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From Corporate to Cultivator: Archana Jha's Inspiring Journey to Empower Farmers Through Natural Farming

Archana Jha's transformation from corporate life to championing natural farming, impacting thousands of women farmers in Haryana, highlights the profound health and economic benefits of sustainable agriculture.

Shivam Dwivedi
Archana Jha's Inspiring Journey to Empower Farmers Through Natural Farming
Archana Jha's Inspiring Journey to Empower Farmers Through Natural Farming

Archana Jha has degrees in life sciences and management from Jamia Milia University. However, after she moved to the corporate world (working with Godrej Group), she did not know how useful her education would be. A chance meeting with her spiritual mentor and guide, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar changed the direction of her life, when seeking his advice, he suggested she take up natural farming and work with farmers. 

Archana Jha along with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Archana Jha along with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

She recently trained 4500 farmers (mostly women) from over 100 villages in natural farming techniques in Haryana, where she also raised awareness about the quality of food, the need for food to be free of chemicals, and its connection with health and curing illnesses.

In the 2-day training, she would make the farmers aware of why they should opt for natural farming, how to do it, how it is different from organic farming and much cheaper to practice, with quicker results, and management of pests through it, among other things.

“Some of the women were so surprised, even on day one of the training. They said, ‘Didi, we did not know that my son’s stomach problem which is not going away was due to this reason.’ These women blessed us.”

One of the particularly appreciative aspects of the workshop has been the reach. The program is being taught in remotest villages of Haryana. One of the women farmers who took the training with Jha shared, “hum jungle me padhe hain. kau sinkhayega humein ye gyan. (we live in a jungle who will teach us all this knowledge.)

Empowering women farmers through training in natural farming techniques
Empowering women farmers through training in natural farming techniques

Jha herself practices natural farming on her 8-acre land in Meerut and Gurgaon, with zero pesticides. Her land is certified natural farming land, where she makes 5-6 types of biofertilizers, and all the waste generated in the farm stays within the farm and is recycled to make inputs for agriculture. 

“If you walk barefoot on my farm, you will know the quality of it, such spongy loose soil,” Jha shares, “The quality of fruits is such that at one point, you see more oranges and maltas than leaves. The branches bend over from the weight of the fruits. The earthworm population is also rich on my farm and I have seen every time I take out the seeds, their quality has been steadily improving.”

She adds, “There is a tendency to get into agriculture when everything else has failed and people have no other jobs to do. We want to bring back the pride in agriculture among farmers. This is one of the biggest industries the world over.”

One of the farmers who took the training with Jha shares, “It will be great if you keep repeating this program again and again and take it to every village. The harm being caused by chemical farming to this country; _hamare sehat ke sath jo khilwad ho raha hai (the way our physical health is being messed around with); and the chemical that is going inside our body-is ending our faith in this type of agriculture.  All our money is going into getting treatments. Natural farming will help us save all this money and we will be able to live with peace and prosperity.”

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