Farmer-to-Farmer Training Center focusing on Agroecology and Seed Conservation

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Amrita Bhoomi is a farmer-to-farmer training center where farmers can build agricultural models of autonomy in rural India. In particular, the center focuses on providing farmer-to-farmer training on agroecology and seed conservation. The center was established by farmers – it is a space where farmers, women and the youth can create and learn about ecological and socially just alternatives for autonomy in farming and food. Amrita Bhoomi is also a key ally of the Zero Budget Natural Farming agroecology movement within South Asia.

No Poverty , Zero Hunger , Climate Action , Life on Land , Build resilience of vulnerable to climate disasters , Eradicate extreme poverty , Empower smallholder farmers; connect them to markets , End hunger, especially of poor, vulnerable, infants , End malnutrition, especially in children, women, elders , Ensure sustainable, climate-resilient food systems , Safety nets for food security and nutrition , Strengthen resilience, adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards , Improve learning, capacity on climate change measures , Build capacity for climate change planning, management , Conserve, restore, sustainably use terrestrial, freshwater ecosystems , Promote fair, equitable benefits sharing , Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use

There are threatening external pressures on peasant communities in India – the most unfortunate symptom of which is the epidemic of farmers’ suicides in the country. More than a quarter of a million farmers have committed suicide in the last decade alone, and there is no sign of abatement. Farmers are facing extremely stressful conditions in part due to current farmer dependencies, namely expensive chemical fertilizers and fossil fuel. In addition, farmers suffer financially from poor returns on farm produce. On the ecological front, the climate crisis and water shortage has had detrimental effects on land and local communities.

Amrita Bhoomi is a young organization. It was born out of the farmer’s movement in 2013, and is a member of the Zero Budget Natural Farming movement in Karnataka.. The Zero Budget Movement is a mass-based peasant movement which has shifted the production practices of more than 100,000 farmers in Karnataka state from chemical to agroecological farming. The ZBNF movements work is fundamentally based on mass replication via training camps and farmer to farmer pedagogical practices. In this regard, Amrita Bhoomi as an important ally of this movement has carried out training for approximately 9,000 farmers on ZBNF practices in the last 4.5 years, both on its campus and across southern India.

The project is also part of the global network of farmer’s movements called Via Campesina. Through this network, it has organized exchange visits and training camps for farmers across northern India and its methods have been replicated in Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Aside from this, Amrita Bhoomi has provided training to various rural youth on agroecology, value addition, direct marketing etc. It also has a new seed center to distribute local seed varieties among farmers. focused on Zero Budget Natural Farming, a style of farming that is based on collaboration, direct farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and locally available ingredients and seeds, building social cohesion among the community members.

Amrita Bhoomi center is a place where peasants, especially rural youth,  can build models of autonomy an alternative vision to that of green revolutions, which are populating rural India. The center focuses on teaching agroecology, which relieves farmers from external inputs and genetically modified seeds.

The center provides a year-long, free training class for rural youth who can learn about agroecology, and receive hands-on skills through practicing agroecology on plots of land given to them for caretaking. The youth come from peasant families, including lower caste families, and migrated youth, who may not have any prior experience in land cultivation.

The center also provides training to women as well as carries out women-only training - such as peasant feminism, seed saving, value addition of produce, formation of self-help groups, and marketing among others. Lastly, the majority of Amrita Bhoomi’s employees and leaders of the center are women.

Photo credits: Daniel Moss


 

India , Sri Lanka , Nepal

Self-funded, government of Karnataka provided seed-funding, personal donations, some foundations have provided small funding

Amrita Bhoomi

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