Can Sustainable Agriculture Prevent Suicide?

That's what YUVA, a Nagpur, India-based NGO claims. Times are tough for farmers in India's Vidarbha region, and despite a recent aid package offered by the government, the Times of India reports that suicide rates "...[continue] to rise alarmingly." In response to plans for more aid, YUVA offers an alternative: "an Integrated Natural Sustainable Agricultural Process":

About four lakh farmers in five Vidarbha districts Amravati, Akola, Buldana, Washim and Wardha are using eco-friendly methods. "In these villages, no farmer has committed suicide," says Palash Ghoshal of Yuva.

When the organisation started out in 2002, says Ghoshal, few farmers were willing to switch over to the suggested agricultural methods requiring a range of different methods of soil, nutrition, pest and water management as well as alternative marketing.

"We suggested that they should initially use it only for a section of their crops. But when they realised its benefits, especially a 50% reduction in input cost, they accepted the idea wholeheartedly," says Ghoshal, who is in the capital to attend India Social Forum.

We're certainly in no position to confirm or deny that the sustainable farming methods impact suicide rates, but when farmers in developing countries can grow their crops for a significantly lower prices, that's got to help alleviate some of the fear that arises in a tight market. ::The Times of India via linton at Hugg

Tags: Agriculture | Farming | India