Organic Spice Boom in Uttarakhand

Organic spice farming flourishes in the village of Gairsen, Uttarakhand. Luxmi Nautiyal, Community Correspondent from Gairsen  in Uttarkhand discovers that organic farming has been fruitful for her community. Local farmers are proud to provide their produce of spices like turmeric, coriander and ginger to the local co-operative. It shows: Pesticides and chemical productions are not needed for a sustainable and even profitable business! People in the hills mostly engage in subsistence agriculture. The contribution of the state to the total food production of the country has been negligible. The low agricultural yield reflects the small size and scattered land holdings, difficult terrain, unfavourable climatic conditions for some crops, lack of or inadequate availability of technology, and lack of credit and marketing facilities. The local communities have a very low-income rate and they struggle to meet basic human needs like access to education and health facilities. Because of this, many people migrate from the areas and the women and children stay back to maintain the farm. Recent years have brought new developments. The hilly regions which were previously disconnected from the plains due to a poor roads now have an new and well-connected road system. This new connectivity has helped the local small farmer diversify and implement enterprising crop and distribution techniques. The government realized that organic farming is most suitable for this region and would support regional development. The local government implemented an initiative called the Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board for the development of organic farming in the state. Their mission is to become the organic state of India and achieve sustainable rural development. The farmer's co-operative Gairsen Masala Udyog provides seeds, packaging and distribution of the goods. They ensure the farmers receive 70 per cent of the profit whereas the company keeps 30 per cent to meet their own costs. The co-operative also helps the farmers tide over price fluctuations in the market. Organic farmers of Uttarakhand are encouraged to invest the profits into the next production cycle. IndiaUnheard Correspondent Luxmi Nautiyal says,” Organic farming has had a positive impact on my community. I hope that the government takes this initiatives to all remote villages across Uttarakhand and help the farmers participate in a movement that can bring them wealth, prosperity and stability.” - Julia Lechner

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