From the Suicide Economy to Living Economies
Chemical agriculture and Genetic engineering are threatening public health and leading to nutrition decline. Costs of production, which includes hybrid and genetically engineered seeds, chemicals and irrigation etc., are increasing with every season pushing farmers into the debt trap and also to suicides. Thousands of farmers have given their life in India in last two decades because of the debt. As an insurance against such vulnerability Navdanya has pioneered the conservation of biodiversity in India and built a movement for the protection of small farmers through promotion of ecological farming and fair trade to ensure the healthy, diverse and safe food. The movement is now spread throughout India through our partner organizations and farmers networks.
Navdanya’s pioneering research on the hazards of chemical farming, the costs of industrial agriculture and the risks of genetic engineering have led to a paradigm shift. Our research has proved that contrary to the dominant assumptions; ecological agriculture is highly productive and is the only lasting solution to hunger and poverty.
Navdanya have so far trained above 400,000 men and women farmers, students, govt. officials, representatives of national as well as international NGO’s Voluntary Organizations on biodiversity conservation and organic farming. We have also trained several large groups like Yuvacharya of Art of Living, NGO led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar .The group is presently working in about 5000 villages of India. Navdanya trained secretaries and Extension Officers of the Tibetan govt in exile and now their settlements across the country are in conversion to organic. Biodiversity based farming has changed the economic status of the member farmer across the country.
Organic agriculture is not just a source of safer, healthier, tastier food. It is an answer to rural poverty. Organic agriculture is not just a method of farming. It is saving the Earth and farmers' lives.
High cost corporate agriculture is having adverse impact on the livelihood of farmers. The increasing cost of production and the falling prices combined with the decline in farm credit is putting great burden on farmers, which is pushing them to desperation. Since 1997, more than 250,000 farmers from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab have taken their lives. Since then, RFSTE has been monitoring the impact of trade liberalization policies on Indian farmers and Indian agriculture since the new economic policy (1991) and WTO rules of the agreement on agriculture (1995) came into force.
In celebration of non-violent organic agriculture, every year Navdanya organizes Albert Howard memorial lecture on 2nd October, initiated in the year 2000 to pay tribute to the two messiahs of sustainability and non-violence; Mahatma Gandhi and sir Albert Howard. Past speakers have included Frances Moore Lappé, Masanobu Fukuoka, Marion Nestle and H.H. Prince Charles.