This Handbook on Agroecology: Farmers’ Manual on Sustainable Practices is third in the series of booklets on Agroecology for small and marginal farmers, brought out by the Focus on the Global South in partnership with the Rosa LuxembergStiftung (RLS), South Asia.
There are several agroecological practices are quite prevalent in India and several organisations are also working for promotion of one or the other forms of these low cost agricultural practices. Still many small farmers in India are unwilling to suddenly switch over to these sustainable agricultural practices due lack of incentives, low availability of resources, fear of loss of crop, increased initial costs, lack of proper government support etc. Therefore, some efforts are urgently required to educate and inform farmers about the urgent need to change to sustainable and safe food production methods.
This booklet is aimed to educate and inform farmers about diverse possibility of sustainable and safe food production methods and its techniques. This handbook is designed as a practical guide to these different practices of agroecology and their specific principles, techniques and strategies.We hope that these practical techniques would help to address the needs of especially small and marginal farmers who are contemplating to switch over to low-cost agriculture. We also hope that sustainable agricultural practices mentioned here can easily be adapted by small farmers without involving much input costs.However the set of practices mentioned here are not the only valid roadmap available for adopting low-cost organic agriculture. A skillful agroecology practitioner can come up with their own innovative techniques by applying different agroecological principles to suite particular crops, soil conditions and available natural resources.
The diverse agroecological practices described in this booklet are further explained with easy to-do steps for follow-up action. The handbook presents several options and approaches for different types of crops production, water management, soil protection, crop protection and organic pest management techniques and so on. The farmers can choose crops and vegetables that suit local climatic conditions and soil types.
This handbook is not a comprehensive book on agroecological practices but has widely used the resources that are already available and acknowledge their role in spreading knowledge about agroecological farming practices. Hope this booklet would help small farmers to understand agroecological practices better.
With this booklet, we hope that those small and marginal farmers whom we will be able to reach out to, could embrace agroecology by adopting any of these methods explained here and bring about an alternative to chemical, fertilizer and pesticide based agriculture they are engaged in at present.
This is a small attempt by us to strengthen the agroecology movement in India.