I'm working to strengthen the agricultural extension system in my state, Assam, through agripreneurship for th last ten years. My main line of work is sustaining farmers through organic farming with the use of natural resources and decreasing dependence on purchased inputs .
I have realised now that Small is Beautiful for our farmers. With so namy of nature's gifts , people here can live in harmony with nature as the soil gives good food and lots of them depend on forest foods . But policies are planning big things, and many technologies do not match the dreams and visions of small farmers. Repeatedly implementation of new schemes fail to have a replication in the farmer's field . So , being a free lance extension worker, I thought to do some small wonders for my farmers and started a programme called "Farm Preneur" in rural schools with small kids giving them soft organic farming skills, financial literacy, and exposure to the whole system of how food gets from the farm to the table.
The activity based learning programme was implemented in 150 schools of rural Assam . In a small school garten the kids learn patience, love, compassion, all the skills of life that a farmer needs. They prepare vermicompost by reusing boxes used to carry fishes and other items with a local strain of earthworm. I taught them the technique of making raised beds and they plant all local nutritious greens, The Farm Preneur Club of the school sells the vegetables to the school to be used and consumed by them and fellow pupils in the school mid day meal. The money they generate goes to an account opened for each member of the club, so they are provided practical financial literacy which relates to their coursed in social science. When they tend to the garden, they learn maths and science there too. They intall yellow sticky traps to control insects or manufacture herbal pest repellants.
The most beautiful thing happening now is that I am getting an effective method of extension through the kids of the farmers as these kids carry the technologies to the community and the farmers adopt it without asking for subsidies as they can afford these technologies. Taking nature as a capital, they can be self dependent and plan their profits in agriculture - which is so important in my place to stop youth leaving the villages. Introducing these techniques in school is helping me to attract those kids to farming using their own resources and wokring towards a sustainable livelihood. They are the future farm and food entrepreneurs.
by Samir Bordoloi, India