Lack of sustainable livelihoods due to inefficient use agricultural methods and depletion of natural resources.
India is an agrarian economy – 58% of rural households depend on agriculture as the principal means of livelihood. As the nation’s population grows and the demand on food production increases, the number of people getting involved in the agricultural sector also increases.
However, the amount of arable land in India is limited. As the number of farmers increase on a limited area of land, the average landholding of a farmer decreases. Currently, the average holding size of a farm is merely 2.84 acres with 44.6 percent small and marginal holdings.
The decreasing size of farms means that a farmer will have to practice intensive agriculture to get maximum yield out of his limited land. However, to practice intensive agriculture, one needs to ensure consistent provision of good quality of soil and water, which is not the case.
Water supply to farmers is largely unreliable and unpredictable as . 64% of farmers still depend on unpredictable rains for feeding their crops and do not have a reliable irrigation system. The decrease in groundwater levels and drying up of surface water sources along with unpredictable change in rainfall patterns makes it increasingly difficult for farmers to attain a consistent supply of water for their crops. Inefficient irrigation methods like flood irrigation and incorrect growing of water-intensive crops worsens the water-scarcity crisis for farmers.
In addition, incorrect cropping methods and exploitation of arable land due to chemical fertilizers and pesticides cause a degradation in soil quality, which in turn leads to low yield of crops.
The decreasing size of farms with the increasing depletion of natural resources makes it nearly impossible for a farmer to produce enough yield and practice agriculture profitably to support the the growing population and himself.
To successfully feed the growing population and support themselves, farmers need two things :
To build capabilities of farmers in both these aspects, the Art of Living Projects team has initiated the Prakriti Vidya Peeths (PVPs) or ‘Farmer Field Schools’.
PVPs would empower farmers and equip aspirating rural youth with the necessary knowledge, skills and training to be profitably and sustainably successful in the agricultural sector. The training courses would help the small farmers/producers to have better access to technology, finances and market, thus ensuring a significantly higher income.
PVPs would be community based sustainable colleges where farmers, youth and women would be trained in sustainable agricultural practices.
We believe that the real transformation and sustainable development of India will happen only when the people of rural areas:
Ultimately our aim is to redeem the pride in farming for rural youth on Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Animal Husbandry by making these rural enterprises viable, economically more productive and the Farmer a “Proud Ecopreneur” while ensuring that these methods are ecologically sustainable.
PVP takes an innovative and alternative approach to work with the farmers and rural youth in their traditional occupation of farming and water conservation. The approach involves a twofold process of training and mentorship.
Prakriti Vidya Peeth, are village-based learning institutions that :
The PVP mentorship program ensures that the training modules learnt by farmers are successfully implemented and integrated by them in their everyday lives. The mentorship program ensures that the farmers are supported and guided in their journeys even after they graduate from their trainings.
It consists of a holistic model where :
The mentorship program, with the training modules, ensures that every farmer reaches the goal to be a successful and self-reliant eco entrepreneur who will invigorate rural livelihood not only for himself but for his entire community.
PVP will bring the following benefits :
The Hans Foundation