Meet Natabar Sarangi, Indian Seed Farmer
Natabar Sarangi is an 80 year-old retired school teacher. He is a seed farmer. He is hope for a healthier future for rural India.
Natabar collects and saves native seeds that have almost disappeared from India’s farming communities. He spends his days caring for the 350 varieties of rice that he’s planted on his two-hectare farm and sharing these seeds and organic farming techniques with others.
Hundreds of farmers from across the Indian state of Odisha have come to Natabar for his rare seeds. Unlike the genetically modified crops that have become commonplace on farms across the country, these indigenous varieties don’t require costly (and unhealthy) inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides. They also have a guaranteed yield, and many are sturdy enough to withstand droughts and floods.
In 2010, Natabar used a small grant from Global Greengrants Fund to collect seeds from farms all over India. He hired 100 women to help clean and store the seeds in a seed bank. He developed new types of organic manures, including vermicompost, cowdung compost, farmyard compost, and water hyacinth compos. He educated youth on environmental health and organic farming in grade schools and colleges. In the remote fields of rural India, with just a little bit of support, Natabar is making an incredible difference.
Production and distribution of indigenous rice seed to:
- Save seed diversity and to save the small and marginal farmers and sharecroppers from the threat of hybrid and genetically modified seeds
- Promote cost-effective farming in the interest of poor farmers to produce healthy food, free from the toxins of fertilizers and pesticides.
Promotion of non-chemical and environmentally friendly agriculture to:
- Protect the environment, water, and air from pollution.
- Minimize the cost of production for poor farmers.