Co-creating sustainability through Natural Farming: The Dhikniya Gram Panchayat’s Endeavour

~ Ahmed Ali, Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)

The Dhikniya village falls in Dhikniya Gram panchayat, of Dhamotar block of Pratapgarh district in Rajasthan state. Based on climatic conditions and agricultural practices, Rajasthan has been divided into nine agroclimatic zones, out of which Pratapgarh district features in the sub-humid southern plains and its area comprises low Aravali hills with intrusions of black lava rocks where forest cover is approximately 24%. As per the official data of Rajasthan government, the district has 844mm of average annual rainfall, which makes it a semi-arid climatic zone. The district is mostly dominated by the tribals with 50% of the tribals being Bhils, Garasiyas and Damors. The major source of income for these people comes from agriculture and livestock. Although, the average land holding capacity of one household is barely 2 bigha, making livestock an important part for the survival of family. The land is categorically hilly in nature, which contains stoney black soil. The chief Kharif season crop in the district are maize, sorghum, and paddy. Groundnut, mustard, sesame, and rapeseed are also grown whereas in Rabi season, the main crops are barley, wheat, gram, pulses, and oil seeds, etc.

In the past, community members in rural areas would generally engage in agriculture which was led by the philosophy of ‘by nature and for nature’. However, since early 2000s, when the concept of green revolution introduced permeated to these areas, the farmers got into a race of getting more and more yield (and by extension, profits) utilizing any means. Post 2005, due to lack of water harvesting, people of the village had to engage in seasonal agriculture. By 2008, the Foundation for Ecological Security had intervened in the village and coordinated various water infrastructures on commons collectively with the community members under the umbrella of ‘Mahadev Gram Vikas Samiti’. This resulted in an increased supply of water on the surface and ground, through conservation, increasing the water table and benefiting the agricultural land near to these water sources.

Creation of such assets and enhancing the production of farmers is key role of a Gram panchayat. As part of the same, the Mahadev Gram Vikas Samiti, Dhikniya took a resolution at the Gram panchayat favouring natural farming. In continuation, the Gram Panchayat and other actors working towards the environment took a collaborative action for mobilizing and building capacities of the community members for natural farming. In response to the collective action, various meetings, trainings and exposure visits were organized with the help of Gram Panchayat, organizations, and government departments. The Mahadev Gram Vikas Samiti, Dhikniya is leading the initiative of natural farming in the village. The story of Krishnapalji’s. a member of the village institution, helps in understanding the impact of the mobilization of the community to start natural farming in small plot of land.

Natural Farming: A Game Changer of Bhagirath’s Life

~ Ravi Ghosh (Bajaj Foundation)

This is an inspiring story of a diligent farmer, Mr. Bhagirath Lamba, hailing from the underdeveloped village of Pritampuri, situated in the Sikar district of Rajasthan. There are very few employment opportunities available and most people in the village are conventional farmers who implement conventional techniques of agriculture, almost entirely depending on chemical interventions to fight pests and weeds. Additionally, the region suffers from lack of water and is also very drought prone. Most of the people are unable to earn enough money from selling crop, so they have to take a loan from local money lenders to buy seeds, fertilizers, manure manage a good harvest. If the harvest is not optimal or a crop failure happens, the farmer is not able to get enough money to close the debt. So, the farmers again take a personal loan to grow more crops, sell them and to pay back the previous loans. This leads to a farmer getting trapped in a vicious cycle. Due to this their economic condition keeps falling day by day and they yearn for a better life. The family members are further driven into poverty, which not only affects them emotionally but psychologically too.

In such a circumstance a 50 year old farmer named Bhagirath Lamba who chose a different way to face this utmost challenges. Previously he was growing wheat but because of high price of chemical fertilizers & insufficient water, he could not earn enough income from it. However, Bhagirath wanted to something extraordinary in agriculture, which he had realized was not possible through chemical farming. Subsequently, Bhagirath came to know about a Kisan Pathshala being run by Bajaj Foundation in the village and he decided to attend a demonstration. He took training for preparation of natural bio-stimulants like Jivamrit, beejamrit etc, and also learnt about the concept of crop diversification and creating a self-reliant family. Since then, a has started on a new journey in natural farming. The Bajaj Foundation extended their assistance (technical and financial) and support to many farmers like Bhagirath. Through it, they were able to successfully come out of vicious cycles. There has also been a demand for produce farmed naturally, due to its ‘purity’. With this idea in mind, he implemented natural farming in his once infertile farm field and now he is able to take higher crop production through even in a frequently drought affected area, facing water scarcity.


