By the early 1990s, she made the switch to organic farming, minus these inputs and with the assistance of an NGO, the Institute for Integrated Rural Development.
“Chandrakalabai’s story shows us that smaller farmers in the developing world can lessen their input costs and grow organically. If they can then embed themselves in a local food system with a minimum of intermediaries between them and the consumer, they can earn more money and secure a better future,” Elton writes in her book.
The other problem with global industrial food is that single crop farming undermines the soil’s fertility and makes these kinds of operations especially vulnerable to storms, floods and drought, associated with climate change, adds Elton.
She cites how 880 small holders based farming plots in Nicaragua with diverse crops and minus the commercial agricultural inputs managed to survive the catastrophic battering of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. On average these agro-ecological operations retained 40 percent more topsoil after the storm and lost 18 percent less arable land in landslides.