Maharashtra: a large, populous state in the west of India. It’s where Bombay is. Which means Maharashtra is the home of Bollywood, the heart of India’s film industry.
It’s also the home of millions of cotton farmers. But our UK-based filmmaker friend Leah Borromeo calls it “India’s cotton suicide state.” (If you wish to know more about the suicides, please read our previous posts on the subject.)
But all is not bleak in the western state. Take Jalgaon. Nicknamed “the banana capital of India” or simply “banana city,” it’s not surprisingly a key banana production area. At the same time, it produces a significant amount of cotton. Some farmers in Jalgaon have switched from conventional cotton farming to organic cotton farming; several have been at it since 2000. Why?
The short answer: survival.
We spoke with those who’ve made the switch and heard the same comment, farmer after farmer: “The costs of conventional farming kept on increasing; but soil health and yield kept on dropping. It was very difficult to make ends meet.”
And for some reason, the remarks of 50 year-old Ramesh Patil stuck in our minds: “In the old days, I was always incurring losses. I was living hand to mouth.” We wondered, what would’ve happened if things hadn’t changed?
But things did change: Ramesh decided to go organic in 2005, with the help of the Morarka Foundation. He admitted that he was initially doubtful about his decision: would organic farming deliver the desired results? His doubts were soon dispelled. He told us: “I’ve witnessed with my own eyes the benefits of the organic inputs. Not only this, the Morarka Foundation has helped me get the best market price for my organic cotton and other organic produce. Year after year, the productivity of my land is increasing and now I am living a much better life.”
|Ramesh and family in their cotton field|
|Ramesh and family and their other organic produce|
Ramesh’s success story isn’t an isolated one. There’re also the stories of Kailash, Sunil, Atul and many others. They’re all living better lives because of organic farming. And because of the Morarka Foundation.
Nukleus is proud to be associated with the Foundation. We hope our collaboration will improve the lives of many more Indian farmers.
|Ramesh and family and their farm animals|