Shaktichakra, the wheel of energies

Culture and systems of knowledge, cultivation and food, population and consumption


with 23 comments



Food and agriculture is far too important to be left to the formal schools of macro-economics. Energy (like education, health, water and sanitation, decent work) is far too important to be left to business and planners. In this running diary I bring out aspects of current and recent work (including my own) that explain these areas and how they are tied together, sometimes in a complementary way, and which otherwise affect a household, a village, or a tehsil or district.

Over the last decade I have studied rural economies with a focus on agro-ecology, culture and the patterns of contemporary development. I work with one of the Unesco conventions, the 2003 Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage (a term that can be read together with traditional knowledge), and over the several years of my association with this excellent multi-lateral instrument I have trained groups in several countries (of South-East Asia) on its aspects, and have assessed the submissions of governments that have successfully (or not) nominated some remarkable ICH/TK to Unesco.

I am adviser to the Centre for Environment Education Himalaya, whose mandate it is to promote environmental awareness and the adoption of sustainable ways of living in the Indian Himalayan Region. This is achieved by ensuring that recognition is given to the role of environmental education in the promotion of sustainable development, and that social, cultural and technical means towards communities living harmoniously with their environments are employed.


Academia profile

Researchgate profile

On food and agriculture, I have served as a consultant with the National Agricultural Innovation Project in India, a programme under the Ministry of Agriculture. This experience provided an understanding of how the world’s largest national agricultural research system (in terms of number of people and institutes) works, and what its contribution is (and ought to be) to the people of India.

I have worked and continue to with several associations and networks that are concerned with food and agriculture, education, and the decentralisation of planning and governance (swarajya and self-reliance). These include the Economics Research Foundation (New Delhi), the Centre for Social Markets (Bangalore) which is the host organisation for Fairtrade India, and the Centre for Communication and Development Studies (Pune, Maharashtra) which is the patron organisation of the excellent Infochange India, a development news and features website that has for ten years done steadily and quietly what the mainstream media has not.

To write to me, please send an email to this id: makanaka [at] pobox [dot] com


Written by makanaka

May 20, 2008 at 08:53

23 Responses

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  1. So glad I found your blog, it’s fantastic.

    I have been reading Sir Albert Howard and preparing to start a local foods job with the Americorp in rural West Virginia.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Joe Heathcock

    November 28, 2010 at 13:48

    • Dear Joe. Thanks for the encouragement. Howard is a terrific read. He and Yashwant Wad did some remarkable work on low input farming. I’d run across a link some time ago to some of his writing which was available as an ebook. Have you seen this collection?


      November 28, 2010 at 14:45

  2. Stumbled across your blog whilst doing research for my job and love it! Very informative and impressive.

    Alyssa Duncan

    January 13, 2011 at 12:53

  3. I love your blog and your use of pictures and graphs. It helps to understand issues discussed better. Also your blog is very professional. Keep it up.

    Waleed J

    November 24, 2011 at 14:42

  4. Was searching for an International Market Researcher for Agricultural products n came across your blog post. Would love it if we could connect on my id

    Pratik Deo

    December 13, 2011 at 14:00

  5. What a nice discovery – I have developed a huge interest in Food Security. I have just started my blog on Wild Resource (Seafood utilisation) – however I I am keen to learn more about the interface between food production and rent distribution/development – something I can see you have discussed quite widely.I definately have to spend some time reading this blog.


    February 7, 2012 at 15:04

  6. Hi Makanaka !
    I really love your blog, I’d be very interested in using some of your pictures – especially those concerning India for the moment – for my own website on poverty (

    What I usually do in this case is that I leave an attribution to the author (“photo courtesy of …”) and a link back to the original page/article. Would that work for you?

    Would love to work on some project with you one day :).
    Awesome work you’ve got here.



    April 3, 2012 at 13:17

  7. Love it and Thanks!!

    pramod mane

    May 1, 2012 at 19:34

  8. Your blog is very informative and analytical. Keep it up.

    Devinder Sharma

    January 14, 2013 at 13:10

    • Thank you Devinderji, your work is a guide.


