The Indian government's agricultural policies are primarily focused on the promotion of
conventional agriculture, on monocropping production schemes paired with chemical
agricultural inputs into the food production system. These practices had led to an increasing soil
fertility problem in India over the last decades. As a consequence, there has been a rapid
increase in the number of Indian farmers and state governments adopting and promoting
regenerative agricultural practices. This has increased awareness about sustainable agriculture
among farmers that live in rural areas where access to information about these practices is
limited or nonexistent.
Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. Agriculture in India is largely dependent on manual labour and hand tools, as mechanised farming methods are not commonly used. Although in other parts of rural India farmers use hand tools for many farming operations, in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand manual agriculture is still the most common practice.
The Adivasi society, primarily governed by kinship bonds is considered non - hierarchical when compared to the highly differentiated caste system. Mandelbaum’s Society in India considered tribal society homogeneous and egalitarian (as cited in Xaxa, 2008).
Using the label ‘Adivasi’ (and not ‘tribe’ or ‘ST’), meaning ‘original inhabitant’, for themselves was the Adivasis’ proclamation of their right to ownership of the land in which they lived for centuries as well as a signal, to all those who passed by, to back off!
SHGs are living organizations and need to be allowed to grow organically in response to internally identified needs rather than be directed by outside entities that have the narrow aspirations of economic growth only.
Realizing that the world of consumerism and many of the interventions carried out in the name of development will take their people away from traditional practices and habits that have sustained them in good health over centuries, the Kandho tribe takes active steps to resist any outside help that will snuff out age-old, time-tested resources and ways of living and life. In this, they are helped by Living Farms, a civil society organization, in South Odisha.
Promoting a community-based model of agricultural advisory services through Community Service Providers has helped PRADAN improve the lives of smallholder families through increased agricultural productivity