Initially he faced a lot of difficulties in this journey, but he did not give up and kept on trying, along with understanding the situation. He himself started searching for the market and worked hard. Now he is considered as one of the progressive farmers at Pritampuri village.

Changes in Income and Cultural pattern:

In his 8 acre of land he cultivates different types of vegetable crops seasonally and based on the demand of the consumer. He sells tomato to the nearby blocks of his village, like Shreemadhopur, Ajeetgarh, Khendela and Neem ka thana. The market rate ranges from Rs.12/- to 25/- per kg and in one year his earnings increased to 3-4 lacs from selling tomato and other vegetables by advocating and popularising the value and purity of natural farming. He practices natural farming coupled with latest technology like staking in tomato, using drip irrigation method, mulching and pandal cultivation in creeping vegetables like bitter gourd, bottle gourd etc. Once there is enough produce, he sell it directly to the consumer without an in-between middleman. This approach ensures high returns avoiding intermediaries and enabling quality produce to reach the consumer, by better communication between end users.

Impact on other farmers:

He is now a farmer with a happy family. In addition, he has started teaching other people like him i.e. nearby farmers who are engaged in agricultural activities. He has already succeeded in turning 3 more farmers from Pritampuri village into progressive natural farmer. He even gives them a buy back guarantee i.e., if the farmers follow his advised practices to grow natural produce. This hand holding helps the farmers to take risks and slowly, few farmers have started joining hands with him to cultivate produce naturally.

His life story has inspired many farmers within the district. He has dealt with his challenges in life and has persevered in his journey from being a small hopeless farmer to a progressive farmer.

Organic Farming a way towards empowerment for a Garasia woman

Aditi Jain, PRADAN

‘The Patriarchy never allowed me to see beyond my Goonghat, but now that I earn for my family, people have started respecting me” – Manju Garasia

Indian society is leading the way long where according to Oxfam India, 85% of rural women are engaged in agriculture, yet only around 13% of them own any land. A female in rural India is born to serve her younger siblings, then her husband and his family throughout her life. However, when asked, what a woman gets in return is nothing more than the clothes she wore if her husband kicks her out. She doesn’t even get her rights for her children as a mother. This has been the story of every 2nd Garasia woman in the Abu Road block of the Sirohi district of Rajasthan.

Manju Garasia is a woman farmer and a budding entrepreneur who was deprived of education and was married at the early age of 15 to Hansaram Garasia. She came to the village called Siyava, 8 km away from the Abu Road block, where there are 836 houses of the Garasia tribe. Garasias are the third largest tribe in Rajasthan, historically famous as the great archers but now their livelihood entirely based on farming and labour work. Being from a tribal family, Manju had been working on the farms for a long time and fortunately, her experience gave her the courage to support her new family when her husband was unemployed.

The decision-making power among women in all strata has been weak but when Manju when joined the self-help group in 2013, she realised that one can break a single piece of wood easily but not a cord. She became an active member of SHG and started attending regular meetings and built her personality as an early adopter. Her in-laws used to cultivate maize, wheat, mustard, cluster beans and chilly which were only sufficient for self-consumption. Manju had to look after her three children and their health. She started selling vegetables near to the famous Veer Baba temple but was laid back by pest attacks on the vegetables and limited production even after lots of chemical treatment. Fortunately, she got a moment of bliss when she heard about the green shed net under the Project Bajaj by (PRofessional Assistant for Development ActioN) PRADAN. She took a loan from her SHG and had it installed to cultivate quality vegetables without any disease.

In her struggle to repay the loan, her mother-in-law supported her and started doing work in the field with her. When she first produced tomato, brinjal, chilly and okra, she earned Rs 32,000 from them in 3 months. But the cultivation of other crops, gram and wheat, failed badly as production was very low. Her mother-in-law exclaimed that she has ruined the fertility of the land as otherwise the land near the veer baba temple was very fertile. In her mother-in-law’s time, the production was very high, and she never had to beg anyone. Manju at that moment could not understand much but when she encountered another person from PRADAN in a meeting, she was able to relate with her mother-in-law. The meeting was on organic farming and its benefit for soil, health and production. Here, she understood that the chemicals she was adding to save her crops, were instead making her land barren. Hence, for once she tried not to use any chemicals in her vegetables and cultivated the saplings in a green shed with organic manure. She got one cow from her parents and one was from her mother-in-law. She later built a cowshed to collect their dung and urine, from which she prepared a bio-input that she had learnt in a training from PRADAN, called Jeevamrutha, by adding jaggery, gram flour, and neem leaves.

