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March 2021 – Biological inputs for agroecology

Environmental concerns and awareness on soil and human health has led to renewed interest in ecological farming. Besides, use of biological or organic inputs leads to sustainable production, safe produce and reduced production costs. Biological inputs include a wide range of products aimed at supporting soil fertility, biological activity, plant protection and plant growth. They include microbial inocula (such as rhizobia), composts, manures, biochars and several preparations like jeevamrutha, panchagavya, neem decoctions etc. While some are the results of scientific research, some are born out of traditional knowledge of farming communities.Also, constantly, there are efforts to recognise and revalidate their efficacy, popularising some of their adoption by select State Government programmes.

Biological resources such as biofertilizers and other microbiological inputs have attracted lot of attention and are being promoted on large scale. On one hand there are private actors in the production and distribution of biologicals and on the other, there are farmers and farmer organisations taking up collective production of biologicals at the community level. Also, in the recent years efforts have been made to promote appropriate production methodologies among farmers for effective conversion of organic waste into nutrient rich compost and for preparing botanical extracts for pest management, by providing assistance under various State and Central Government schemes.

Have these efforts and initiatives helped to provide easy access to biologicals or are farmers finding it difficult to shift to agroecological ways of production owing to lack of access? Are farmers trained enough to produce and use these resources on their own? Are there any vocational training opportunities in biological farming? What are the sources of knowledge and information on biological inputs for farmers?  What is the role of women in production and use of biological inputs? What is the support provided by the government for producers of biological inputs? Did such support lead to mass adoption of organic inputs? In this issue we would like to include experiences that address these issues, both at the local as well as at the national level.

Articles for the March 2021 issue of LEISA India should be sent to the editors before 1st February 2021 at leisaindia@yahoo.co.in