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Our Mission

Bring awareness to the environmental crisis facing India, and its economic and social  impact on rural and farming communities

Promote and support solutions to rural hunger and poverty in India via sustainable organic farming and biodiversity conservation and to protect and preserve indigenous knowledge.




Navdanya has been distributing seeds and creating Community Seed Banks to help the farmers in the suicide belt move away from expensive hybrid and Genetically Modified Seeds. Besides the high cost these seeds, which need to be purchased every year, these seeds require exorbitantly priced chemicals and large amounts of water for adequate farm output. Indigenous seeds are resilient and can be saved each year and are ecologically sound,requiring low amounts of water and organic inputs which are  safe. Since 1991, 54 seed banks have been created across India.

Seed banks work through multiplier effect over the years. In the first year 1 seed bank directly distributes seeds (the most expensive commodity for farmers) to 150 farmers across 10 villages. The farmer is required to pay back at the end of the harvesting season by returning seed  generated from a small plot of land on his or her farm. This  ensures the ability of the seed bank to help more farmers during the next planting season.

The Seeds of Hope Initiative provides alternatives to the farmers of the Vidharba region, known as the suicide belt because of the high rate of farmers’ suicides caused by indebtedness which is result of high costs and the failure of the GM cotton. “Seeds of Hope” helps in restoring farmers’ livelihoods and achieving self sustenance against the threats of seed monopolies, debt and a changing climate.

How the program works

1. Conserve indigenous plant species to preserve Glossary Link biodiversity and establish more robust and secure food systems

1.1 Establish network of seed banks across different ecological zones in India to serve as storage and security mechanisms in case of climate change, natural disaster, crop failure or the need to innovate in agricultural production


1.2 Specific emphasis placed in the Vidharba region, known for the high rates of farmer suicides caused by indebtedness and failures of GM cotton

1.1.1  Identify reliable and willing farmer participants, local communities and organizations to partner with development of seed bank initiatives


1.1.2  Farmers trained in systemically cataloging and preserving seeds and self-governance


1.1.3  Farmers’ germinate seeds annually before monsoon season, plant in identified areas, and harvest later in the season for collection and cataloguing


1.1.4 Farmers spread the word of seed saving in neighboring villages through Bija Yatras


1.1.5 Ongoing and follow-up research re: crop yields, pest and weed issues




1.2 Ongoing outreach and establishment efforts for the Vidharba region

52 seed banks established in 16 states in India


Conserved 3000 varieties of rice


Conserved 75 varieties of wheat


Conserved hundreds of varieties of millets, pseudo-cereals, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables, and medicinal plants


Since August 2004, organized Vasundhara, the International Glossary Link Organic Farmers’ and Seed Keepers’ Gathering of 300 farmers and seed keepers


Ongoing research and analysis demonstrating the effectiveness of organic, saved seeds as viable food security mechanism

Financial support for coordinating staff, trainers, and research and scientific support team


Infrastructure and materials  costs of seed banks – approximately $2500 per seed bank


Maintenance  & monitoring costs to follow-up with network of seed banks


Support for Bija Yatras in and around seed bank communities

Our Programs