Climate change and agroecological approaches

Climate change and agroecological approaches

Vol.19-2, June 2017

There is increasing evidence that agroecological approaches help in coping with climate change. While we cannot stop the changes that are happening in our environment, we can adapt to the changing situations so that farm livelihoods, food production, our ecosystems and the nations health sustain for longer periods. Innovative farmers have shown various ways and means to tide over the crisis of unpredictable weather conditions. This issue puts together some of the ground experiences. Hope these experiences inspire many more to practise climate resilient agriculture.    

Posted on:Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
Food Sovereignty

Food Sovereignty

Vol.19-1, March 2017

Food sovereignty is not just pride and rights issue, it is about respecting culture, cuisine, choice and climate… in fact, a very pragmatic approach. It is rooted in respecting diversity and in diversity lies sustainability. Discovering the wisdom underneath the prevalent choices  is important to understand the rationale and preferences for crop choices. While it may pose challenges of macro management and planning, yet it should be seen without prejudice in terms of resilience it offers, the dignity it provides, the economic value it offers as well as the invaluable contribution it makes through ‘intangible’ eco systems services.

Posted on:Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
Stakeholders in agroecology

Stakeholders in agroecology

Vol.18-4, Dec 2016

Diverse stakeholders’ working together has been always a challenge – especially when the mandates are inherently different. Self imposed boundaries and hierarchies stifle collective action. However, all these challenges dissolve when the purpose becomes bigger than the position. Agroecological knowledge is context, ability and opportunity specific. Marriage of knowledge systems – informal and formal, recognition for grass root innovation and creating an atmosphere for it to happen, is the basis for the agroecological movement. Enabling environment and appropriate support is needed which requires different sensitivity, respect and working arrangements. Diverse stakeholders do play a positive role, when they are determined to. In this issue, we share some experiences which throw light on the immense potential of working together for a common purpose.

Posted on:Thursday, December 29th, 2016
Agroecology - Measurable and sustainable

Agroecology – Measurable and sustainable

Vol.18-3, Sept 2016

There is an increasing recognition that sustainable resource management and sustainable livelihoods are inseparable. If neglected, everyone’s future is  threatened. While exotic, expensive alternatives for every problem faced by the world, keeps emerging, also, there is increasing attention to what seems to be working in pockets. Not necessarily operating on desired scale, in some contexts, these bright spots are living examples of how the farming  knowledge of the communities based on agroecological  principles needs to be understood. While farmer’s distress stories are shocking everyone’s conscience, first time  celebrations like  International Year of Family Farming, emerging health consciousness among consumers, is putting farmers production practices in the focus for right reasons. Also, the mainstream international agencies are voicing that agroecological approaches are the way forward.  

Posted on:Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Valuing underutilised crops

Valuing underutilised crops

Vol.18-2, June 2016

It is heartening to know that there is increasing recognition worldwide for family farming and nutritional crops like pulses and millets (UN declarations such as International Year of Family Farming -2014; International Year of Pulses -2016). However, it is deeply disturbing with country facing unprecedented heat waves, droughts and farmer’s miseries.   Diversity is the key for coping with climate change, for sustaining livelihoods and planet ecology. There is lot more to be understood about cultures, their options and resilience. This issue focusing on the theme of valuing underutilised crops brings out the role of local food crops, particularly in addressing the issues of food security and climate change.  Thanks to enthusiastic practitioners for sharing their experiences. LEISA India has been always focusing on sharing alternatives. We remain indebted to all those who have been sharing positive experiences and creating a hope for a better future.  

Posted on:Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
Co-creation of knowledge

Co-creation of knowledge

Vol.18-1, March 2016

There is increasing realisation worldwide that agroecological approaches is the solution for creating healthy and wealthy nations, providing adequate food, ecological stability and sustainable livelihoods. Also, there is deep realisation that this knowledge is not entirely new – it has been available as wisdom in farmer communities, is transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary in nature, is not a top down solution, and most importantly, constantly evolving through local adaptation and innovation by farming communities and those closely working with them. This issue examines some of the enabling processes and working strategies for co-creation of and scaling up such knowledge. International institutions like FAO are highlighting the importance of such processes through regional dialogues and making efforts to influence national policies for creating enabling conditions for this critical knowledge. Hopefully, this issue would inspire intensification of multistakeholder bottom up knowledge creation processes.

Posted on:Friday, April 1st, 2016
Women forging change

Women forging change

Vol.17-4, December 2015

  “If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent”, says FAO. Inspite of access to resources, women are still the major force for farming to continue. Women are the defacto custodians of local culture and biodiversity. They are the ones pioneering family farming which is primarily responsive to household needs – be it food, nutrition and income. Empowering women by building capacities and confidence, utilizing existing skills and providing support where necessary and integrating all the farm based activities through recycling, are some of the factors which can bring the poor women out of poverty. The experiences in this issue show that when women farmers are meaningfully included in agricultural development opportunities, not only do farms become more productive but overall family health improves too. It is repeatedly proven that what they rightfully need is an ‘opportunity’, enabling conditions, a little bit of encouragement and guidance, where necessary.

Posted on:Monday, January 4th, 2016
Water - Lifeline for livelihoods

Water – Lifeline for livelihoods

Vol.17-3, September 2015

We are rapidly moving towards water crisis, with increasing and conflicting demands – drinking, agriculture, health, sanitation, construction etc. In India, the issue is seriously compounded with growing populations, multiplying needs and unabated wastages and pollution. Water if used judiciously can meet the essential needs of the growing population. It is also important to conserve and recycle this scarce resource. Traditionally farming was based on the local agro-ecological situation, taking the rainfall pattern into consideration. While water intensive crops were grown only where there was copious rainfall, drylands focused on hardy crops. Farmers through generations knew that water was a common resource and had knowledge to conserve and nurture the resource. Its time we understand the seriousness of the issue and take note of such water management measures that preserve and protect our ecology. This issue of LEISA India includes a number of such initiatives promoted by individuals, communities and change agents.

Posted on:Friday, October 9th, 2015
Rural-urban linkages

Rural-urban linkages

Vol.17-2, June 2015

More and more people are moving towards urban areas for various reasons. This has also increased the demand for food while putting pressure on scarce resources. Urban life styles and food preferences also influence the type of food grown and the way it is grown to meet the growing urban food demand. Rural urban linkages play a crucial role in influencing the minds of consumers about the importance of safe food and the methods that need to be adopted in producing the same. The consumer demand for safe food becomes the prime driver in farming moving towards agro ecological way. Majority of the examples presented in the magazine indicate that small farmers are shifting towards agro-ecological approaches, as the consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of healthy foods, creating a demand for it. Also, the experiences indicate that rural-urban linkages have a vast potential in preserving cultures, ecologies and economies of sustained urban and rural growth.

Posted on:Saturday, June 20th, 2015
Soils for Life

Soils for Life

Vol.17-1, March 2015

More than 90% of the planet’s genetic biodiversity is found in soils. A gram of soil can contain as many as 10,000 different species. The various micro organisms in the soil are capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere, make other nutrients accessible to the plants and also improve the physical structure of the soil. However, with agriculture becoming commercialized, farmers have shifted to high chemical agriculture, depriving soils of organic matter on which the soil life thrives. Today, soil remains lifeless. But even today, amidst commercialization, we still find farmers who adopt alternative agriculture practices, preserving soil health. This issue of LEISA India includes a number of such initiatives. While we celebrate the International Year of Soils 2015, hope these experiences inspire many others to think and act differently.  

Posted on:Monday, April 6th, 2015