The solutions to many social, economic, ecological and cultural problems that face the hill society today lie in understanding the factors and forces that contribute towards maintaining the status quo or further deterioration. Helping the society unravel these factors and find holistic solutions to them is a key role that is expected of socially oriented organisations like ours.

Our Millet Journey
The millets promotion programme has contributed to bringing focus on ’health of the farming household’ among the local farmers, something which had become a non-issue in the light of the onslaught of commercial cultivation and the aspiration to make a quick buck from farming. The change in local eating and farming practices has additionally been promoted by frequent discussions during village meetings about many common diseases like diabetes and blood-pressure now afflicting farmers. Roping in government health workers in these discussions has also proved fruitful in not only serving the cause of millet based bio-diverse agriculture, but also in reinforcing within the health workers the fact that ’prevention is better than cure’. The logic behind preserving agro-biodiversity given by the elder farmers – who previously had given in to the desire of the youth to intensify market based agriculture – has gained new strength in opposition to commercial farming. Discussions on these issues have been raised during village level discussions.

These initiatives have helped to increase a vast number of millet farmers in the past 3 years in the Karsog area of Mandi District. About 484 farmers in 25 villages have now adopted or expanded bio-diverse farming in the area, 277 of them women and 207 men. Finger millet is the most prominent millet grown in the area but other types such as proso millet, little millet and pearl millets introduced in the area in 2015, have also shown promising results. The MINI initiative has also helped revive cultivation of other crops like red rice, traditional wheat, flax seed, sesame, mustard and maize.