Farmers themselves spread better cultivation practices
Sundar Borude in the central Indian state of Maharashtra has become a grass roots advocate for the joint IKEA and WWF project and a role model to his neighbours. Like many local farmers, he used to struggle to live off the land. The change began three years ago when he contacted a local agricultural resource centre.
“I wanted advice on how to improve my profits – the environment wasn’t my first concern. But I learned a lot about sustainable farming, and when this project started I was asked to be a master trainer to help spread good practices to farmers in my village.”
He has set a good example for others by putting his knowledge to good use at his own farm: “I have not increased the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and water use, despite increasing the number of plants per acre. Now my neighbours want to learn how to do the same.”
Increased profit has also allowed Sundar to invest in a drip irrigation system: “Drip irrigation is more effective than the old way of flooding the entire field – most of the water would be lost as run-off, taking nutrients with it. Now plants get water when and where it’s needed. Nothing is wasted.”
Sundar Borude’s results and practical advice help convince even sceptical neighbours that you can get a better harvest and more profit using less water and chemicals.