The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on Wednesday launched a program based on JIVA agroecology that will promote natural agriculture within its existing watershed and wadis programs in 11 states.
“JIVA is the culmination of several projects under the Watershed Program…and will be implemented on our existing completed (or nearly completed) watersheds and wadis in 11 states spanning five agro-ecological zones, which lie in ecologically fragile and rain-fed areas. ” NABARD President GR Chintala said during the virtual launch event.
He said JIVA aims to ensure the use of the long-term sustainability principles of agroecology and transform pre-existing social and natural capital, and push the farming community towards natural farming as commercial farming cannot not operate in these regions.
”We will invest Rs 50,000 per hectare under this program. The JIVA program will be implemented on a pilot basis in 25 projects in 11 states covering five agro-ecological zones.
“While best practices will be implemented on 200 hectares in each project, these 200 hectares will be a platform for learning and proselytizing for the whole village,” he added.
For JIVA, NABARD will collaborate with national and multilateral agencies as it is a knowledge and skills intensive program.
NABARD will initially collaborate with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia, for simple soil water monitoring technology and ICAR for research support for scientific validation of natural farming practices, a said Chintala.
“After the pilot, we intend to expand the program to other states through our NRM (natural resource management) projects. Under the JIVA program, we expect results in climate change resilience, sustainability and food and nutrition security,” he added.
NITI Aayog Vice President, Rajiv Kumar, who was present on the occasion, said that climate change is real and it is not enough to think about it anymore.
”We have to start taking action. We need to take action to put carbon back into the ground. I don’t know of any other technology so far that can do this except for natural farming.
“As 86% of our land holdings are owned by small and marginal farmers, we need to find a replacement for the biochemical revolution to make our agriculture nutritious and globally competitive,” he added.
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