Natural Farming Awareness: Enriching The Existing Wisdom of Communities
To protect the fragile ecosystem of the Indian Himalayan Region, we are refining and strengthening the traditional wisdom of Uttarakhand’s farming families with natural farming awareness.
The Natural Farming Approach
Masanobu Fukuoka (1913–2008) of Japan introduced the natural farming system in his book The One-Straw Revolution published in 1975. It is an ecological farming approach that. It is a closed system that emulates nature. That is how it contributes to maintaining the natural ecosystem of any area.
Main Features of Natural Farming
Fukuoka emphasized that agriculture works best when we think of ourselves as part of nature, rather than a species dominating it. Then we can grow our crops following natural principles, rather than adding our own inputs.
Accordingly, the main principles of natural farming are:
- No Plowing: Seeds germinate naturally even when spread on untilled land if the ecological conditions are right.
- No Weeding: If a crop is suitable for a natural ecosystem, so are the weeds that grow there. Crop grows better if the weeds are allowed to stay.
- No Pruning: Any plant or crop must be allowed to grow naturally, without human intervention. Pruning artificially controls plant growth.
- No Fertilizers or Manures: Plants do not need either chemical fertilizers or organic manures if the ecosystem is right for the plant to grow.
This is where natural farming differs from organic farming. Fukuoka insists that natural biodiversity is all that plants need to grow in a healthy manner. They get all the sustenance they need from nature.
- No Pesticides or Herbicides: Weeds and pests are part of the natural ecosystem. They play a role in agriculture that we may not be able to understand. It is important for us not to intervene.
Why Natural Farming Is Appropriate For Hemp
Hemp is a natural vegetation of the Uttarakhand region. Promoting hemp cultivation matches with the natural farming model and contributes to conserving the fragile ecosystem of the IHR.
As a plant, hemp also embodies several of the natural farming principles. Hemp can grow on infertile land, for example. Hemp is exceptionally efficient in absorbing nutrients from the soil. They do not need any additional fertilizers or manures.
Hemp is naturally pest-resistant. Technically a weed, it grows fast to outgrow any other weeds. These two features eliminate the need for herbicides and pesticides.
These are the features that guide our initiative to raise awareness about natural farming.
Strengthening the Local Wisdom Of Organic Farming
The local farmers of Uttarakhand already have a rich tradition of organic farming. The state is also one of the few places where the use of fertilizers and other chemical agricultural items is a legal offense.
Ukhi is further refining and strengthening this existing wisdom by integrating natural farming principles. We build awareness about natural farming among the local farming families of Uttarakhand.
Through the systemization of the natural farming approach, local farmers are deepening their existing insights about traditional organic farming techniques. They are also adapting these techniques to the natural farming approach.
Through this initiative, we are contributing to the conservation of the delicate ecological balance of the IHR.