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Centre for Sustainable Agriculture

Centre for Sustainable Agriculture

We at Centre for Sustainable Agriculture working in the space of researching and promoting sustainable agricultural models, farmer collectives and making public policy work for farmers for over 15 years.  These fifteen years was a uphill task of fighting establishment and established mindsets. In 2004 when we started our journey, learnings from several successes from ground were First, all have made use of locally adapted resource conserving technologies. Second, in all there has been coordinated action by groups or communities at local level. Third, there have been supportive external (or non-local) government and/or non-governmental institutions working in partnership with farmers. Almost every one of the successes has been achieved despite existing policy environments which still strongly favor ‘modern’ approaches to agricultural development and at the same time discriminate against sustainability and tend to have anti-rural and pro-urban bias.

In our work in the last 15 years, we always wanted to establish agroecological approaches on a large scale and set up community institutions and redesign public policy support systems to sustain these efforts. Whether we worked on Non Pesticidal Management or Organic Farming, Sahaja Aharam or Rytu swarajya Vedika, regulating GM crops or a Kisan Mitra, Development Dialogue or making of Mitti – Back to roots all our efforts were to break the established mindsets and recreate new ideas, approaches, institutions and public policies. In spite of lots of resistances for change, failures, we were reasonably successful in our effort and now if we have to make an assessment, in the changing scenario future of Indian Agriculture is taking a new path …shift towards agroecological approaches, building farmers collectives to improve their bargaining power and entire financial support systems converting into direct benefit schemes. These three were completely unthinkable even five years back.

In this scenario, we feel while the scenario is changing, as a nation we are not yet prepared for this. We have’nt made enough efforts to build institutions, human resources to take handle this change.

For example, the entire shift towards agroecological approaches lack a scientific approach. the entire university systems stayed away. In the absence of a rational approach these shifts are driven by again belief systems build around one person or a concept as we can see. Similarly, lack of trained human resources will also have a serious impact. We need people who can scientifically understand and improve and adapt these practices to various agroecological situations. Today CSA works in six states supporting implementation of such programs and also started working on various research studies and documentation to understand the impact and improve the performance.

Sahaja Aharam

Farmer Producer Organisations provides lots of opportunities for change, if only we can have good leadership both in management and governance, and policy changes to improve access to finances and markets. CSA is now working with more than 300 FPOs across the country.

The Organic Farmer Producer Organisations which were initiated from 2008 onwards are federated into Sahaja Aharam Producer Company. As on today, 23 producer organisations are members it. Sahaja Aharam Producer Company provides various support services to its members and retails directly to consumers.

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