The project Toranam aims at helping farmers to mitigate and adapt to climate change using sustainable agroforestry and alternative marketing strategies while raising environmental awareness and promoting green energy.
The agricultural practices promoted during the so-called green revolution in India led to the massive use of chemical inputs over the last decades and resulted in land degradation, loss of natural habitat balance and loss of soil fertility. This resulted in a dramatic crisis among smallholder and marginal farmers with an above-average rate of suicide. Most smallholder farmers in the Madanapalle region of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India, an area particularly affected by drought and adverse effects of global climate change, grow mainly tomatoes as a cash-crop. They are heavily dependent on agrochemical companies and inauspiciously affected by market price fluctuations ruining their complete income in many years. Most youths are migrating to cities leading to a grave lack of available workforce, a circumstance aggravating the problem. As agriculture is the main economic activity in this semi-arid region, the implementation of permaculture holds great potential for improvement.
Well-planned it offers low input costs, flexible labor requirements, diversity of income sources, more bargaining power at the marketing stage and the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change – overall a better livelihood strategy for farmers.
Toranam is a permaculture project promoting sustainable development practices and environmental education in Southern India. The focus is on smallholder farmers, whose livelihoods are affected by climatic and socio-economic changes. The primary aim is the establishment of an economic and educational center with a demonstration farm which will show smallholder farmers how permaculture can achieve good yields despite the drought, how value can be added to farm produce through further processing and how smart marketing approaches benefit farmer cooperatives. In addition, Toranam plans to pioneer an e-learning approach to agricultural and environmental education, which is new in the region, to engage with young people with an affinity to technology.
Toranam has a holistic view that takes every aspect of environmental issues in the region into consideration. Even though the focus is on agriculture, it is designed not to only benefit farmers, but also students and community members, as well as the environment.
For more info visit www.toranam.net