actually surprised by the farmhouse maintained by the Amarjit Sharma and appreciated the growth and amazed at the growth of the various whet varieties.

Shri Vijay Jardhari visited the Natural Farming Seed Heritage Center normally called as the community seed bank of village Chaina and expressed his deep concern and satisfaction. He spent an hour to learn about the seeds collected by the Vatavaran Panchayat of village Chaina and asked for some seeds that are not present with the Beej Bachao movement.
In spite of a cold wave in the region and near sub zero temperature farmers and the experts were enthusiastic about the issues of natural farming and participatory resource appraisal exercise. It was also decided to continue with this initiative. Next PRA exercise shall be done in an expanded form at the village choupal by including more farmers, elders and women. On this occasion the farmers also shared their experience of the previous years.

Shri Satish and Shri Jardhari was here after a Two Days [19 th – 20th Jan.2008] State level workshop on the Biodiversity held by the KVM at the Akal academy at village tallewal near Barnala in which a lot of farmers, doctors, teachers activists and senior KVM officials participated from the whole state. Renowned Organization the Kalpavriksha and Punjab state council of Science and technology also participated in this technical workshop.

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