Rice is the most important crop for Asians. Rice means not only food, but also culture, livelihood, nature, art, education ... everything. For us in India, especially in the south, east and north eastern regions, rice is the staple food and it decides the landscape and rural economy. It is our heritage. It is our identity.
Unfortunately in the last 10-15 years, all the possible threats we can imagine, are making rice cultivation unsustainable. Unpredictable climatic changes, new trade policies, dismantling of support systems, loss of soil fertility, pest outbreak, loss in biodiversity, increasing cost of labour and other inputs, decreasing gross returns, etc. have created a situation where farmers find it difficult to sustain rice cultivation. Along with these, changing agriculture policies and campaign on the advantages of other uses of rice fields have attracted farmers and in many areas rice fields have given way to horticulture, urban development, development of landfills and industrial expansion. This is threatening the very existence of our culture and rural economy, relationships and ultimately ecology. Most importantly, this is threatening our food security and livelihood security.
This campaign is an attempt to bring in and network everyone interested in sustaining rice cultivation - farmers, consumers, NGOs, students, children, teachers, leaders, policymakers, media,academicians, scientists and in a broader sense, the general public – to explore the chances of sustaining rice and rice-culture. Rice and rice-culture is just not an agricultural affair. So the whole society, whose culture and identity is linked to the rice-systems, should come together, talk, experiment and find ways to save rice from being pushed into oblivion. The campaign covers the whole of Asia, connected and coordinated by various organizations and groups. We at THANAL propose to introduce the campaign in South India, West Bengal, Orissa and Chattisgarh.
What all can we do?
There are many individuals and groups who have been working on sustaining rice for a very long period. But the threat faced by rice in the country cannot be fought back by the efforts in isolation. We need to join together to stop wrong policies and biotechnology from destroying our precious rice heritage. To come together and act, we request you to
Also write to us about your work in related aspects and about your campaign. We can work together to sustain rice.