The Mother Eco-Centre began on a barren piece of land, unused for 40 years by the tribal owners. At that time the land was given to them by the Government, and these tribals felt that they had been cheated. The land would have been forested once, but probably the British were responsible for the large scale deforestation that took place to create ships and railways. The result was infertile (‘dead’) heavy clay alkaline soil.
With so much land in the area (about 60%) in a similar condition, we saw that if we could demonstrate low cost methods for the restoration to fertility it may encourage others. All the farmers using their land are growing hybrid rice using chemicals, and this is common practice for the last 20 years.
We came to the land with the intention of growing healthy organic food living in harmony with the environment. But when we arrived, we saw economic and ecological degradation all around. We realised that most landowners have between 1-4 acres of land and if the soil is of sufficient quality it has been sold for brick making.
When farming is done in harmony with nature, it is a cheaper method of farming than modern methods, has less impact on the environment, ensures long term food security and produces healthy and nutritious food. If markets can be found that demand organic quality then the produce also fetches a premium.
It gives sustainable rural job creation, while improving biodiversity and the environment.
- Sustainable rural jobs reduce HIV induced by city migration, more cohesive families and a balanced world.
- Organic unprocessed indigenous foods improve health and reduce malnutrition.
- Environmental improvements are essential for water security and reducing the impacts of climate change, ensuring the long term sustainability of a community.
What Saha Astitva is doing
Having restored the barren land to fertility at our Mother Earth Eco-Centre in a short time using locally available materials and a return to Vedic science, we believe that restoration of the soil is easy and quick to do. Farmer training, micro-loans and proper planning to allow out of season irrigation are all required to grow the technology. We employ local people at our Eco-Centre and they in turn are beginning to adopt our techniques. Read Vijay’s story. We aim to encourage and support more farmers to return to organic ways and we are continuing to research the products to grow according to the climate and link to higher value markets.