In 2017, when Samir Bordoloi started the Society for Promotion of Rural Economy & Agricultural Development, North East (Spread NE), he only took one little step towards sustainable farming, conserving the multitude of indigenous crops from the North-East, and helping farmers get their rightful due in the market.
Today, due to the efforts of the ‘Green Commandos’ from the NGO, over 40 farmers have been adopted by urban families, over 150 schools have been adopted under the eco-initiative and 326 Green Commandos are currently trained to educate the rural folk about the benefits of local cuisine, vermicomposting, getting farmers to engage in organic farming, and saving indigenous crops from extinction, with the motto- ‘indigenous people working with indigenous agri-products towards an indigenous economy’.
Having worked in the food industry, and belonging to an agricultural family from Jorhat, Samir joined two and two and realised the reasons why farmers gained very less profit from what they were producing, and how we were losing out on the huge variety of crops that were indigenous to the North-Eastern states. The large food companies controlled and regulated farming to get only a few raw food staples across the country. This forced farmers to discard their traditional crops, and opt for chemical treatments in their fields to obtain produce. Which, again, led to very less profit for themselves.
Samir, therefore, encouraged an ecological way of farming that incorporated traditional farming knowledge and included the reuse and recycling of resources and growing local herbs instead of cash crops. With the help of Spread NE, Samir, with other Green Commandos are encouraging the youth to make their foray in the field of organic farming by making the occupation attractive. Some of them go on to teach farmers on ground the scientific techniques related to organic farming, while others ensure that farmers are ‘adopted’ by urban families, which provides them with a yearly income for their harvests.
Samir also started his brilliant initiative with local rural schools, involving children to participate in learning the techniques of organic farming like vermicomposting, and gradually turned it into a local level initiative.
This three-fold approach to help the farmers, the youth, and the children of the North-Eastern states has already come a long way from its early days two years back.
It’s ideas like these that bring in true development and lead the way towards a more equitable and sustainable future.