Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture or ASHA is an alliance of about 400 diverse organizations drawn from more than twenty states across India, that initially came together through the Kisan Swaraj Yatra (Oct-Dec 2010), a nation-wide mobilization around Food-Farmers-Freedom.
About the Kisan Swaraj Yatra:
The Kisan Swaraj Yatra taken up by ASHA was driven by a collective realization that the prevailing agricultural model and policies have resulted in an enormous crisis of many dimensions – soils are depleted of fertility and life itself; health is deeply affected due to poisoning of water and food; farmers are in deep distress, caught in a cycle of high risk and debt; youth in rural areas and even practising cultivators find no dignity in the profession of farming; distress migration is resulting in huge exploited population in urban areas. This is atop a situation that has already been laden with various inequities in rural India. There is a sense of urgency that we need a whole revamp of our approach to agriculture.
The Yatra was also driven by a sense of hope that many elements of a new paradigm for Indian agriculture have already been demonstrated, even on a large scale. India can and should chart a new course for building a pro-farmer, ecologically sustainable agricultural economy that will keep our rural economy thriving and the urban areas manageable even as we as a country are able to feed ourselves with adequate, safe, nutritious and diverse foods. The market support systems and structures for agricultural produce have to be recast in favor of farmers. The nationwide outreach and mobilisation effort during Kisan Swaraj Yatra resulted in the creation of the Kisan Swaraj Neeti as the guiding and overarching framework for ASHA’s work.
ASHA stands for:
ASHA has been created as a broad based, inclusive, democratic platform for all individuals and organisations committed to promoting sustainable agriculture in the country and all those who seek to ensure rights and entitlements of cultivators over their productive resources, in pursuit of poverty reduction, sustainable development, diversity, plurality and justice.
As a network, we believe in collective leadership and democratic functioning.
ASHA works for:
Through grassroots work, trainings, campaigns and policy advocacy, ASHA seeks to promote practices and policies that make Indian agriculture ecologically sustainable, ensure dignified livelihoods to its farmers including the small and marginal, preserve their control over agricultural resources like seed, land and water, and ensure adequate, safe food to all citizens. These form the four pillars of Kisan Swaraj Policy.