A beautiful thing is happening in the Tansa Valley. Young adivasi men want to stay in their villages and farm. They want to make their livelihoods from farming, at a time when many villagers are leaving agricultural work, flocking to the city in search of hard-to-find work.
These men would prefer to have a life of farming on their ancestral land than follow others to an impoverished life in the city slums. Many young men own small pieces of land that could give them a decent livelihood & enable them to stay at home and support their family and community.
Women are also being encouraged wherever possible to join. Adiv Pure Nature are working with us on a natural dying project.
These men are turning to organic farming as they understand the idea of low cost inputs and the need for sustainability. Saha Astitva helps them link to niche markets in order to get a premium price for their pesticide-free produce.
This is particularly good news for the Tansa Valley, an ecologically fragile area, in the process of becoming a biodviersity heritage site as organic farming helps conservation of soil, watersheds and increases biodiversity.
Many young men were employed at the farm, before being encouraged to become independent. During their employment they were trained in skills and organic farming principles, which was something their ancestors knew very well how to do.
Saha Astitva made loans and grants available and provided training and wells. Sadly the wells ran dry quickly and now we hope to utilize them as water catchments to extend the growing season as well as nala bunding.
Saha Astitva encouraged the formation of the local co-operative. Thirteen farmers experimented with growing indigenous rice and vegetables. Some kept the rice for their own consumption, recognizing it to be healthier than conventional white hybrid rice grown with artificial fertilizer and pesticides.