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What is AHIMSA (Non-Violent) farming?

With ever increasing human population on Earth, there is always an increase in demand for food. Despite scientific advancement in every aspect of life, food production lies with only agriculture. There have been innumerable attempts to increase food production by various means. Some of them relied on modern science to shorten the life of plant, while others made it to produce more quantity. Forests have been cleared to make more agricultural land. While introduction of synthetic fertilisers have helped overcome food shortage, they are not successful in ensuring quality of food as well as incidence of pests and diseases in plants. They are also responsible for increase in cost of production.

Several of the health related problems in human is also attributed to the quality of food consumed. Naturally produced cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables appear to be more nutritious and healthy. Therefore, farmers around the world are evaluating alternative systems that may be more sustainable than the currently followed practices that primarily depend on synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, weedicides and other inputs. The current system also relies heavily on machinery and tools.

The alternative systems currently followed rely on farm inputs prepared by farmers themselves from animal and farm waste, biological synthetic inputs manufactured using modern biotechnology and certain permitted minerals and chemicals. Globally, there is an increase in the number of farmers adopting these systems every year.

Few systems advocate using minimum inputs and tools and following natural practices. There also systems such as ‘do nothing farming’ that rely on human intervention only for sowing and harvesting.

One of the reasons for farmers to resort to organic agriculture as it is called today is that there is a good market for it and the produce fetches a good price. However, the farmer faces problems in cultivating since these systems do not have solution for all the pests and diseases and are not able to ensure reasonable productivity. Organic agriculture may not be possible in most of the agricultural lands in tropical countries due to very low organic matter in the soil and since the soil has already been degraded due to high dosages of synthetic fertilisers applied over the years.

Therefore farmers around the world are resorting to a mix of alternative practices that ensure reasonable productivity, optimum cost of production and better quality of food. This system appears to ensure sustainable agriculture.

This mix of practices, which are very practical from farmers viewpoint have been quite successful in certain cases. Such a system is not well defined.

This initiative of ‘Non violet farming’ concept evolves out of ancient Hindu dharma which advocates respect to ‘panchabhuthas’. This dharma also advocates love for all organisms and respects cow as most sacred animal. These principles are very much apt today and form the basis for sustainable agriculture. It has been well established now, that most of the nutrients and other inputs can be obtained from the cow dung and urine. Apart from being a concept, this is being practiced by thousands of farmers across India.

There are several certifications available for farming practices that are mainly driven by the market forces.

This Non-violent or AHIMSA farming system is conceptualized by MRITSNA. The MRITSNA Farm School follows and advocates this system. The school is also trying to standardize the method into a certifiable standard across the world. The production principles of this system are given below:

Production Principles

  • Integration of animals and birds and taking care of them is essential in any farming activity; numbers and species would be appropriate to the nature and size of the farming operation.
  • Respect to nature, in the form of recognising the role of ‘panchabuthas’ in sustaining life forms should be reflected in the activities of the farm. Gratitude to The
  • Earth, Sun, Wind, Ether and Water should be manifested in the farm plan.
  • Disturbance to beneficial organisms must be prevented. ‘Ahimsa’ procedures must be followed while repelling pests and insects. Killing of microorganisms in soil and sterilisation of soil is not permitted.
  • This certification is technology neutral. Any modern farm input or tool may be used subject to, it not affecting the nature and life forms a significantly.
  • Operations should lead to an increase in biodiversity. Efforts should be taken to accommodate as many species as possible in the farm environment.
  • Oral and physical contacts with life forms of the farm must be promoted. Efforts will be taken to make the plants, birds and animals enjoy their presence in the farm.
  • Products of farm should be safer for consumers. Produce will be free from any traces of pesticides and other inputs that are not safer for consumption. All the practices as recommended by the input manufacturer will be adhered to while applying and after application.
  • Farms will not use chemicals and other inputs which are banned by the local government and by reputed international organisations.
  • Non-violent farming certification does not permit use of genetically modified seeds and other products.
  • Non-violent farms will never use forced and child labour.

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