Bhoomi Ka: more agroecological food in India
What if the fruit you buy in the market, in addition to being delicious and healthy, helped fight global warming and took care of the species that inhabit our planet? Without synthetic additives, pesticides, or chemicals, but full of flavour, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The future is healthy and sustainable, and to make it a reality for everyone, our food systems must preserve the liveability of our planet. This is when agroecological initiatives enter the scene.
According to the United Nations, India is the leader in this area. In 2020, the Minister of Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar, pointed out that in the next five years the country intends to convert 200,000 hectares of land into organic cultivation. The idea is to produce food free of fertilizers, agrochemicals and pesticides, while guaranteeing food security and the nutritional needs of the population. Initiatives like the Bhoomi Ka network work towards this vision.
Local, healthy and nutritious
Bhoomi Ka’s mission is ambitious: transform food systems in India. The network provides support to farms of small local producers to assist them in the cultivation of chemical-free food, favouring biodiversity and reducing the environmental impact of the crop.
“We never use chemical fertilizers. Instead, we use biofertilizers, which provide essential nutrients and energy to plants. Chemical fertilizers destroy our soil. It is true that in the first years we obtain more vegetables, but it does not ensure the continuity of production”, comments one of the farmers who is part of the network.
Bhoomi Ka’s mission is supported by various international organisations that recognise the need
for clean, green, and fair food practices in the Indian subcontinent. On the one hand, the German NGO Welthungerhilfe, committed to humanitarian aid and eradicating hunger by 2030. Secondly, the Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), which seeks to promote sustainable livelihoods by empowering vulnerable communities, with special attention to women and children. Finally, the Voluntary Association of Agricultural General Development Health and Reconstruction Alliance (VAAGDHARA), an Indian NGO working to improve the livelihoods of people involved in agriculture by optimising traditional practices.
A meeting point between the urban and rural world
Agroecological fruits and vegetables tend to be more expensive and not everyone knows the value behind each one of them. So how does a small producer get a fair price for his work? To address these issues, Bhoomi Ka is also working with small farmers to create a transparent and fair market access mechanism, bringing together stakeholders in the food value chain, such as farmers, retail traders, street vendors and consumers.
For Pallavi, a small farmer from India, her experience with the organisation has been very positive: “Thanks to the support of this fantastic movement, we have been able to reach a large audience to raise awareness about millet and bring this forgotten food to the tables of many people in the city”.
Among its activities, the organisation offers informational resources, fairs, webinars, exhibitions, workshops and awareness sessions for schools and the general public, on topics such as clean, green and fair eating habits, sustainable living, urban gardening and kitchen and cooking.