This is session is part of the Webinar "Dialogue on Alternatives in the Time of Global Crises".


Dialogue 2: Covid-19 – a response from Nayakrishi Andolan, a New Agriculture Movement in Bangladesh

with Farhad Mazhar and Farida Akhter (Bangladesh)

The second in a series exploring the opportunities of promoting and creating systemic alternatives to global crises, this dialogue explores the responses emerging from local, sustainable, bio-diverse farming in Bangladesh. How can campaigns like a New Agriculture Movement or Nayakrishi Andolan led by farmers show us pathways to a just, equitable, sustainable future that helps avoid or deal with such crises better?
  • Date: 2nd May
  • Time: 13:30 (UTC/GMT)
  • Duration: 90 minutes

Recording

Download: [ Video ] (1006Mb) | [ Audio only ] (68Mb)

Nayakrishi Andolon, “the New Agriculture Movement”, is an agricultural movement in Bangladesh that opposes the use of Western pesticides and genetically altered seeds. It farming practice is based on ten principles adopted by farmers themselves that includes no use of pesticides, preservation of local variety seeds, conservation of plant, bird and animal genetic resources. Over 300,000 farming families in 19 districts are involved in. The farmers in the movement don't use any external inputs and therefore not depend on the market for seed, fertilizer and pesticides, etc., they are free from indebtedness. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, this is an advantage they obviously enjoy over the conventional 'modern' farmers. By promoting a simple crop mix called “economic, ecologic and subsistence mix”, they are less vulnerable to economical struggles compared to farmers cultivating for the market, or trapped into monoculture.

In detail

Presenters

Farhad Mazhar

Farhad Mazhar is well known for his critical writings on philosophy, environment, ecology and socio-political issues imagining the coming post-capitalist community free from all forms of hierarchies, economic oppression and technological surveillance and control. He is the Managing Director of UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative) a policy research and advocacy group. He is one of the key organizers of the Nayakrishi Andolon, the farmer led biodiversity based ecological agriculture in Bangladesh. By professional training, a pharmacist as well an economist, Farhad is known for his work in biodiversity, agriculture, indigenous knowledge in seed and genetic resource conservation and medicinal plants as well as trade and globalisation, particularly the role of WTO in a post-Uruguay Round era.

He worked as a professional Pharmacist in New York for 7 years during 1972-80. Initiated, worked and contributed to the setting up of one of the largest pharmaceutical factory, the Gonoshyasthya Pharmaceuticals, in Bangladesh during 1980-82, a project of Gonosthaya Kendra for the production of essential drugs and was involved in the formulation of the National Drug Policy, 1982. Farhad Mazhar is considered a major contemporary poet in Bengali. So far, 13 volumes of his poems as well as other books are published. He writes regular columns in most of the national dailies that shapes politics, development, environment and human rights issues of the country.

Farida Akhter

Farida Akhter is the Executive Director of UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), and one of the key organisers of Nayakrishi Andolon (New Agricultural Movement). She is also the fouinder of Narigrantha Prabartana (Women’s Resource Centre) , Organiser of Coalition Against Bt. Brinjal in Bangladesh, a leading ember of United Women’s Front, and Convenor of Women’s Alliance against Tobacco (TABINAJ).

Farida Akhter is a women’s movement activist and a leading exponent of biodiversity-based ecological agriculture. She is campaigning against the harmful, unethical, deceptive and coercive introduction of GM crops in Bangladesh since the late 1990s both by raising awareness and demonstrating successful alternative. She writes regularly in Bangla and English language in national daily newspapers, and spend most of her time working with farmers in the village, organizing farmer’s rallies in the capital city Dhaka to draw attention of the policy makers, press conferences and briefing the journalists on the issue, and arranges workshops and trainings with researchers, NGOs, activists, women’s groups and consumers groups on various issues related to health, food, agriculture and ecological lifestyles.

More information

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