Showcasing a Profitable & Regenerative Smallholder Agriculture
Krishi Janani’s mission is “regenerative agroecology.” We often get asked what “regenerative” means. For a quick answer to that, here is Wikipedia:
Regenerative agriculture is an approach to food and farming systems that rejects pesticides, artificial fertilizers and claims to regenerate topsoil and increases biodiversity now and long into the future. Regenerative Agriculture improves water cycles, enhances ecosystem services, increases resilience to climate fluctuation and strengthens the health and vitality of farming and ranching communities.
Is Regenerative Agriculture for Small Farmers?
Regenerative agriculture is the life-preserving need of the hour, especially since so many climate and ecology related catastrophes are bearing down upon us. It holds many answers to the massive environmental issues that farmers are facing in India such as soil fertility, water scarcity, falling yields, and rural migration.
Regenerative ag terms such as permaculture, agroforestry, and restoration ecology may sound ‘foreign’ in our part of the world. However, these concepts are not new. Many of these techniques were commonly practiced in traditional pastoral and agrarian communities around the world. Time permitting, we will write more extensively about it in the future.
Krishi Janani is a member network aggregating farmers’ purchasing power with collective buying and selling. 60% of our members are small farmers, owning less than 5 acres (2 hectares) of land. While regenerative agriculture can be an end unto itself, none of the environmental or ecological benefits will convince a small farmer if we cannot also make a strong economic case for it. This is the reason behind the launch of Krishi Janani’s Demo Farms — to prove the profitability and viability of smallholder regenerative agriculture.
Demo Farm Details
We are setting up a total of six farms in Erode and Tiruppur districts (our current areas of operation), Tamil Nadu, India. Maya Ganesh, a Sustainability Consultant and Permaculture Practitioner, will be leading the project. These six farms combine to a total area of 3 acres, somewhat mirroring small farmer landholding patterns in India. The farms cover three different agro-climatic conditions prevalent in our region, especially in terms of water and irrigation: 1. Dry, rainfall & water scarce; 2. Somewhat irrigated, rainfall scarce but water available; and 3. Well irrigated, sufficient rainfall & water.
This is the reason behind the launch of Krishi Janani’s Demo Farms — to prove the profitability and viability of smallholder regenerative agriculture.
The scope and goals of Krishi Janani’s demo farms:
- Showcase a profitable and regenerative future for smallholder agriculture.
- Document everything — expenses on input, earnings from output, data around soil or other measurable impacts — and share it publicly.
- Build curriculum and training that can be localized and contextualized for small farmers in different agro-climatic regions.
Join us on this journey over the next year. And, do contact us if you are interested in a farm visit.
ps: in case you are curious, the picture below is our agroforestry experiment as it stands the last week of march 2018. it looked like this in nov 2017, a mere four months ago! :-D