Tribal farmers pledge not to use chemical pesticides

Times of India (Jaipur Edition) | November 1, 2017

Local produce of the tribals on display in Banswara

Conclave focuses on Local Produce and Forest

Hundreds of farmers from the tribal belts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh pledged against the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers along with preserving the traditional farming techniques at a tribal conclave at Banswara Tripura Sundari temple on Tuesday .

The tribal conclave 'JanjaatiKisaan Swaraj Sammelan', in which tribals from all the three states participated in, marked the culmination of a 16-day march across 101tribal villages earlier in October.The yatra mainly focused on issues related to local produce, seeds and forest. During the yatra, activists collected samples of the local produce and rain-fed crops, which included several ancient millets like ragi, maize; fruits and vegetables. These were displayed at the venue of the conclave on Tuesday .

“There is a need to spread awareness on how not to drift away from them and to ensure that the farmers cultivate them in a way that it is self-sufficient for them,“ said Jayesh Joshi, secretary of Vaaghdhara group, one of the main organisers of the yatra. He claimed that the tribals had impressive variety of uncultivated nutritious food, which was basic rain-fed agriculture. It was to promote and restore the natural rainfed agriculture that the activists concentrated on during the yatra.

“The tribals are the most knowledgeable resource keepers and resource-users. However, with increasing government-schemes like distribution of seeds and fertilizers, even tribals seem to be trying to go commercial. They don't need to, the best for them is to use their seeds of their own produce and organic fertilizers which they always did,“ said P L Patel, also an activist associated with the project.

Going back to the traditional techniques and rain fed agriculture has helped a number of farmer. Like in case of Maan Singh from Sundra village in the district. ''The concept of honest farming and our seeds, our water has helped me tremendously . I not only cultivate crops and fruits as per my requirement but also help other farmers now by sharing seeds and saplings,“ he said.

The organisers have demanded that policy makers ensure that tribal customs, culture and techniques are not compromised with while drafting development plans.They also said that agricultural policies for the tribal belts should focus on rainfed agriculture rather than commercial crops.



Times of India (Jaipur Edition) | November 1, 2017