Permaculture in Indian Agriculture

Traditionally, Indian agriculture has had an innate sense of responsibility towards society. Ethics in farming were passed on across generations in the form of various customs and cultural practices. Prior to the colonial era, most Indian villages were significantly self-sufficient and self-reliant communes.

After various wars and famines, the concern for self-sufficiency in food grains and the emerging influence of chemical agriculture, brought in the ‘Green Revolution’ in independent India. Since then, the traditional practices have been eroding.

However, even today, there are some elements remaining of the old systems, like the tremendous diversity in agricultural production, animal integration and seed saving. With timely efforts, we can build on these foundations to revive ecological practices. This is what Aranya Agricultural Alternatives is working towards with small and marginal farmers, especially women, in vulnerable conditions such as degraded lands and rain-fed farming. We see our role as facilitators helping them bring modifications gradually that are feasible and affordable within their existing context.

Our focus is on addressing hunger, nutrition and access to resources. We facilitate diversity in crops, nutritional gardens, tree-based farming, seed sharing, educating farmers on permaculture practices, participatory water management systems, alternative energy options and watershed development.  


Narsanna Koppula is a permaculture pioneer in India. His environmental-humanitarian work has been empowering rural communities in India for the past two and a half decades. Narsanna is a Permaculture Consultant, Designer & Teacher and a campaigner of permaculture practices all over the world. He is a post-graduate from Osmania University and received his Permaculture Certificate from Permaculture International Institute, Australia. Dr.Venkat has been his mentor and Bill Mollison and Robyn Francis his teachers.

Narsanna was on the Board of the Permaculture Association of India and served for 12 years (1986 to 1998) as Director and General Secretary of Deccan Development Society, a premier NGO working on sustainable agriculture. He is a designer and professional guide in watershed management and participatory irrigation, and is also actively engaged in implementing Tree Based Farming Systems. He is a project evaluator for various natural resource management projects.

In 1999, Narsanna founded the non-profit organization “Aranya Agricultural Alternatives” presently operating in rural and tribal areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India. He has developed a permaculture farm (over 5 hectares) which now serves as a learning centre called Permaculture Pathashala. Narsanna leads internship programs where students implement projects in rural areas with poor farmers. He also conducts introductory permaculture workshops and PDC courses. 

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