Lok Sanh

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Lok Sanh

Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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Shahid Zia is popularizing organic farming among small farmers, in both barrage areas and arid zones in Pakistan. He is developing farmer groups and setting up programs for seed development and organic farm certification to make organic farming affordable and profitable.

About Project

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Shahid is helping small farmers in the Punjab region of Pakistan to create organic farms as a means of achieving both economic and environmental sustainability. He has developed a seed bank, backed by technical and management support systems, to assist those farmers in making and sustaining the transition to organic farming. This support includes early-stage help with marketing their organic produce and training in various agrotechnology strategies such as water conservation techniques, pest management, and seed development. On the management side, supports include training in the proper storage of seeds and produce, as well as time and plantation management. All of those services are made quite accessible to the farmers as they are delivered through regional extension offices. Shahid founded Lok Sanjh to organize farmers into groups at the village level and then bring them together through the Dehqan Assembly. Shahid supports the assembly's work on key issues and helps the assembly members lobby for governmental support. The assembly also works as a focal point for farmers to make decisions and coordinate their activities. Lok Sanjh regularly disseminates knowledge and information about organic farming to assembly members. Lok Sanjh works in arid and barrage areas. In arid zones, small farmers seldom receive an adequate return from the farm and so go to work as off-farm labor, leaving the women in the household to farm. Shahid has developed an integrated farming system that helps women farmers to increase the yield in phases; in the meantime, they receive loans of seed, grains, and goats to continue farming until they reach a sustainable level. To help small farmers in barrage areas move toward organic farming, Shahid is developing an infrastructure to help them market their organic produce locally and internationally. For the international market, Shahid has acquired the license to certify their produce as organic; locally, he has developed systems to help farmers package and distribute their produce. The Lok Sanjh office at Sheikhupura also operates as an organic produce outlet.