"What are the challenges farmers face in Meghalaya" is the question upper most in the minds of the Zizira team members who go on field visits. Why is this an important question? Identifying the challenges farmers face in Meghalaya and understanding their concerns is one step closer to knowing how to release the potential of farmers.
Zizira is working to do just that. Field visits to meet farmers is an important team activity and there is always much excitement in the office around them. The choice of village or farm to visit depends on the season. Every visit is rewarding and always lots to learn by watching the farmers and listening to their experiences.
Understanding the cropping patterns, getting to know the farmers closely, getting an idea of what motivates them, what excites them and what challenges them. At times they have had the chance to see and participate in real time sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting and so much more. In this post we share with you a few concerns of the farmers, as expressed to team Zizira.
I wonder about the future of my field as our children are not interested in being a farmer. Because the terrain is undulating, we have to walk long distances, at times through steep slopes, to bring manure to our fields. It is hard work. The input costs, like the price of seeds, manure etc., are going up. On top of this, the cost of transporting manure and other things add to the input costs and makes it more expensive. I am skeptical about organic farming! With Govt. encouraging organic farming a few years ago, many of us have used chemicals to boost yield or as pest control. It makes us now wonder whether organic farming will be beneficial to us! We are not good at keeping track of our income and expenses! We only have a rough idea of what we are earning and this worries us! As said by farmers the team met. Translated from Khasi.
During the debrief session, after the field visit where a few farmers were wondering about organic farming (see quote above) – the zizra team was truly concerned. Organic farming, after all, was the norm with farmers in NE India for generations.
Since time immemorial, farming in Meghalaya is Organic by tradition and has been practiced by our farmers and the farming community for ages.
But after getting used to chemical fertilizers and insecticides, getting back to being organic seems a challenge? What are your thoughts? Are you concerned about the adverse effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and prefer organic produce? Do you have stories to share about farmers successfully pursuing organic farming? We would love to hear from you. Do contact us.