Mansingh Ninama exemplifies the potential impact of organic farming in Banswara, Rajasthan. He is one of 40 farmer families in his village who has adopted sustainable integrated farming system (SIFS) methods introduced by Bhoomi Ka’s partner Vaagdhara.
Experiments gone wrong can sometimes lead to fruitful endeavors. Such was the case when Mansingh Ninama from Sundrav village in Anandpuri block of Banswara (Rajasthan) participated in an organic farming initiative five years ago. He has begun the process of producing organic crops on his farm as a result of the project. “Through the organic initiative, I have learned to acknowledge the benefits of organic farming practices”, says Mansingh.
When Vaagdhara introduced the BMZ and Welthungerhilfe supported self-reliant Sustainable Integrated Farming System (SIFS) methods in his village, Ninama was quite eager to learn about it. With a focus on providing training in organic farming, soil and water management, and long-term strategic farm planning, the programme aimed to improve livelihood opportunities for farmers through better household, farming and nutrition practices.
Ninama says: “My father practiced organic farming a few decades ago, but he felt the urge to shift to conventional farming to increase production and thus started using chemical fertilizers and pesticides”. According to Ninama, the primary benefit of organic farming is the improvement in the quality of soil and crop yield on his farm. “The soil on my property was dry, rocky, and difficult to grow crops on”. Organic farming is less water intensive, hence less demanding on the soil.
Organic farming benefits & future
There is a litany of benefits from practicing organic farming. The most crucial benefits are improvements in health, decreased prevalence of illnesses, financial benefits from fewer expenses on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and foods from the market, increased food diversity, and year-round fodder for livestock.
Since Ninama first began organic farming five years ago he has expanded his sustainable farming practices to include a variety of fruits (guava, mango, papaya, and lemon) and vegetables (onions, garlic, peas, spinach, lentils and more). This has led to greater food diversity in his home, and he stopped buying daily foods such as lentils and wheat from the market. Ninama proudly notes how this has saved costs and reliance on the chemical-based foods in the market.
Additionally, as he has expanded his organic farming practices he has been able to supply green fodder for his livestock year round. This leads to better milk production, which is important in this area because there is a lack of productive animals and dairy.
Ninama seeks to instill the passion he carries for organic farming in his surrounding community. As an identified resource person for Bhoomi Ka for Anandpuri block, Ninama is now excited to work with farmers of his own community to ensure more small holder farmers realize the value of organic farming drawing the support of Bhoomi Ka and its package of practices.
He believes self-sustainability and a decreased reliance on market products are an immediate route to improving the lives of farmers in Anandpuri. However, he believes all changes must first start at home, and thus he hopes to continue learning about other sustainable farming methods while expanding the outreach to his fellow farmers. Ninama is a