On 24 February 2018, 61 local farmers from six villages under the Mandal Gram Panchayat (village council) came together in Uttarakhand, India, for a community workshop on organic farming organised by IUCN under the project “Coping with Uncertainties: Building Community Resilience and Ecosystem Based Adaptation to Climate Change in the Indian Himalayan Region.”
The State of Uttarakhand is one of 12 States in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), and very rich in biodiversity and natural heritage. Agriculture is the mainstay of Uttarakhand with the plains under intensive agriculture and the hills interspersed with sparse settlements and agriculture. IUCN India has a large grant project under the Government of India’s National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) for building community resilience and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change in the IHR. This project is being implemented in three Himalayan States, one of which is Uttarakhand.
On 24 February 2018, IUCN India, along with its project partner Uttaranchal Youth and Rural Development Centre (UYRDC), organised a community workshop on promotion of organic farming in a project pilot village in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand called Gondi (Mandal Gram Panchayat). The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness among farmers and facilitate a dialogue with relevant government departments on organic farming.
Mr Vipul Sharma from IUCN India introduced the project and the objective of the workshop to the participants, following which Mr Siddharth Negi from UYRDC and Ms Pratishtha Singh from IUCN India conducted a participatory exercise to assess the existing level of understanding of farmers on organic farming and related issues. The farmers shared their experiences with chemical-free manure, vermi-composting and Barah Anaaj – a system of farming 12 mixed food grains. Mr Bharat Rawat (UYRDC), Mr Birendra Singh (UYRDC), Mr Devendra Parihar (UYRDC) and Ms Manpreet Kaur (IUCN) consolidated all the identified issues for further discussions with the experts.
The workshop saw the participation of key experts from relevant departments such as agriculture, horticulture, and organic certification board, among others. Mr Rajesh Khetpal (Agriculture Department), Mr Hira Ballabh Joshi (Horticulture Department) and Mr Virendra Lohani (Uttarakhand Organic Certification Board) spoke about their experiences on organic farming in the region, and provided detailed information on existing State government schemes to promote organic farming. They also elaborated on the organic certification process and suggested effective ways of enhancing livelihood through organic farming. The farmers were encouraged to avail themselves of existing government schemes on organic farming. Mr Yogeshwar Kumar (IUCN) summarised the deliberations with key takeaway points from the workshop.
The workshop was very well received by everyone. It is also well-timed, as the State Government is looking to promote Uttarakhand as an “organic state,” with immense financial support from the Central Government and an “Organic Agriculture Act” for the State in the pipeline. IUCN is planning to organise more such workshops in the near future.
For more information on the project, please click here.