BLOOM is a community-based, cluster randomised controlled evaluation of Andhra Pradesh Community-managed Natural Farming (APCNF) led by the University of Edinburgh and the Public Health Foundation of India in partnership with Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS), APCNF. RySS clusters will be the unit of randomisation; intervention households will receive training in APCNF practices immediately following baseline and control households will receive the same training after 24 months. The primary outcomes will be (1) pesticide exposure, (2) dietary diversity, (3) household income, and (3) crop yield. Secondary outcomes will be adult glycemia, adult kidney function, adult self-reported symptoms (musculoskeletal pain, headache, respiratory symptoms, dermatological symptoms, and depression), and, in children, growth and cognitive development. The study is being conducted in two districts of Andhra Pradesh, India: Kurnool District and Visakhapatnam District. Kurnool is in the Scarce Rainfall Zone and Visakhapatnam is in the North Coastal Zone and High Altitude Zone.
Dr. Poornima Prabhakaran (Co-principal investigator), Head, Environmental Health & Deputy Director, Centre for Environmental Health, PHFI and Dr. Lindsay Jaacks (principal investigator), UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, University of Edinburgh are leading the BLOOM study.
To know more about the study, you can visit the BLOOM study web page on the University of Edinburgh website: https://edin.ac/bloom
“We see the partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Public Health Foundation of India as a unique opportunity to establish the health benefits of natural farming, since it eliminates the need for synthetic pesticide usage. As an organization that is responsible for implementing the State wide transformation to natural farming, we value the establishment of the health benefits scientifically as it will help us to motivate more farmers to take up the transformation. We believe that this study will provide some of the most conclusive evidence to date on health benefits of reducing pesticide exposure. The results of the study will also help us to educate citizens about the health benefits of consuming food produced through Natural farming. In addition to the direct human health benefits, we also would like to establish other attendant benefits like larger number of pollinators and other insect biodiversity and soil microbial biodiversity. Natural farming is a win-win-win for farmers, the citizens and the planet. This study is important not only for Andhra Pradesh, but the entire country.” – Sri K. Kanna Babu, Honorable Minister for Agriculture , GoAP
“Nearly 3 billion people are unable to afford a healthy diet and poor-quality diets are linked to 11 million deaths per year. Sub-optimal diets are associated with a wide range of serious health risks. Regular agricultural practices put very different demands on earth’s natural resources , which implies dietary patterns in one region can be different to another due to usage of natural resources. Food systems need to be modified to achieve the goal of sustainable, healthy diets for all. Agricultural practices and related food policies which support healthy diets are the primary building block of a healthy food system. The long-term viability of food systems depends on the transformative change that can mitigate the negative impacts of the climate crisis as well as those associated with natural resource degradation. More research in the area should be encouraged to build sustainable and effective food systems which in turn build healthy communities.” – Prof. K Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI
“We are grateful for this opportunity to learn from the pioneering sustainable agriculture programme being implemented in south India. The study is being conducted to benefit farmers. With this new partnership with RySS, the researchers will ensure that the outcomes are farmer-centric. The co-production of knowledge through this strong collaboration will result in novel insights, immediately relevant not only to India but the rest of the world as we aim to achieve net zero and preserve biodiversity whilst also promoting public health.” – Professor Pankaj Pankaj, International Dean for South Asia, University of Edinburgh