      January 18, 2013 at 18:16

  9. I am happy to read your blogs.
    Thanks for bringing these interesting articles.

    Shanti Gupta

    January 26, 2013 at 17:43

  10. Dear Makanaka,

    I chanced upon your blog while doing some research. Your articles are insightful and have added few of them to my research repository.

    I have been working in Orissa with a group of rice farmers for a few years now. While we have been working on bettering the farming techniques and trade through stronger supply chain models, we are now looking at mainstream food processing of grains and by-product/waste management. Perhaps, go retail with some products. With your continued endeavours in food and farming research, it’d be a privilege to meet you or work with you some day.

    Thanks for sharing your inputs through your blogs.

    Best wishes.

    Sudeshna Das

    August 22, 2013 at 13:42

    • Dear Sudeshna, thank you for your kind message. The work you are doing in Odisha must be a great support to the cultivators. I’m glad you find my articles useful, they come out of study and observation of the food and agriculture transformation under way in India, much of which leaves me extremely worried.


      August 29, 2013 at 17:37

  11. The information on your blog is mind boggling. I came across your blog while searching water scarcity. One of the visible drawbacks of population explosion.


    November 28, 2013 at 10:39

    • Thank you for the appreciative comments Neel. This is public information, a bit tiresome to sift through and to organise, but valuable when we do. You’ve given me a good reminder about water, it’s time to look at what the storage numbers are (the major reservoirs data, Central Water Commission).


      November 29, 2013 at 09:36

  12. Dear Makanaka,

    Your articles are extremely well written and insightful. I’d love to talk to you more about your work and tell you a bit about Leaders’ Quest, the organisation I work for. It is a social enterprise committed to improving the quality and impact of senior leaders all over the world. We are working with a global foundation on the specific topic of post-harvest food waste and spoilage in Mumbai and its environs. We will be designing a programme to expose them to issues on the ground in addition to innovative solutions related to warehousing, transport, micro finance and other logistics around this.

    I would love to connect with you as you are an expert in this field. We’d also love to explore the opportunity for your involvement in this programme. You can read more about our work here –

    If you share your email with me, I’d be happy to send you more information about this and also perhaps meet.

    I hope to hear from you soon!


    Natasha Parekh

    December 9, 2013 at 20:31

  13. Your name…reminds us of an expression often used in Mapuca/Mapusa market…are you in any way connected to Goa? We got connected to your blog whilst searching for information on Himalayan dams: while there is a lot of data on the highest dams constructed, planned or under construction, there is very little organised information of the highest located dams. We are an organisation based in Manipur, and presently this FB page is being managed by Roy Laifungbam, Prez. Cheers and have a nice day!

    Core Manipur

    July 8, 2014 at 12:10

    • Nice to hear from the NE! Right you are as I live in Goa. Dams in the NE – will look for the numbers in the register of large dams. Will certainly visit your fb page, and hope to revisit Manipur soon (was there last well over 15 years ago).


      July 16, 2014 at 11:25

  14. Keep up the great work! I always see a dearth of such discussions and data exchange when it comes to developing nations especially India. All of internet is about the US and Western Europe. Your blog is like an outstanding initiative in bringing these discussions to the general public.


    July 10, 2014 at 20:03

    • Thanks very much for the encouragement and do let us know of any similar work you’re doing.


      July 16, 2014 at 11:27

  15. Rahul, your blog is a labour of love. Kudos! I chanced upon it while looking for information on rural/ urban trends in Maharashtra. My interests are in rural education and health/ fitness. Would love to connect with you some time to get your perspective on Maharashtra and southern states of India.


    • Thank you. Sorry for the delay replying. Administrative view about land gets in the way of the ecological view and ignores traditional knowledge. Worse, economists know next to nothing about crops and cultivation, but make policy.


      October 17, 2018 at 13:57

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