Explore the Link between Biological and Cultural Diversity

Basudha (= ‘Earth Mother’ in Bengali) is a 2.3 acre farmland, on rent in a tribal village, surrounded by forests and hills in Bissam Cuttack block, Rayagada district of southern Odisha. A farm house is being built, to accommodate visiting activists, research students and farmers.

Watch a short video of Basudha’s work, by filmmaker and photographer Jason Taylor.

Basudha farm was established in early 2001 in Bankura district of West Bengal initially as a field station of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. In 2010, Basudha was registered as an independent Trust body, which is currently comprised by Dr. Debal Deb, Mr. Tathagata Banerjee, Dr. Mita Dutta, Mr. Debdulal Bhattacharjee, and Mr. Avik Saha as Trustees.


Basudha aims to conserve India’s vanishing rice varieties; encourage, demonstrate and support organic farming and traditional methods of multiple cropping; research in the human ecology of uncultivated foods from the wild; research and document ecoforestry practices; and preserve and develop local knowledge of biodiversity and its uses. Basudha is a partner of the nationwide anti-WTO movement, and locally engaged in non-formal education and heuristic science teaching for the rural youth. Basudha also gives practical training in ecological agriculture.

Every year, scientists, research scholars, students, activists and farmers from different parts of the world visit Basudha – to teach, learn from, and share ideas with, Basudha workers and farmers in the surrounding villages. WWOOFers find Basudha to be a favourite farm to stay and work in. The new Basudha campus in Odisha is now open for WWOOFers and volunteers. The Annual Basudha Festival, held in Winter every year, is a special event in which students, environmentalists, artists and conservationists from different parts of the world come to participate.

The Basudha farmhouse is an example of ecological architecture with (almost) zero-ecological footprint: No kiln bricks, no cement, no plastics. Three hutments are made of adobe, mud, lime, sand and stones, with straw thatched roofs. It has three EcoSan dry toilets, whose dry compost enriches the farm soil. The campus is off-grid, and solar powered. We never extract groundwater, nor apply any external material for our farm inputs.

Artwork View from SouthBasudha Fest







Basudha also demonstrates biodiverse agroecology in its polycrop home garden, where more than 20 species of crops are cultivated on zero external input.


The old Basudha farmhouse is located at Binodbati mouza, P.O. Layekbandh of Bankura district (23˚12′ 25.6″ N, 87˚16′ 54.3″ E). Nearest railway stations: Bishnupur (22 km) and Durgapur (41 km). View Satellite image of BASUDHA on googlemap

The new Basudha farm is located in a remote tribal village of Rayagada district. For security reasons, the exact location is disclosed only to WWOOFers and genuine research students upon inquiry. Over 1100 folk rice varieties and 20 other crops are being grown on this farm every year, as a model of ecological agriculture, with zero external inputs. Please contact us for road map and directions.

Basudha does not encourage pleasure trips by urban joy-seekers or picnickers, but is open only to WWOOFers, research students, and activists who are willing to participate and assist in our activities.

N.B. Basudha’s work does not receive financial support from any funding agency – whether governmental or non-governmental. All activities are fuelled by personal donations from Trustees and friends. There is no tariff for accommodation at Basudha, but we would request visitors to make a donation according to their ability and pleasure.

We provide spartan, yet comfortable accommodation (with bed, pillow, blankets and mosquito net) and simple vegetarian meals, with rice as staple. Anything extra (e.g. bread/ cheese/ beverages/ meat) will be at cost.

NOTE: Basudha’s conservation activities have shifted to Rayagada district of southern Odisha [detail here]. While there is no farm experiments or conservation activity currently underway in West Bengal, Basudha’s adobe farm house and arboretum in Bengal are still open for visitors. If you are willing to visit, please contact us.
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Deb’s new paper on Indigenous Conservation Ethos

June 7, 2016June 7, 2016
Deb's presentation at Sombath Symposium, Bangkok is now published here. Video of the symposium can be viewed here.

Basudha’s Work mentioned in OFAI Source Book

June 1, 2016June 1, 2016
Basudha's Work and Debdulal's contribution mentioned in Shamika Mone's Source Book on Organic Seeds, published by OFAI, Goa.

