Sustainable Development in Northern India
On Wednesday the 25th of September, a small team of people assembled to make the journey to the city of Palampur in the Kangra valley. Jules, Vianney, Miquel, Veronica, Beejal and I left from Kangra by bus in order to arrive in good time in the morning. The purpose of our excursion was to gather as much information as possible with regards to organic farming in the Himachal Pradesh region.
Previous trips had been made to both Kangra agricultural department and the horticultural department in Dharamshala, where the advice was given to go to the agricultural university in Palumpur. Upon arriving at the university, it was very clear that this was a large space devoted to all aspects of organic farming.
Upon arrival, we went straight to the department of organic agriculture where we met with Dr J P Saini, the head of the department. We proceeded to ask many questions on the subjects of integrated pest management and organic fertilisers as well as seeking the elusive seasonal calendar for both sowing and harvesting of vegetables. We received some documents on how to prepare organic compost and also discovered that a local farmer in Rajhol had been working alongside the university with his organic farming practices.
After obtaining a book and some of their teaching tools and documents, we then stopped for lunch in the university before moving on to the department of soil science. We arrived with our soil sample in hand and entered mid way through a meeting between several soil scientists and the head of department. They were very glad to help us and it seemed our sampling technique and soil was adequate for the small scale kitchen gardening we had planned.
On our way out of the university, still searching for the seasonal calendar, we went to look at their university farm. The farm was large and very impressive. We then returned from Palumpur back to our homes in order to ponder the task at hand.
The next steps are to meet with our neighbours in Rajol in order to discuss their methods and practices of organic farming, as well as to further look/create our own seasonal calendar to have for future interns and ourselves.
Tom Moore, UK
Organic Farming Project Manager