Ladakh Wisdom Forum organises workshop on Organic Farming

By Reach Ladakh Correspondent CHUCHOT, Jul 25, 2016
The 4th Ladakh Wisdom Forum conducted a workshop on the theme 'Organic Farming in Ladakh as an Innovation for Life' on June 11 at Ladakh Organic Farmers Foundation (LOFF) Chushot Shamma.
The forum on organic farming was focused this year in order to understand the realities as one of the sectors to explore options for the future of Ladakh with its youth in particular. 

Zubir Ahmad,Director, Ladakh Organic Farmers Foundation (LOFF) Chushot Shamma was the resource person. Students of Lamdon School Leh, CIBS University Choglamsar, SECMOL students, Balsharam and Nariniketan hostel participated in the event.

Skarma Gurmet (Director) NGO JULAY LADAKH Japan said that Ladakh Wisdom Forum idea was started a few years back by the three main NGO’s 000 PAF & 000 GU JAPAN, SEBoL(Socially Engaged Buddhists of Ladakh) and NGO JULAY LADAKH Japan. 

He said that since from 2013 onwards they are conducting discussions on various themes depending on the developmental trends and needs of Ladakh. 

“Ladakh is being seen as a region with treasures of abundant wisdom that the current developed world misses and are in need, whereas Ladakh is still at a juncture where more appropriate developmental approaches can be implemented and at the same time the world can learn a lot from Ladakh”, said Gurmet. 

He further added that however, the dilemma is that many of the Ladakhis themselves are in a bit of confusion on whether to adopt the global economic system or stay strictly with the traditional ways of life that is eco-friendly from various angles. 
He said that if proper thoughts, time, efforts and energy given by all sectors then a balanced model in Ladakh can be realised. 

The problems of Ladakh may increase further if we don’t care about the root causes at this time. One of the solutions to such problem is to produce our food organically. As a result, it will not only improve our health and environment but also have the potential to increase our tourism industry beyond our current strengths to attract tourist to organic Ladakh. 

Zuber spoke on the scopes for organic farming in Ladakh and outside Ladakh for Ladakhi organic products but for that having land and animal becomes important beyond human resources. However, landless people can also do organic farming by taking land on contracts from landowners which is known as contract farming.
He emphasised that it is very important to be sincere in dealing with organic farming practices and selling the products to the buyers. We should respect farming and should be proud of it. 

We have a huge potential to export our organic products to international market specially dried sea-buckthorn berry. Ladakhi Buckwheat (Dao) has also a huge potential to explore various products. 
He said it is also important to make it look nice and beautiful for the market. 

Yumiko of 000 Global Univer-city Japan talked about the current status of organic farming in Japan and related issues including culture, environment and Global economic development who is co-creating harmonious societies.
She said that the effects of the global economic systems such as inorganic agriculture, environmental destructions, educational competitions, depression, stress, suicidal cases etc. are in increasing trend. She said that Japanese organic farming is growing fast with shops selling more organic or natural products almost in all cities and the numbers of interested people are increasing both in terms of organic farmers and buyers especially after the 2011 disaster of Fukushima nuclear power plants due to the earthquake and followed by a huge Tsunami. 
Many people got tired of the global economic systems and trying hard to find rather a simple yet eco-friendly ways of lives which include organic farming and alternative ways of educating the youth for a better future. With increased awareness, now there are companies and women groups for livelihood who delivers safe and organic food to houses and families everywhere in Japan. 
However, at the same time, there are many big supermarkets who still sells unsafe and chemical food. Some people left their highly paid jobs due to the awareness & understanding of uncertainty in the global economic system and practicing organic farming in rural villages with proud and simple living by restoring traditional houses.
Later, the participants were divided into 6 groups  to discuss topics further and presented to the whole group after visiting Mr. Zuber’s fields with his explanations in detail. 
The forum concluded with the outcomes from the group discussions as follows.

• Need research on appropriateness according to sites, altitude and other conditions. 

• Need more awareness about organic farming and wisdom in each village. 

• Local manure needs to be used. It may be time-consuming but good for health.

• Multi-cropping is important. 

• Traditional farming with local support systems leads to better communication between each other and strengthens relationship; whereas use of machines divides people on monetary grounds. It also provides opportunities to children in learning the traditional farming. These lead to overall happiness.

• Mechanical farming like tractors leads to competitive farming without thinking about the quality product is disadvantageous. 

• Need to change the mentality about farming in Ladakh.

• Compost manuring can be done for organic farming if one does not have animal. 

• Encouragement needed in the society for practicing organic farming same as for becoming a big person. 

• Natural pesticides can be made from the use of Garlic with milk, lantang plant etc.
• Can adopt new methods by learning from other societies.

• For marketing use of social media and other useful media are needed. 

• Quality product is important.