In September 2020, India passed its Farm Laws without any multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary consultations or parliamentary debates. There were sweeping protests across India against these laws, which favor private investment, unregulated markets, and contract farming, among other changes.
Experts feel this will promote commercially viable but intensive agriculture which will not favor the small farmer or the environment. India is home to over 18,000 species of plants including 160 crop species (with several thousands of varieties), 1,500 wild edible plant species and nearly 9,500 plant species of ethnobotanical and medicinal purposes.
In this podcast episode, Mahima Jain reports from Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu on alternative models of farming that farmer organizations are promoting. The episode traces how India’s agrobiodiversity was destroyed and continues to be under threat. It looks at alternatives and examines what ecologically sustainable farming looks like.
Mahima Jain produced this episode with a grant from EJN’s Biodiversity Media Initiative. It was first published by Suno India on their Climate Emergency podcast on 17 August 2021. The Biodiversity Media Initiative is supported by Arcadia — a charitable fund of Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing.
Banner image: Women farmers in a paddy field in Tamil Nadu / Credit: Deepak Kumar on Unsplash.