Photos: © Manlio Masucci
Farmers in the Vidarbha region of central India are trapped in a vicious cycle of debt caused by increased use of monoculture farming practices, a dependence on costly non-renewable seed supplies by monopolies, and increasing chemical inputs. This situation has caused a serious social and agrarian crisis with epidemic suicide rates
among indebted farmers leaving behind broken families and communities as well as environmentally damaged lands. Navdanya has been working with farmers for over two decades to build alternatives to the suicidal economy of patented / genetically engineered / hybrid seeds controlled by corporations.
Navdanya distributes indigenous variety of seeds to the farmers and encourages them to shift to organic and sustainable agriculture. More than 6000 farmers have been distributed indigenous seeds.
The Fibres of Freedom program aims at providing immediate support directly to indebted farmers and specially the widows of farmers, farmers themselves, who have committed suicide to give them an economically and ecologically viable and sustainable alternative.
Fibres of Freedom supports farmers to grow chemically free organic natural fibres as well as promotes our indigenous skills and knowledge.
Our program provides participating farmers with the training, infrastructure, knowledge, and leadership to help lead, through positive example, an increasing number of farmers into this and similar projects. These suicides have had a devastating impact on the social fabric of these families and their farming communities. Therefore, in particular, this project aims to support widows of farmers who have committed suicide and provide them and their families with a livelihood and security. The incomes that the Project will bring to these farming families will enable their children to go to school and get an education. The despair and dispossession experienced by these families and their communities will be transformed into hope and economic empowerment in a stable way.