Articles

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Changes in Agriculture: A story from Himachal’s Lahaul Valley
By Chhering Gaaji

I remember, when I was young, we used Yak and bulls to plough our fields. Traditional methods of ploughing like this required at-least two men and yaks to complete the task but we have gradually shifted to machinery to get the work done single handedly. These traditional crops are full of nutrients and are suitable for people living in high altitude landscapes.

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Agricultural Practices in Spiti Valley
By Lobzang Tandup

The relationship between people, wildlife and nature go beyond utilitarian aspects. It is heavily influenced by cultural values and local practices around it. For instance, many Spitian households have unique names for their agricultural land which is a helpful marker of identification of one’s land and also carries meaningful symbolism. 

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Traditional Farming in Spiti -
A Photo story

By Himanshu Khagta

The concept of organic farming, which has become well known in the last decade, is not new to Spiti. Crops like black pea and barley still remain free from any chemicals. So the next time you have Sampa (local Spitian barley flour), you can be certain of its purity!

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My farming memories
By Vikram Katoch

In Lahaul, the sowing season starts from mid-March. Villagers would first clear the snow from the fields and then start sowing various seeds. Farming is the sole livelihood of many villagers and before ploughing, people pray to their fields, the tools and the baang (oxen) in hope of a good harvest.

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A day in the life of a young farmer
By Vicky

There’s an air of celebration when the agricultural season begins in my village. It is time to end the dormancy of long winter days and come out and start preparing the fields .My family would then begin the hard work in the  fields which would last a few days. The fields which were harder to plough, were then ploughed with the help of Shaalu - my favourite mare.

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Mushroom Cultivation in Spiti
By Kalzang Ladey

Given Spiti’s mono cultural practices, I realised that mushroom cultivation in Spiti will provide a viable option for the locals. Growing mushrooms is fairly easy and anyone can replicate the process once they are a bit familiar with it. Mushrooms are one the cheapest crops to cultivate if done with proper care -thus, with limited space and time, one can obtain a good yield.

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Reflections on farming life
Prithvi Singh in conversation with Panma Gyatso

I was born in Hango which is a remote village in the Hangrang valley of Kinnaur. I am 72 years old and have spent my life in this village as an agro-pastoral farmer. When I look back, I now realise that some of my most treasured memories of my village are related to agriculture and food. One of my favourite and most vivid childhood memories is from the time chulli (apricot) season arrived.

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Reviving Organic Apple cultivation in Shalkar (Kinnaur)
Story narrated by apple cultivators of Shalkar, Kinnaur

Kinnaur valley in Himachal Pradesh is well known for their apple cultivation. These high hills provide ideal climatic conditions for apple crops with the requisite chilling season in the winter. Apples grown in organic farms in Shalkar have a distinctive sweet, crunchy taste with a natural waxy exterior which even gained preference among bidders who are involved in large scale apple export business.

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Beyond Agriculture- insights into farm based entrepreneurship in Lahaul (H.P)
Tashi Angroop in conversation with Chemi Lhamo

Agriculture has made considerable progress in Himalayan states. One of the major changes in the mountain farming system is from subsistence to commercial farming practice. There’s a curious move towards high-value cash crops and diversification of cropping patterns. With connectivity and better exposure, farmers in these landscapes are increasingly becoming more innovative.

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