Pesticide poisoning inspires Odisha teacher to go organic, save 700 rice varieties

The incident dates back to the early 90s. But retired teacher and octogenarian paddy farmer Natabar Sarangi remembers it as though it were yesterday. After 32 years of service as a government school teacher, the man had turned to his ancestral profession of farming in a 3.5-acre land. He had inherited 1.5 acres from his family and acquired the remaining two over time.

This was also the time when the Green Revolution was at its peak. With the dawn of mechanisation in agriculture, the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides was incessant.