The efforts of the M. R. Morarka-GDC Rural Research Foundation in the field of organic farming are admirable. This is the reason that the name of Rajasthan has come into prominence in the field of organic farming today. Organic farming has changed the fate of the farmers of Rajasthan. The farmers are producing more yields at a lesser cost. The Morarka Foundation started their work 20 years ago and launched a new revolution. Organic farming began saving lands from losing their fertility as a result of the usage of chemical fertilisers which also created side effects for human beings in particular. Insecticides are used to kill diseases related to plants, agriculture, horticulture and for the protection of weeds throughout the world. It is also believed that this increases the production a well. But the side effects of these chemicals cannot be denied. These chemicals give less profit and provide more loss. The usage of these chemicals has also been shown to create many types of side effects to human health. Research states that even after the usage of these dangerous chemicals, 5 per cent germs still stay alive and achieve the capacity to combat these chemicals. These germs slowly give birth to a new capacity enriched generation of germs and the usage of insecticides does not have any effect on them. So to kill these germs more powerful and poisonous chemicals are used.
When the farmers sprinkle these chemicals in the fields then their deadly effects permeate into the crops as well and after entering the human body give rise to many types of incurable diseases. The chemicals works as slow poison. To combat these chemicals, there cannot be any other option better than traditional measures like organic farming. The efforts of the Morarka Foundation not only ensured safety of the human health but the farmers are progressing towards prosperity.
The farmers of Jhunjhunu and Churu district and the farmers of the Sikar district are coming in touch with the Morarka Foundation and taking training are doing organic farming on their lands. As a result, these farmers themselves make vermi compost and vermi wash like organic manure and insecticides on their own at a very cheap cost. To overcome the lack of water, the scientists of the Morarka Foundation have invented a new technique, which is known as the hydroponic technique. On this topic, the director of Morarka Foundation Mukesh Gupta reveals that he developed this technique on request of the Singapore Government.
The most important advantage from organic farming is that the farming of the indigenous species of grains has got a boost. The hybrid kind of seeds produced by the farmers have been in use till date, but the farmers doing organic farming have, to get better results, started producing indigenous types of grain once again. Apart from this the organic grains are also very beneficial from the health point of view.
Due to lack of lands the Singapore Government had requested the Morarka Foundation to develop a technology for roof gardening. Mukesh Gupta says that according to this technique the farming of vegetables can be done easily. Many layers of pipes are laid and small plastic glasses are put on this and then plants are prepared on this and water is delivered to the plants with the method of water recycling in this technique. Apart from this the Morarka Foundation has developed the technique of Tray cultivation, in which more and more produce can be harvested in minimum of land. Due to the continuous efforts of the Morarka Foundation, thousands of farmers from these places have stopped the usage of chemical manure and pesticides. The Morarka Foundation is encouraging these farmers not only to go in for organic farming, but is also providing them with proper costs for their yield and a big market along with it. The Morarka Foundation has also opened retail outlets named Down To Earth in many parts across the country, where organic products are available for sale. With the help of these outlets, the Foundation provides a market for farmers. Along with delivering the yields of the farmers to different parts of India and foreign countries as well, the Down To Earth retail centres spread across the country are also working on increasing the quality of the products through food processing. The farmers also sell their yields in their Mandi.
Mukesh Gupta says that the most important advantage from organic farming is that the farming of the indigenous species of grains has got a boost. The hybrid kind of seeds produced by the farmers have been in use till date, but the farmers doing organic farming have, to get better results, started producing indigenous types of grain once again. Apart from this the organic grains are also very beneficial from the health point of view. From the point of view of good health, the people are now attracted towards millet. There is no comparison to the taste and purity of organic grains and these grains have proved to be very beneficial for stomach related diseases. Millets have proved to be very beneficial for diabetic patients. Mukesh Gupta says that the Morarka Foundation is providing training to the farmers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh along with a few other states. Whichever farmer does farming with the organic methodology, certification is done of his products. This means that the product is organic. This work is being done by a few recognised agencies.
Poverty No Longer A Curse
The Morarka Foundation has made many commendable efforts to make women self reliant. With the help of programmes like the Veerbala Project or the Combined Cooking Centre or the Self Help Group, more and more women are becoming self reliant and independent. Poverty is not a curse for the women here. With the efforts of the Morarka Foundation, the women of poor families prepare food along with other women. It was not easy for them to deal with the rising prices of gas. In Nawalgarh, Jatawali, Tetra, Katrathal, Balwantpura, Manjhau and Singnour in the districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar, the Morarka Foundation as part of the Rasoi Gas Yojana have distributed Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and stoves. Apart from this, to make women self reliant and independent, the Morarka Foundation laid the basis of the Self Help Group. Women can make savings in this Self Help Group and thus become empowered to lead better lives and build a better future for their families as well.
A New Identity For Women
Rajasthan is world famous for its colourful traditions and cultural heritage. The stories of bravery of the women from this state are depicted in history books. Today too the women are matching their steps with those of men and moving forward in tandem. “Parda” is the tradition of Rajasthan, but this does not bind them to the four corners of their household. They are matching their steps with the modern hi-tech world of today. “Parda” is not a barrier to their path of development. Due to the efforts of the Morarka Foundation, all the agriculture related information is being provided to the farmers by the women in the state. Lakshmi Shekhawat, who is working in the Kisan Call Centre, says that the “Ghunghat” is my tradition, I am a Rajputani. I am proud of our tradition. Lakshmi along with pursuing the Bachelor of Commerce degree is also working in the Kisan Call Centre. She is technology friendly and is well versed with the new systems. In the Singhasan village of Nawalgarh, as per the Veerbala project, the women of the Rajput community are provided with the training on computers. The women fraternity of the Rajput community in general follow the tradition of “Parda” and do not go outside the four corners of their household. In these circumstances, the Morarka Foundation gave training to the women on the topics of data entry, computer hardware and software in their own village. After this they are provided with the training on the information related to the farmers doing organic farming in the farm diaries (they provide information related to the yield of the farmers) and the method of storing the records of these yields in the computers. The Morarka Foundation gave the name of “Veerbala” to the women fraternity. They were provided with computers and other equipment.
Mukesh Gupta, who is taking care of the Veerbala project, says that the women have the desire to learn and do work. They have fulfilled the work of the project assigned to them with full devotion and responsibility. Lakshmi Shekhawat also says that her family members never stopped her from studying, but they were against allowing her to do jobs by going to some other place. “I want to make my own identity; I have the urge of doing something out of the blocks and thus creating a name for myself”, she says. She got married at the tender age of 19, her husband stays in Dubai. Lakshmi is also the mother of a lovely daughter. She says that preparing her daughter for school and taking care of her in laws was her daily routine, but she used to be free of all her work by afternoon. “I am Rajputani, so we do not go anywhere apart from staying inside the household. Time was hard to spend once I was free of her daily tasks and during this time I got the information about the Kisan Call Centre from one of my friends. I had a word with my husband on this, and on his insistence, my in laws, after a few protests, also agreed. All my family members support me in this. My work in the Kisan Call Centre is from 2 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon”.
Saroj Kunwar, who is also doing the same work, says she had a lot of regrets that even after being educated, she was not doing anything. “Rajput women have to be in their “Parda.” In this situation it is not possible to go outside and work, but the Morarka Foundation has given me both work and identity. The women who come for work here are educated. We all work together and after completion of our work speak about the matters going around in the country and the world. When the media people come and ask us about our work, they take our photographs, and then we get a better feeling of our existence. We feel proud of ourselves. This would not have been possible without the efforts of the Morarka Foundation”.