cooperative farming

Recently Sant Seechewal, saint and award winning eco-activist of Punjab, visited protesting farmers at Delhi border with the  precious gift of a truckload of healthy food. However the message he brought him was even more precious—he called upon them to shift to natural farming and mutually  cooperative farming in order to find more reliable and sustainable solutions to their problems.

While this is a very precious and valuable message indeed, some well-intentioned persons who agree with the wisdom of this message have nevertheless raised questions regarding how to give practical expression to this message in such a way that natural or organic or overall ecologically protective farming can spread in a big way.

Yes, we must accept there are problems as over one or two generations of farmers have become used to the ecologically disrupting green revolution farming. Then there is the problem created by those forces which use environment as a garb for pushing their narrow agenda.

Recently there were reports of a company pushing a solar energy project in a tribal village which disrupted and displaced their traditional livelihoods which were in keeping with environment protection. The company pushed this project as a project of renewable energy which will check climate change, ignoring that disruption of communities leading ecologically life can never be justified and in fact to check climate change we city people need to learn from the living pattern and worldview of such communities.

Such wrongly conceived projects implemented in name of environment protection can increase as companies will be eager to get benefits that come with checking  climate change and as some solar projects need a lot of land their impact can be very disruptive over a wide area. Solar energy is certainly needed , it is most welcome, but it should not come in ways that are disruptive for communities.

Such problems can become much, much wider if hydro projects involving a lot of displacement and ecological problems are also pushed  as projects which reduce GHG emissions. This trend will be very harmful but there are signs of this increasing.

On the other hand a genuinely GHG emission reducing technology like Mangal Turbine, which came as an invention by a highly talented farmer scientist Mangal Singh and can reduce diesel consumption greatly in villages while also reducing costs of farmers, has been neglected very badly by the government, despite being praised repeatedly by many eminent persons.

Here it should be emphasized that the case for ecologically protective farming, which was always very strong for improving sustainability and for getting healthy and safe food, has been strengthened very greatly in times of climate change due to the enormous benefits of such farming also for checking climate change and adapting to it. Properly guided  eco-friendly farming can greatly increase organic content of soil and can increase   greenery, while with more self-reliance and decentralization, as well as reduced costs, this can also adapt much better to climate change.

While this does not get adequate attention, big business trying to dominate world-level food and farming system proclaim entirely false advantages Of GM crops in times of climate change and they get attention and coverage, while the reality is that the already strong case for banning GM crops (and the centralization, big business control brought by them) has strengthened further due to climate change related factors.

The real challenge is to bring in policies which will promote eco-friendly farming by small and medium farmers, including the landless who should also get small plots of cultivation land. There are short-term difficulties in this, but the government should help to sort these out instead of playing the opposite role and creating problems. At world level there should be a huge fund for checking climate change and rural communities which practice such farming, and also protect and increase forests ,  should get a regular annual or quarterly payment from this fund.

Bharat Dogra is a journalist and author. His recent books include Planet in Peril and Protecting Earth For Children.


IF YOU LIKED THE ARTICLE SUPPORT PEOPLE’S JOURNALISM


 


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


Comments are closed.