Avartansheel Kheti changing lives with periodic farming

The purely organic method of growing food involves dividing the land into zones for cereal crops, vegetables, fruiting trees and animal husbandry

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 02 April 2024

A rotational form of agriculture, known as Avartansheel Kheti (periodically proportionate farming), may be the sustainable way forward for farmers in Inida. 

Prem Singh, from Banda district of Uttar Pradesh, practices the agriculture form, which is a purely organic method of growing food. It involves dividing the land into zones for cereal crops, vegetables, fruiting trees and animal husbandry. Singh believes that nature adds value to everything; for instance, trees enhance soil nutrients by producing fruits. Similarly, farmers should also process everything before selling. 

Avartansheel Kheti insists that farmers should produce food for themselves first and what remains after consumption should be sold in the market. This way, farmers will never use harmful pesticides and fertilisers if they are growing for themselves. 

The agriculture form is based on the philosophy of A Nagraj, who advocated for harmonious coexistence. 

Singh adopted this farming method in 1992. In 1989, after finishing college, he wanted to pursue agriculture. However, conventional agriculture proved to be very expensive and his family began slipping into debt. That is when he started looking for alternative farming methods and his meeting with Nagraj was pivotal. 

He now processes all the produce from his farm, making pickle out of turmeric, candy and powder out of amla (gooseberry) and sattu or gram flour out of chickpeas. He also harvests about 15-20 tonnes of mangoes every year, which he sells in the open market. 

Singh believes that middlemen are the biggest problem for farmers and asserts that the only way to reach consumers directly is by processing the produce at the farm level. He currently practices on a seven-acre farm, which has also become a training center for farmers. 

He believes that most of the problems faced by farmers, especially indebtedness and suicides, can be mitigated using his technique. Singh also believes that issues like climate change can be addressed through this method of farming. He advocates for farmer empowerment and has set up a small museum dedicated to farmers on his farm. 

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