Basudha Lab’s Report (Jan-Apr 2016) Published

April 25, 2016April 25, 2016
The First Quarterly Report of Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation is published. Click to download

Deb presented agroecology before Gujarat Chief Minister

April 19, 2016April 19, 2016
Kapil Shah and D Deb were invited to gave presentation before the Chief Minister, Gujarat, to suggest (a) enlisting of agroecology experts outside of mainstream agriculture universities on faculty of the proposed Organic Agriculture University, (b) agroecological design of a demonstration plot of the university, and (c) exclusion of GMOs from the State.

Agroecology training in Chittagong, Bangladesh

April 12, 2016April 12, 2016
Deb gave agroecology training for farmers and NGOs at Chittagong, Bangladesh from 10-12 April 2016.

34 Rice Landraces Rescued from Nagaland

January 2, 2016January 2, 2016
D. Deb and Avik Saha visited the districts of Dimapur and Peren in Nagaland and rescued 34 traditional rice landraces from imminent risk of extinction from agricultural modernization.

New publication: Biochar effect on crop productivity

January 2, 2016
Recently published: "Variable effects of biochar and P solubilizing microbes on crop productivity in different soil conditions" DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2015.1118001. [Download PDF]

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems journal mentions Basudha’s work

December 2, 2015December 2, 2015
Editorial of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems vol. 39 (6), 2015 mentions Basudha's conservation and demonstration efforts.  [Download PDF]

New Demonstration Farm in Kashipur, West Bengal

November 28, 2015November 28, 2015
Under the auspices of Mr. Avik Saha, Basudha took over in November 2015 a new agroecological demonstration farm at Kashipur, West Bengal. This farm will (i) demonstrate agroecology and ecological fishery, and (ii) conserve multiple landraces of rice, millets, legumes and tubers.

New Study Published Showing Metal Profiles of 130 Rice Varieties

September 14, 2015September 14, 2015
In a recent issue of Current Science (10 Aug 2015), a new study on metal contents of 130 rice varieties was published, showing over 65 varieties containing high quantities of iron, and a unique variety containing a considerable amount of silver uptake and deposition in grains. This work was authored by D. Deb and Prof. T Pradeep, and Soujit Sengupta from IIT-Madras.

400 Indigenous Farmers Joining Force to Save Heirloom Seeds

May 19, 2015May 19, 2015
During a period of just 5 days, from the 13th June to 18th June, Basudha's campaign to save folk rice varieties persuaded over 400 farmer households to replace all modern rice varieties with heirloom varieties, on zero-external chemical input. D. Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya visited 8 villages of Gendabaju and Kodisuru villages of Chandrapur block, Rayagada district of Odisha to talk with them about the value of indigenous rice varieties and the means to winning freedom from seed corporations and chemicals industry. Entire communities in these 8 villages, comprising over 400 farmer households, pledged to abandon all modern rice varieties, and grow indigenous seeds instead, on their farms. They would collect seeds free of cost from Virhi in early June. Kodisuru Gendabaju

22 Rice Landraces Rescued from Malkangiri District

March 26, 2015March 26, 2015
D. Deb surveyed 4 blocks in Odisha's Malkangiri district, and rescued 22 landraces to add to Vrihi's accession.

Biotechnology Lab for Conservation Opened in Aug 2014

August 26, 2014August 26, 2014
Basudha's Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation opened in Kolkata on 12 August 2014, entirely funded by Mr. Avik Saha, cultural activist and lawyer, and Basudha's trustee. This laboratory is established with the explicit aim to promoting conservation of the country's biological heritage. The lab will remain engaged in studies to reveal genetic, biochemical and nutraceutical properties of folk rice varieties; and tissue culture of critically endangered plants to promote their conservation for the benefit of the local communities. This is the only lab in the country that runs on individual donations, and does not, and will not receive any institutional funding support from any governmental or corporate institutions, and is entirely aimed at biodiversity conservation. Read report in Times of India (New Delhi/Kolkata) 13 August.   [Download pdf]