Her organically cultivated vegetables started to be popular among the selective customers that now she grows and stocks things as per orders. Last year she cultivated vegetables in 62 decimals (1 decimal = 1/100 acre) of the land out of 279 decimals that her husband owns and earned Rs 1,80,000 from it in a year. She also sells Jeevamrutha for Rs 10 per litre and earns 22,500 per year from it. With her hard work and support, she is now a person of more than two lakhs per year.

After looking at the demand, understanding the market of organic products in the meetings and training by stakeholders like KVK, PRADAN and Agriculture Department Rajasthan, she got motivated and took part in an organic wheat demonstration by PRADAN. She sowed 40 kg of wheat in 60 decimals from which she got a produce of 700 kg of wheat. She shared that the input cost was the bare minimum in organic wheat, and with that, she saved Rs 3,300 this time on 60 decimals of land. The chapati of organic wheat is softer and though the size of the grains was a bit small, it was heavier than the chemically cultivated wheat. Her mother-in-law was also happy to see her going back to the natural practice on the farm and now she loves her like her own daughter.

People from her neighborhood also encouraged her and were curious to know about the dark green colour of the field she had of wheat this time. She proudly explained to them and motivated them to try organic wheat for the health of the soil and the family as well. Her mother-in-law saw her pure intentions towards her community and supported her as she became an Executive Committee (EC) member of the Cluster Level Federation (CLF).

Even so, she still struggles to keep up the pace with others as no matter what she has to depend on others to read and write. But her husband Hansaram, has shown his support and taught her to write her name and started working at their farm with her. Manju bai promises to herself that she’ll educate her children and won’t marry them at an early age.

She shared that it feels good to do something for our mother earth, it gives her strength that she is taking responsibility for her ancestors’ land and re-generating it with organic manure, compost manure, Jeevamrutha, etc. She says

“Didi, aane waale saal se main Urea or DAP ki line me nahi lagungi. Sab jaivik hi karungi”

देवरानी - जेठानी की जोड़ी ने बनाया छोटे से गांव को गुलाब नर्सरी हब

~ सावजीराम, सेवा मंदिर

उदयपुर जिले की गिरवा तहसील के दक्षिण पश्चिम में स्थित राजस्व गांव है आट, कुल 78 घरों का यह छोटा सा गांव वर्त्तमान में गुलाब की खेती एवं गुलाब नर्सरी के हब के रूप में तैयार हो रहा है। वर्ष 2020 के अप्रैल माह में प्रथम सप्ताह में 3 महिला काश्तकारों धर्मी बाई, लक्ष्मी बाई, एवं केसर बाई द्वारा क्रमशः 1000, 500 एवं 400 पौधे लगाए गए थे।।

इसी वर्ष इन तीनों काश्तकारों को नर्सरी तैयार करने हेतु सेवा मंदिर द्वारा प्रशिक्षण दिया गया। प्रशिक्षण के दौरान धर्मी/प्रताप एवं लक्ष्मी/विरमा द्वारा नर्सरी तैयार करने का मानस बनाया। सर्वप्रथम उन्होंने 6100 पौधों की नर्सरी तैयार की जो शुरू में लगाए गए 1900 पौधों से अक्टूबर माह के मध्य में कटिंग कर तैयार की गई थी । मार्च 2021 में पौधे तैयार हो गए और अप्रैल 2021 में इस नर्सरी के पौधे बेचकर इन्हे ₹26000 की आमदनी प्राप्त हुई । इस लाभ से धर्मी बाई एवं लक्ष्मीबाई में सकारात्मक भावना का विकास हुआ और गांव की अन्य महिलाओं काश्तकारों के लिए वे प्रेरणादायक बन गई। उनसे प्रेरित होकर छह अन्य महिला काश्तकारों ने गुलाब की खेती करना प्रारंभ किया।

