ACF kick-started organic farming promotion in 2010 in Bhagwanpur block in Uttarakhand. Today, the district is home to the Bhu Amrit Farmer Producer Organisation, a collective of organic farmers who work across the entire value chain of organic production, certification, and marketing. With 667 farmer shareholders, the group produces a variety of products and has commenced marketing them in key markets such as Delhi, Gujarat & Punjab, and has even moved their products online, via Flipkart and Amazon.
Indian farmers face significant challenges in agriculture - fragmentation of land ownership, increased cost of cultivation, deteriorating soil health, and uncertain market spaces. In addition to this, climate change is a major threat. It seems there is no end to the hurdles that the humble Indian farmer must jump over.
To counter these odds, organic farming is emerging as a reliable solution – so much so, that in 2019, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to introduce an Organic Agriculture Act. Whilst the state of Sikkim had already achieved the rank of the country's first organic state, Uttarakhand has been hot on its heels in pursuit of a similar status with the Organic Agriculture Act being an official step toward turning the state fully organic.
ACF has been two steps ahead of this movement, having kick-started organic farming promotion in 2010 in Bhagwanpur block in Uttarakhand - reaching out to 50 farmers from 6 villages with 20 hectares of land. With over 10 years of experience in promoting organic farming, ACF has seen, firsthand, the tangible benefits that organic farming can bring to farmers and their families. The aims of the program were to promote the availability of safe and healthy foods to farmers, reduce the negative impact on the environment and reduce farmer cultivation costs to enhance the profitability of farming.
And the program has taken off! Today, the district is home to the Bhu Amrit Farmer Producer Organisation (formed in 2018), a collective of organic farmers who work across the entire value chain of organic production, certification, and marketing. With 667 farmer shareholders, the group produces a variety of products and has commenced marketing them in key markets such as Delhi, Gujarat & Punjab, and has even moved their products online, via Flipkart and Amazon. This highlights the success of the program and its growth over the years as a direct result.
With the learnings and success from its organic farming project in Bhagwanpur block, ACF is now scaling the project in other blocks of Haridwar district, with the support of HDFC Bank Ltd.’s social initiative ‘Parivartan’ – aiming to reach 10,000 farmers within three years.
In order to promote organic farming and get the buy-in of farmers, ACF takes a systematic approach to the entire value chain of organic farming – beginning with land preparation, sowing, providing alternatives for chemical input, organic certification, post-harvest value addition, processing, branding, and marketing.
And farmer education, capacity building, and handholding are crucial parts of the process -instrumental in building confidence among farmers, who once struggled to make agriculture profitable and sustainable.
ACF imparts the following practices to promote organic and natural sustainable farming:
Training farmers on pre-sowing, post-sowing, and management of pest attacks.
Operating demonstration plots to display organic and natural farming practices to farmers.
Soil Improvement via preparation of decomposer, mulching, green maturing, and support to farmers in Agri inputs.
Pest Management via support to farmers in Agri inputs, sticky traps, and preparation of Jeeva Amrit.
Organizing exposure visits for farmers for better adoption of Organic practices.
Providing access to Certification and Training on Organic practices.
From 50 farmers in 2010 to 7662 farmers today, the program is now covering 6970 Ha of cultivable land across 36 villages of Roorkee.