…..Dedicated towards Organic Farming & Rice Cultivation with Community Farmers
On the occasion of Earth Day, Balipara Foundation organised a one day workshop on Organic Farming and Rice Cultivation with the Community Farmers in collaboration with Annapura Seed Library
Rice is cultivated in a wide range of agro-ecological situations in Assam: from the hill slopes of Karbi Anglong to drought affected upland and rain fed lowland to very deep water conditions. There are four broad divisions of rice cultivars grown in Assam- Sali (winter rice), Ahu (autumn), Boro (Summer) and Bao (deepwater rice), with various traits such as stickiness, high starch content, waxy or otherwise and aromatic. It is because of this exposure to a range of environmental conditions that there is extensive diversity in traditional landraces.
The objective, thereby was to-
- Foster Rural Futures and educate the farmers about extensive diversity in traditional landraces and
- Educate about preserving indigenous rice varieties
- Raise awareness on multiple cropping to growing more than one crop on a piece of land for increase in production through Seed Exchange Program Make productive use of the knowledge and skills of farmers, thus improving their livelihood
The one day workshop was delivered by Annapurna Seed Library- Northeast’s first seed lending library and an initiative by Mahan Chandra Bora, a farmer from Meleng, Eastern outskirt of Jorhat. The workshop was successful with participation by 17 local farmers from Nyshi and Garo Village, Sonitput District and 3 fieldworkers from Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark.
Mahan Chandra Bora, a farmer from Meleng on the eastern outskirt of Jorhat, is racing against time to stock up nearly-extinct and rare indigenous rice varieties, one grain at a time, in his unique seed library – to help secure genetic diversity for climate resilience. He has set up the Northeast’s first seed lending library the Annapurna Seed Library which is also a sister library of the California-based Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library.
Mr. Borah demonstrating the method of preparing organic fertiliser
With an extensive knowledge on seeds and their indigenous varieties, Mr. Borah helped farmers understand the techniques and preparation methods during Organic Farming. With the means of both practical and theoretical approach, a clear picture of seed germination techniques, multiple cropping, preparing organic pesticides using cow dung and cow urine were delivered to the participants. While organic farming is no-doubt better for the earth, what really makes it so good is actually just how downright bad conventional farming is for the earth. Mr. Borah helped farmers understand how pesticides and fertilizer run-off from conventional cropland and is one of the biggest environmental pollutant today. These chemicals are responsible for birth defects in animals ranging from fish to birds, as well as for polluted waterways from runoff from conventional farmlands. For overall better health of the earth, organic farming is the only way to go.
Insitu conservation of the rice varieties
Mr. Borah distributing Black rice seeds to the farmers
The erosion of genetic diversity in many food crops that accompanies the spread of commercial agriculture is a major concern for farmers and consumers throughout the world. On this note, Mr, Bora spoke about the importance of insitu conservation of rice varieties. While the world is losing genetic diversity of rice, Mr. Bora highlights the need for encouraging the growers of native varieties through raising awareness. The workshop was concluded by exchanging Black rice seeds ( a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, iron, calcium and dietary fibers) with the farmers with the motto-
“Seed Security for Food Security”
Feedback received from the participants-
"The idea and techniques of organic pesticides preparation was the most fascinating" - EHBA field worker
"We practice growing of only one type of crop, but after this workshop i want to follow the practice of growing multiple crops as well as organic farming within the same place as it improves the quality of soil by supporting beneficial soil microorganism" - an elderly participating farmer
Team EHBA with Mahan Chandra Bora and the participants
~ The farmers were benefitted in perspective of homemade organic pesticides ~
~ They got knowledge on different high yielding methods on rice cultivation ~
~ They are keen to get seeds from Annapurna seed library for further cultivation ~