धर्मी बाई ने शुरू में हुई इस आय से से अपने मकान का प्लास्टर करवाया। इस से उत्साहित होकर उन्होंने दोबारा मध्य अक्टूबर 2021 में उन्ही पौधों की दोबारा कटिंग कर 10000 पौधों की नर्सरी तैयार की जिससे मार्च 2022 में 8500 पौधे हुए और इनको ₹110000 की आय प्राप्त हुई। धर्मी बाई ने इन पैसों से अपने दोनों बेटों की शादी करवाई । इस के साथ ही नर्सरी के अलावा इनके द्वारा लगाए गुलाब के पौधों से भी इन्हें ₹40000 की आमदनी प्राप्त हुई।

धर्मी बाई की तरह ही लक्ष्मी बाई ने 4100 पौधों की नर्सरी तैयार की जिससे इन्हें ₹55000 की आमदनी प्राप्त हुई और इन पैसों से इन्होंने अपने आधे बीघा खेत को समतल करवाया और नर्सरी तैयार करने हेतु अपने खेत में मिट्टी एकत्रित करवाई ।

नर्सरी की आय से उत्साहित होकर पुनः धर्मी बाई (देवरानी) एवं लक्ष्मी बाई (जेठानी) ने अक्टूबर 2022 में गुलाब की कटिंग कर 22500 पौधों की नर्सरी तैयार की जो मार्च 2023 में तैयार हुई और जिससे इनको 22000 पौधे प्राप्त हुए । इस वर्ष इन दोनों देवरानी जेठानी को ₹330000 की आमदनी प्राप्त हुई है। धर्मी बाई द्वारा इन पैसों से ट्यूबवेल खुदवा कर उस पर सोलर प्लांट लगाया गया जिसमें कुल ₹80000 का खर्चा आया। शेष पैसों से उन्होंने अपने बेटों की शादी का कर्जा उतारा। इसी प्रकार लक्ष्मी बाई द्वारा इन पैसों से ₹40000 में जमीन लेकर उसमें मिट्टी डलवाकर समतल करवाया गया है। इस प्रकार इस गांव में इन दोनों देवरानी-जेठानी ने निरंतर गुलाब की खेती की एवं नर्सरी लगाकर इस छोटे से गांव को गुलाब नर्सरी हब बना दिया। इन दोनों की मेहनत एवं लगन से आज इस गांव में 3 से 18 काश्तकार गुलाब की खेती कर रहे हैं और गुलाब फूल बेचकर एवं नर्सरी से न्यूनतम सालाना ₹5000 और अधिकतम ₹160000 की आय निरंतर कमा रहे हैं।

इस संकल्प के बारे में और पढ़ें – [Read more]


प्राकृतिक खेती से ममता की आय में वृद्धि

~ संगीता कुमारी, उन्नति

जैसा कि प्राकृतिक खेती नाम से ही प्रतीत होता हैं- प्रकृति प्रदत खेती| प्राकृतिक खेती वह खेती है, जिसमे हम रासायनिक पदार्थो का उपयोग न करके प्राकृतिक पदार्थो जैसे:- गाय का गोबर, गोमूत्र, नीम की पत्ती, निम्बोली, आक इत्यादि का इस्तेमाल करते हैं | इस क्रम में खेत की जुताई से लेकर फसल कटाई तक की प्रक्रिया में प्राकृतिक पदार्थों का ही इस्तमाल करते हैं l यहाँ तक अगले साल के लिए जो बीज का भंडारण करते हैं उसमें भी प्राकृतिक पद्धति का ही इस्तेमाल करते हैं l आइए हम ममता की कहानी के माध्यम से जानते हैं कि कैसे उन्होंने प्राकृतिक पद्धति से खेती करके अपनी आय में वृद्धि की हैं l

28 वर्षीय ममता पति हेमाराम गंगापुरा गांव के गंगापुरा पंचायत के पटौदी प्रखंड जिला बारमेर की रहनेवाली है| जहाँ ज्यादातर दलित परिवारों में शिक्षा एक अधूरा सपना बन कर रह जाता है, वहाँ ममता उन चुनिंदा महिलाओं में से हैं जिनकी शिक्षा 8वी कक्षा तक पूरी हो सकी। उनके परिवार में कुल 7 सदस्य है, जिनका भरण-पोषण खेती से ही होता है | वैसे तो उनको 6 बीघा जमीन है जिनपर वो 15 सालों से खेती करती आ रही थी, पर परंपरागत तरीका से ; अर्थात परंपरागत तरीके मे रासायनिक कीटनाशक, या रासायनिक उर्वरकों का उपयोग होता था”

