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Eco-Friendly Farming: The Urgent Need for Sustainable Agriculture in Odisha

Odisha Govt Should Encourage Farmers To Adopt Eco-Friendly Practices: Satya S Tripathi | Odisha

In a poignant address during the 43rd Foundation Day lecture of the Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD), development economist Satya S Tripathi emphasized the urgent need for Odisha to champion eco-friendly farming practices. With India aiming to reduce its emissions intensity by 45 percent by 2030 in alignment with its Nationally Determined Contribution, the agriculture sector’s dual ability to emit and sequester carbon becomes significantly relevant. Tripathi, the Secretary General of the Global Alliance for Sustainable Planet, spotlighted the critical role of natural and organic farming in carbon sequestration, advocating for substantial incentives for farmers engaged in these practices.

Tripathi drew inspiration from the Andhra Pradesh model, where farmers receive Rs 40,000 per hectare for promoting soil fertility and reducing emissions, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation efforts. Highlighting the wisdom of tribal communities in sustainable agriculture, he remarked on their intrinsic connection with the Earth and their minimal carbon footprints, underscoring their contribution to food security and sustainable livelihoods.

“This planet is home to a myriad of species, not just humans. We must coexist with all 80 lakh species that share this Earth with us,” Tripathi asserted, pointing out the broader ecological perspective that should guide human activities.

Delving into the on-ground initiatives in Odisha, CYSD’s co-founder Jagadananda introduced the Climate-Resilient Agriculture (CRA) initiative. This wide-reaching program has already made a significant impact, touching over 600,000 individuals across 1,133 villages. By embracing both traditional knowledge and modern innovations, CYSD aims to bolster sustainable livelihoods and food security for the vulnerable populations in Odisha, contributing to broader climate resilience.

The CRA initiative is particularly focused on empowering small and marginalized farmers in tribal regions. Out of the 1.06 lakh beneficiary farmers, 83 percent are women and 72 percent belong to indigenous communities. Champion farmers, totaling 1,600, have emerged as beacons of hope and inspiration for the farming community, with 15,638 farmers adopting natural farming across 6,326 hectares. Additionally, climate-resilient farming practices have been embraced by 58,000 households, covering 62,500 acres of land.

Key strategies of the CRA initiative include mixed and intercropping, sustainable agronomic practices, soil conservation, crop diversification and local seed production, green manure and bio inputs, renewable energy and irrigation systems, and ethno-veterinary practices. These combined efforts aim to not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also ensure a sustainable future for agriculture in Odisha.

In a moment of recognition, Chandra Sagaria, Kaberi Durua, and Raimati Durua from Kundura and Kerimity in the Koraput district were honored for their significant contributions to soil and forest conservation, highlighting the powerful impact of individual actions in broader environmental preservation and sustainability efforts.

Tripathi’s message underscores a critical juncture for Odisha and similar agrarian economies worldwide — the shift towards eco-friendly farming practices is no longer just beneficial, but necessary for sustainable development and climate resilience. As more farmers and communities adopt these practices, the pathway to a greener economy and a resilient planet becomes increasingly tangible.

Ethan Wilder

Ethan Wilder is a conservation photographer and videographer whose lens captures the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world and the critical challenges it faces. With a focus on wilderness preservation and animal rights, Ethan's work is a poignant reminder of what is at stake. His photo essays and narratives delve into the heart of environmental issues, combining stunning visuals with compelling storytelling. Ethan offers a unique perspective on the role of art in activism, inviting readers to witness the planet's wonders and advocating for their protection.

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