Odisha is an agrarian state with 62% of the working population directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. With 57 Kg/Ha of fertilizer consumption Odisha is well below the national average of 157 Kg/Ha. The low chemical consuming status is awarded to direct effects of small and marginal farmers of the state who constitute more than 70% of the farmers’ community. This makes it a low hanging fruit to achieve natural farming goals.
Odisha also has a healthy forest coverage of 37% and more than 22% of tribal population. There is a strong affinity of tribal cultures towards natural farming. As many indigenous farming practices are proven time and again to keep agriculture as a sustainable livelihood activity. This is a collective effort of farmers, farming friends, CSOs, government, agencies etc. to keep the movement alive.
Natural Farming’ in its broader sense refers to a combination of agroecological approaches. The objective is to transform farmers, farming and the village landscapes into local input based, climate resilient, productive and regenerative methods of farming that enhances ecosystem services and health of the natural resources, while at the same time increases income, food and nutrition security of the households.
The works of Odisha Millet Mission (OMM), a successful extension model of scaling which has effectively employed a decentralised growth from across multiple sectors in the entire agricultural value chain. Plus today, the government agencies and institutions are more in alignment with the principles of agroecology based farming. Thus the current approach in the state is to leverage the existing knowledge and networks, involve key partners of the state and thereby onboard more stakeholders in the process of facilitating the scale and implementation of Natural Farming in Odisha.