ममता जी कहती है, हमारे राजस्थान में ग्रामवासी पहले परंपरागत खेती के तहत बीज को बिना उपचार किए खेतों में ऐसे ही छिटकर फसल की बुआई करते थे l पहले न ही बीजामृत, न ही जीवामृत, न ही कीटनाशक का उपयोग करते थे जिस कारण ज्यादा उपज नहीं हो पाता था l जब ज्यादा उपज नहीं होगा तो स्वाभाविक है कि आय में बढ़ोतरी नहीं होगी l पहले प्राकृतिक खेती के बारे में जानकारी थी पर ये खेती कैसे की जाती है उस बारे में जानकारी नहीं थी l”


जब 2019 में ममता जी उन्नति संस्था से जुड़ी, उन्हें उन्नत प्राकृतिक खेती (बीज उपचार, बीजामृत , जीवामृत इत्यादि) के बारे में बताया गया l ममता जी के पास 8 बकरियां और 3 गायें है , उन्होंने सोचा कि प्राकृतिक पद्धति से खेती करने के आवश्यक संसाधन उनके पास है तो प्रयोग करके देखने में क्या हर्ज़ है l उन्नति संस्था से उनकी सास भी जुडी थी अतः संस्था द्वारा बताई गई पद्धति पर उनको पूरा भरोसा था इसलिए उन्होंने प्राकृतिक खेती शुरू की l आज वो उन्नत प्राकृतिक खेती कर रही है जिसका लिंक नीचे साझा किया गया हैंl

पहले जहां एक बीघा में सिर्फ 50 kg बाजरे का उत्पादन कर पाती थी वही आज एक बीघा में लगभग 150 kg बाजरे का उत्पादन होता है| उनकी उपज को देखकर गांव की लगभग 15 से 20 महिलाएं अब इस पद्धति को अपना रही है|

ममता जी अपने अनुभव साँझा करते हुए बताती है कि प्राकृतिक तरीके से खेती करने से सबसे पहले खेत को यह फायदा हुआ कि मिट्टी में उर्वरक क्षमता के साथ ही साथ मिट्टी में नमी भी बनी रही | कम लागत में अधिक फसल का उत्पादन हुआ | बेकार पत्तियों, गाय का गोबर,बकरी का मूत्र का उपयोग खाद के रूप में हो जाने से घर के आस-पास कचड़ा भी नहीं फैला और वातावरण साफ-सुथरा भी रहा | इस पद्धति से खेती करने का एक फायदा यह भी है कि जल प्रदूषित नहीं होता है चाहे वो नदी का पानी हो, तालाब का जल हो या वर्षा का जल हो l

इस पद्धति की कमिया यह है कि खाद से लेकर कीटनाशक बनाने में रासायनिक विधि की अपेक्षा थोड़ा अधिक समय लगता है पर पर्यावरण के दृष्टिकोण से बहुत ही फायदेमन्द हैं l

ममता से बातचीत के दौरान यह पता चला कि पहले भी परम्परागत खेती में चुनौतियों का सामना करना पड़ता था और इस पद्धति में भी कुछ चुनौतियों का सामना करना पड़ रहा हैं जैसे:- खेत जुताई के लिए समय पर ट्रेक्टर नहीं मिल पाना, बिन मौसम बरसात, बीज का भंडारण, बरसात के पानी पर निर्भरता, समय पर मूंग और मोठ बीज का नहीं मिल पाना | पर खुशी की बात यह है कि इस पद्धति से पैदावार अच्छी होती हैं|

उन्नत प्राकृतिक खेती से हुई आमदनी से ममता जी बहुत खुश है और इसका श्रेय वो UNNATI संस्था को देना चाहती है, जिसके कारण आज ये सब करने में सफल हुई | आज की तिथि में ममता जी के साथ-साथ अन्य ग्रामवासी भी बाजरा के अलावा मोठ, मूंग और अन्य फसल के उत्पादन में भी प्राकृतिक खेती का उपयोग करने लगे हैं l वतमान में वे आसपास के गांव की महिलाओं को भी जीवामृत बनाना, उसका छिड़काव , कम्पोस्ट बनाना आदि बातें सीखा रही है आज ममता जी घर के काम के साथ साथ खेती में भी अपना महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका अदा कर रही है, जो अपने आप में नारी सशाक्तिकरण को दर्शाता है |