Occupying 8% of the country’s total area, the Northeast faces severe food shortages and soil degradation which has been a result of shifting cultivation that is practiced in the region. A team of 2,500 farmers led by Samir Bordoloi in Assam are revolutionising the region’s agriculture through a unique initiative that is bringing together young people to empower farmers.
Samir’s childhood in the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh gave him first-hand exposure to the challenges of farming which led him to set up a ‘Plant Health Clinic’ in Jorhat, Assam in 2005. He went on to start SPREAD NE, an NGO that teaches scientific techniques to farmers and also helps them get ‘adopted’ by families living in cities or towns.
The term here means that families buy their produce exclusively from their ‘adopted’ farmer, ensuring that they have a fixed customer base and income. Any surplus produced by the farmer can later be sold in the market.
So far, around 40 farmers have been ‘adopted’ through this initiative. Over 150 schools and 326 ‘Green Commandos’, who have been trained to further educate the rural farmers, fall under this initiative.
Watch this video to know more about SPREAD NE.