Roughly 85 percent of the farm households in India are small or marginal farmers, that is, they have less than 2 hectares of land, with 70 percent having less than 1 hectare of land. The average landholding is only 0.5 hectares per household (NSO, 2021).
Agriculture in India directly or indirectly provides livelihoods to 60% of the population and so the problems of this sector are most relevant for the country’s overall development and have to be effectively addressed.
Access to electricity is a key metric in development. In rural areas, getting on to the grid is a major step forward, improving literacy rates, agricultural productivity and overall household income. However, providing access to power derived from traditional sources like coal, diesel and hydropower, are proving unsustainable in the short and long term.
Pandutalav, a small quiet village nestled in the dry teak forests in the tribal pocket in Dewas boasts an authentic rural way of life. This little dot on the map is known for its attempts to introduce indigenous varieties of crops, in particular pearl millet these days.
Decentralised and communitarian efforts in soil and water conservation, sustainable agriculture, afforestation and renewable energy need extensive investment, if the human race is to survive the deepening water, food, energy and climate crises.
Vikram Patel, a 71-year-old farmer in Chidavad village of Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh is one of the first farmers to have embraced the idea of farm ponds to increase the groundwater level in his farm.
The Kshipra is considered a sacred river in Madhya Pradesh's Malwa region. In the last few decades, this perennial river has also lost its glory like many other rivers in India.
Krishi Teerth is an ashram run by Malpani trust, where Amrut Krushi is being practised for the last five years. Currently there is one family permanently residing at the ashram living an agriculture-centred lifestyle. The ashram has seven acres of land where different experiments are being conducted for optimising farm production with zero external inputs. These experiments are specifically beneficial for marginal farmers and small land holders.