Establishing an ecological farming model
We visited farmers of three districts in Orissa where Bt Cotton is illegaly cultivated to inform them about the risks of genetic engineering. The farmers placed a very pertinent question before us. Can you, they asked, give us an alternative to cultivation of genetically modified crops? This set us thinking. We had to prepare a demonstration model for giving teeth to our campaign against GMOs. For this purpose we have selected five villages under the Karlaguda Gram Panchayat in the Kalahandi district of Orissa. The small and marginal farmers of these villages are tribals. They have left their traditional food crops and agricultural practices coming under the influence of modern farming methods. They now grow cotton in their fields.
Our aim will be to train the villagers in sustainable agriculture concepts and help them return to food crops which they will cultivate using the concepts they have learnt. They will grow their own seeds, prepare their own compost and bio pesticides, store their grains, market their produce and make value additions. These villages will serve as models for others to replicate.