Almost two thirds of India’s rural population find their livelihood in agriculture. Unfortunately, it has been observed that the number of farmers is rapidly on the decline since the last few decades. This is due to many reasons. The modern generation doesn’t seem to show much interest in farming as a means of livelihood. This is a growing problem which many organizations are trying to tackle. The Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha, under the leadership of Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia has been actively working to resolve this issue.
We talked to Mr. Ramesh Lakhulal Chaurasia, the national president of the organization about their vision, work and initiatives.
“We are trying to teach more farmers about the importance of soil conservation and sustainable agriculture. The excessive use of synthetic fertilizers has degraded the quality of the top soil. This is a cause of great concern since soil is the foundation of all life on earth. Without healthy soil, there can be no plants or food. If you look at it, our very existence depends upon how fertile our soil is. Modern agriculture started off with the heavy use of fertilizers to increase the production. But if we have to maintain a healthy ecological balance, we will have to ensure that we get back to our roots and use eco friendly methods of increasing production without polluting the earth. This is what we teach the farmers who attend our seminars and awareness camps. We motivate them to practice modern methods of farming like multi layer farming which can help them increase production and increase the quality of the yield. So far, we have seen great results. We are expecting rapid progress in this front in the next few years.” – Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia answered when we asked him about his initiatives regarding agriculture.
Multi layered farming is a modern method of farming where multiple crops are grown on the same piece of land. This is a very smart method of farming which can be hugely beneficial for the regular farmer who owns a very small piece of land. Most of the Indian farmers don’t own large fields and often have a limited space. With this method, they can grow multiple cash crops in the same area and increase their income. This method is also very eco friendly and saves water because crops are grown according to different heights so there is a canopy above the shorter plants which protects them from the sun and also helps conserve water due to less evaporation. A mini ecosystem is created and the risk of pests is also reduced. The farmers of the Chaurasia community have been associated with betel leaf farming since centuries. Due to the efforts of the Mahasabha and their team, more farmers from the community are showing interest in sustainable agriculture because they are getting better rates for organically grown produce.
We talked to another senior member of the organization about other initiatives related to farming and how they plan to uplift farmers from marginalized communities who have access to very little resources.
He said, “Our goal is not to just enable farmers to earn more money. We want to make their lives better and to secure the future of their future generations. If you go out today and ask the kids what they want to be when they grow up, hardly anyone will say that they want to take up farming. This is what we are trying to change. India has been historically an agrarian society and our farmers feed more than a billion people today. So, the question is not of demand, but of interest among the youth. We organize seminars for families who belong to marginalized communities where we bring local experts who educate them about the endless opportunities that lie within agriculture. There is great scope of employment and revenue for people who don’t have enough exposure or education to get corporate jobs.”
He then added, “Betel farmers from the Chaurasia community are an example for all communities that with proper planning and execution, farming and agriculture can be a lucrative and attractive career option for the future generations. We bring the best agriculture experts with us who extensively research about eco friendly agriculture, organic farming, reducing wastage, crop preservation and transportation methods and so much more. It is just a matter of time before we see results on a large scale as our teams are working really hard to elevate those who work the hardest and feed the nation.”
The efforts of Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia and his team are showing effect as more people from the Chaurasia community show interest in their traditional occupation.