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High input agriculture has exacted a devastating toll among the poor in Medak. Whether it is state-subsidized, sugarcane production that has led to a fall in the water table or industry-driven, cotton mono-cropping that has brought waves of deadly pests, the poor have borne the brunt of the deleterious effects. This is one reason why SKS is trying to counter the myth that high-input agriculture has greater benefits than traditional farming methods. Another reason SKS wants to raise awareness about the benefits of traditional agriculture is that the poor can adopt traditional methods at a much lower cost and at much lower risk than with high-input agriculture. But because of the onslaught of industry and state driven media about the benefits of high input agriculture, the poor have lost confidence in their traditional methods of farming.

To counter such myths and propaganda, SKS established a sustainable agriculture demonstration farm. Under the guidance of K. Narsanna of the Permaculture Association, the SKS farm uses a range of traditional techniques such as inter-cropping, mulching, application of farm yard manure, mixed planting of trees and crops, and water-harvesting. SKS' aim is to demonstrate that such techniques will produce as much (or even more) than high-input agriculture while simultaneously protecting the long-term fertility of the land. In so doing, we hope to revive confidence in traditional agricultural techniques that have enabled the poor to survive in the Indian countryside over the last 3,000 years.

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