The lazy farmer's guide to sustainable agriculture

>All of us understand the central importance of nutrition in our lives . We know we need to eat good quality food if we want to lead a healthy and happy life.

However, because of our multi-billion food processing industries , we end up stuffing ourselves with poisons which end up killing us faster. This is why there is such a great demand for organic foods, which are not contaminated with chemicals. However, the problem is that organic foods are seen to be exotic and expensive.

We need to look at alternative options which make organic farming a lot easier , cheaper and more convenient than traditional farming.

The problem with farming today is that it is based on a western model which involves a lot of mechanization. We want to copy the West , because this is where most of our agricultural technologists and farm scientists train. This blind copying and pasting has ended up causing us a lot of harm , because it's completely inappropriate for Indian conditions . We don't respect our farming traditions , and ignore the wisdom of our farmers.

Indian farms are tiny, and are owned by marginal farmers who struggle daily to make a living from the produce they can coax from their lands. Many of them fail, because of the harm they have caused to their soil by using the fertilisers, chemicals and pesticides which they have been taught to use.

Sadly, they don't know any better , and because these are quick fixes which increase yield on a short term basis , they go ahead and employ these measures. Unfortunately , they don't understand the harm this causes to their soil . The long term yield of the land takes a beating, and the poor farmer gets progressively poorer because he needs to keep on pumping his soil with lots of additional fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides in order to make a living.

The good news is there are now alternative ways to improve yield, and this is where Natueco farming comes in. The beauty about this model is that the farmer allows Nature do all the work.

The growth of crops in our fields is one of the bounties nature has blessed us with, and any one who tends their own garden will agree with this. It's only when we try to increase yields because we think we're smarter than nature, we end up increasing short term productivity , but causing long term harm.
Sadly, most of are too short sighted to realize this , because it can take a few decades to understand the harmful impact of modern farming practices.

The real beauty of Natueco Farming is that the farmer only needs to work once in his entire life order to create the amrit mitti - after this , nature takes over. Since all of human life depends on solar energy, natueco farming allows us to intelligently trap this energy , so that we can convert it into organic food which is safe and abundant.

India used to live in its villages, but because agriculture has become such a hard way of earning a living, lots of farmer's children are now migrating to the cities. This is because they believe that
farming is very labor-intensive ; and that because farms have become so small, the poor marginal farmer cannot survive on the small parcel of land which he owns.

These misconceptions need to be cleared. It's true that traditional farming involved back breaking labor, but this is because it was done the wrong way. The trick is to use Matueco Farming and let the sun do all the work !

This might sound startling, but the fact of the matter is that nature is able to grow huge trees in her tropical forests without any human intervention. The solar energy which is trapped in the leaves is sufficient for creating very dense forests, without any labour. Natueco Farming teaches farmers how to learn from this.

The trick is to treat the soil kindly and to respect the sun. The trouble is that agriculture is riddled with myths . We believe that Indian soil is infertile, and that we need to pump it with fertilizers in order to improve soil productivity. Farmers are taught to spray their plants with chemicals and pesticides in order to protect them from insects. We need to stop and think. We don't pump our children with antibiotics and chemical supplements to keep them healthy. We just give them a nutritious diet and help them to exercise, and they grow up into healthy adults. We need to treat our soil in exactly the same way - with respect and with trust.

The truth is that the marginal farmer can be profitable , provided he learns to incorporate sensible organic farming practices . He needs to stay away from the commercial pressures to use pesticides and fertilizers. This model is called Natueco farming. The beauty is that once the farmer does the work of creating the amrit mitti ( which takes about 3 - 6 months) , he can reap the fruits of his labor for the rest of his life. The secret lies in doing as little as possible - he uses natural biomass in order to make the soil even more fertile, so that it actually improves year after year !

The problem today is that farmers end up raping their soil because they want short-term fixes. They don't even realize the harm they do.

There's a lot of scientific proof of the efficacy of Natuceo farming, which is uniquely suited for the small Indian farmer. We can allow the results to speak for themselves, and if one picture says a thousand words, here's an image of the organic farm we run in MP.

Part of the problem is that this technique has never been marketed properly. Because there is no commercial agenda in promoting it, people do not recognise how valuable it is. The good news is that this is all open-source wisdom, and we're happy to share this knowledge with everyone to make the world a better place !

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.