The need sustainable forms of agriculture are being recognized both in developing and developed world. But this, in turn,demands a different kind of agricultural training to prepare us for continuous training. Learning for sustainable agriculture involves a participatory process, combining the knowledge and research capacities of local people and outsiders in an mutually interactive mode. To attain agricultural sustainability, one must think ecologically, in terms of complex interactions, processes and adaptation to changing conditions. Solutions are not permanent. One must constantly observe what is happening on the farm and in the environment, try to comprehend this and decide upon appropriate action. Moreover, techniques and systems of sustainable agriculture are very situation specific – i.e. fitting well into a particular setting but not necessarily suitable for another and basically is based primarily on local resources, including local knowledge. Therefore, learning for sustainable agriculture cannot be confined to learning particular techniques isolated from a real human setting. Rather, it means learning how to assess complex situations, how to solve problems from a holistic perspective, how to work together well others in attaining goals, and, above all, learning how to continue to learn, These are skills required on all levels, from the farmer to the policy-maker. Thus, learning for sustainable agriculture involves a Process of participatory technology development in a larger sense.
Amitava Rakshit, PhD (Soil Scientist)
Institute of Agricultural Sciences,
BHU, Varanasi, India