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HP Women Farmers Emerging As Leader In Natural Farming, Scripting Success Stories

Read about the women in Himachal Pradesh who are writing success stories of low-cost, non-chemical, and climate-resilient natural farming thanks to training and capacity-building workshops.

Binita Kumari
Women Farmers
Women Farmers

Declaring that India and its farmers will lead the worldwide 'Lifestyle for Environment' mission in the twenty-first century,' In December 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at the National Conclave on Natural Farming, emphasizing the importance of pulling agriculture out of the chemistry lab and connecting it to the lab of nature.

This isn't the first time farmers have been urged to take advantage of the benefits of natural farming.

In India, natural farming has been encouraged several times, with varied incentives. Now on the heels of sustainable living, natural or organic farming is gaining favor.

It's worth noting that, as of March 2021, over 500,000 farmers were practicing natural farming on 2, 16,000 hectares of land.

The women in Himachal are writing success stories of low-cost, non-chemical, and climate-resilient natural farming thanks to training and capacity-building workshops.

The state-run Prakriti Krishi Khushhal Kisan Yojana, which was launched in 2018, promotes organic farming. As a result of the program, half of all farmers in the state of HP have adopted natural farming techniques, and women growers in particular have taken on the duty of encouraging their communities to adopt this sustainable farming approach.

According to government data, 90,000 of the 1.68 lakh farmers in Himachal Pradesh who practice natural farming are women, a staggering ratio that reflects a wave of change marked by empowerment, a connection to biodiversity, and a march toward food security.

The story of a 50-year-old Satya Devi was featured in a compiled document of inspiring stories of Progressive Women Farmers published by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

She described how she switched from traditional farm operations that used chemicals, sprays, and fertilizers to Zero Budget Natural Farming because she couldn't make much money or save any even with the best marketing practices.

The state of Himachal Pradesh has initiated a campaign called ZBNF (Zero Budget Natural Farming) to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides in the production of cash crops and fruits.

Satya Devi wrote her own success story in pursuing sustainable farming with the help of ZBNF in the state.

The Zero Budget farming technique has gained a lot of traction over the years, and now farmers from all over the world are flocking to Himachal Pradesh to learn from its farmers.

Women became the communicators of natural farming in Himachal Pradesh as part of a series of efforts called the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM). For agriculture-related initiatives, rural women were selected as 'Krishi Sakhis' (community resource persons).

The women associated with the Himachal Pradesh Prakritik Khushhal Kisan (PK3Y) Yojana are changing mindsets by training others in natural farming techniques, concept seeding at the village organization level, training and promotion of ecological practices, promotion of Agri-Nutri garden, and running seed banks.

In 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh, 23 training sessions for 502 'Krishi Sakhis' have been held since December 2021.

The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, promised in his budget speech for 2022-23 that 50,000 acres would be converted to natural farming.

The farmers will be recognized and certified as natural farmers.

The overall cost of conventional farming is about Rs 2.30 lakh per hectare, according to the Agriculture Department, whereas natural farming is roughly Rs 1 lakh per hectare.

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