Samir Bordoloi, a graduate in agricultural studies secured a well-paying job in the food industry almost immediately after his graduation.Soon after joining his job, Samir, who comes from a farming background from Jorhat, Assam, realised that a wide gap divides what the farmers grow and what consumers buy. This huge gap is mostly occupied by big names in the food industry that allow the produce go through several stages of chemical treatment before readying them for the market. Samir says, “Coming from an agricultural background, I could sense where the problem lay. In the race to provide for the industries that need a very small inventory of raw materials, the farmers were losing out on indigenous crops. This is true, especially for the NorthEast, because each State here has a very diverse palate to offer and yet, many farmers cultivate the same list of crops, infesting the land with chemicals and getting very less money in return. I wanted to change this.”Though 69 per cent of Assam’s workforce is engaged in agriculture, the per hectare yield of rice (the staple food in the state) is 1700 kg, which is lower than the national average. Tea and rice might bring income to the farmer’s home but Samir observed that they were losing out on indigenous crops and the potential profits that they could earn from them. Recognising the largely unexplored link between farmer communities and youth, Samir Bordoloi created the Green Commandos programme, through his organisation Spread NE - (Society for the Promotion of Rural Economy and Agricultural Development, Northeast). Spread NE is a community of low-cost and organic farming advocates who are restoring dignity, agency, and choice of the farmers, making it an attractive profession in the long run for the coming generations.Engaging over 300 youth, Green Commandos collaborate towards this shared vision of ‘local people, growing local food, creating local economies’.
He promotes the cconcept of food forests.A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. Food forests are three dimensional designs, with life extending in all directions – up, down, and out.Forests exist fine on their own. There’s no mowing, weeding, spraying, or digging required. No pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides or nasty chemicals. No work and no people either. They somehow do very well.By understanding how forests grow and sustain themselves without human intervention, we can learn from Nature, copy the systems and patterns to model our own forests — ones filled with trees and plants that produce food we can eat. We can design and construct the most sustainable food production systems possible; perfected, refined and cared for by Mother Nature herself.
Samir and his green commandos have established the Spread NE food forest at Sonapur, Assam. The Spread NE Farm Learning Centre at Sonapur has a camping zone to learn and experience about food forest and ecological farming. The green Commandoes will train you to create food forest. They have created this food forest through seed bombing, zero tillage and many other ways. They are in the process of creating 100 Food Forest in their model villages now. Samir has been teaching in different schools since 2008 to create food forests. He says he feels this is the way the farmers of Northeast India should move ahead to keep the greenness of the region as it is. This is the only way to conserve our local food wisdom and create food sanctuaries of local Healthy Healing Food crops.
Samir Bordoloi is an Award winning Innovative Farmer. He is the Recipient of "Best Agripreneur of the Country Award, 2017", "National award Pragati Puraskar, 2016 for Organic Farming", "Krishak Ratna Award, 2018" and "IARI Innovative Farmer Award, 2019".