Improving Food Security for Tribal Farmers

 
$19,405
$20,595
Raised
Remaining
Dec 9, 2014

Improving Food Security

Dear Friends,

Food insecurity, fully or partly, is an imperative concern of households in our region. According to a recent study, 10.2% households reported cutting or skipping meals in the last one year due to a shortage of food. However, this somewhat low figure belies the more serious situation that is most clearly revealed in the high rates of malnutrition amongst both children and adults. In this region, the size and quality of agriculture land cultivated by a household directly affects the amount and variety of food available for consumption. Furthermore, this being a drought-prone area with receiving scarce and erratic annual rainfall, access to sufficient irrigation facilities is another factor determining food security. Availability of all components constituting a daily staple food is important for fulfilling the nutritional requirements of the population.

Seva Mandir, through its interventions for watershed, water resources and agriculture development undertaken since last two decades, has been working to enhance the quality, i.e. productivity, of arable lands. Treatment of land and drainage-line together with creation of irrigation facilities- have significantly increased the productivity, while emergence of opportunities to take 2-3 crops a year increased the annual crop production for the families. In Dhala village where watershed was completed 3 years back, production of wheat of 24 farmers have risen to 239 qntl from 39.4 qntl of pre-project. Similarly, in another watershed village of Babri-Gadunia, farmers got 139.15 qntl of wheat that was hardly grown by them earlier. At the same time, in 14 Lift Irrigation System installed during last 5 years, wheat was grown earlier in the command areas of only 3 systems. Nevertheless, farmers of all 14 lifts grew wheat and obtained a production of 842.90 with the productivity of 12.64 qntl/ha.

Another major transformation that has happened through these activities is the change in cropping pattern in these associated villages. Earlier, only a few crops, like maize, black gram, rice, wheat, gram, mustard etc. were taken in monsoon and winter months. However, currently with better land conditions and availability of water, farmers have started taking new crops like pigeon pea, lusen, sismum, vegetables, barley etc. Some farmers who have more water are also taking the third crop in summer months. In a few places, farmers are also shifting onto cash crops, which are helping them in meeting the gap of cash. For example, in Damana, 16 farmers last year grew 82 qntl of Garlic with a market value of Rs. 2 to 3 lacs.

Change in productivity and production has contributed significantly in improving the food security of many households in these villages. Whilst we still lack enough data to substantiate this claim, during our interaction at various places, communities clearly shared that the need of purchasing food grains has reduced substantially for several families. Many of them do not have to buy their food grains from merchants, means a saving in their cash. At the same time, encouraging farmers to diversify their agriculture and providing them with vegetable seeds and fruit trees have benefited in two folds- households are getting green vegetables and fruits more in their food, and source of additional income is created mitigating their risk of being dependent on only one crop.

Some special studies will also be conducted to determine the impacts of our interventions on the food security of children, including change in their nutritional status. Further, a study was conducted by Seva Mandir in collaboration with SIPA, University of Columbia with an aim to develop a Toolkit for Assessing the Food Security in our region. The study helped in deriving various indicators- including nutritional status, which can be used to measure food security. We shall also try to include some of these indicators in our organisational programme monitoring and evaluation system.

Thank you so much Friends for your support.

Regards

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

Sep 9, 2014

New Hope for 1000 Women.. Thank You

Dear Friends,

Burhi is one of the 1000 women benefiting from our Wadi (small orchard) Project in the remote Guda village, Rajasthan.

A village where community is ruled by patriarchal norms, where land is never registered on the woman’s name, Seva Mandir has distributed wadi’s in the name of these tribal women. Burhi is the proud owner of her lemon, mango, jack fruit and vegetable wadi. Last year she earned Rs. 7,000 by selling vegetables. She is happy that now she can contribute to her family’s wellbeing.

These wadi’s are also providing food security to these tribal families. Before this, they had to migrate to neighboring states for employment and food. But with wadi’s on their own and support by Seva Mandir, these families are now self-sustained. This project is still in its third year and we hope to see the best of results by the end of seven year.

Thank you for your support.

Regards

Atul Lekhra

Links:

Jun 6, 2014

Your Support is Changing Lives

Dear Friends,

Today is World Environment Day, so I thought of sharing with you a good story of Jardaya village.

Experience sharing of Jardaya Pastureland development by Mohan Lal

Mohan Lal is a resident of Jardaya village in Kumbhalgarh block. Mohan Lal has a family of ten members amongst whom 5 are male and 5 are female. In livestock he consists of 2 buffalo, 2 ox, 3 cows and 20 goats.

In this paper Mohan Lal has shared his experience of a Jardaya pastureland spread in an area of 85 bighas.

During the discussion Mohan Lal shared that before this land was developed as a pastureland, the land was seen to be as a wasteland. The land was of no use, only animal wander and used to rest here. Also there was always a fear of encroachment to be done by the villagers who many a times construct pits or do fencing of the area. Looking at the speed and frequency of the encroachments it seemed that the land will disappear slowly and will be of no use to the villagers. There was also a fear that the land will be undertaken by the political parties or by other powerful people of the village.

In the year 2008, some development work was done under NREGA (a government program) on this pastureland but due to completion of allotted budget incomplete boundary wall was constructed along with a check dam and few jatropha seeds were sown. There was always a discussion done in the Village Development Committee meetings that this land should be closed and protected at the same time or else even the stones of the boundary wall constructed will also be stolen.

A proposal was thus written and given to Seva Mandir to carry out the task whereas; revenue records and trace maps were obtained for the same. Following this, a survey was done by Seva Mandir people along with their engineer visiting and inspecting the site. An estimated budget of Rs 2.85 lakh was prepared in which investment was shown to be done in activities like boundary wall construction, developing trenches, pit digging and plantation. All the activities were successfully carried on. 

After sanction when work was started, the illegal encroachments were removed from the site by village committee due to which about 2 hectares of land was cleared. The activities like Plantation, pit digging and developing trenches were completed in June 2011. A sum of 6360 saplings was planted in July 2011 with the onset of monsoon. The task was undertaken with quality of work and was accomplished timely. The Pastureland is attached to a road that lead to Damar which has a bridge built over it through which livestock enters into the developed pastureland and thus, destroys the plants. The part was then protected by the wire fencing.

After completion of the task in this pasture land it can be said that earlier in this land only stones were seen but now there is greenery all around. The view of this gives peace to heart. This year due to protection and proper soil-water conservation custard apple plants become able for fruiting. There is good regeneration of grass species. Villagers are now this year planning to harvest during November-December. The protected and regenerated Rungiya plants developed good leaf foliage which also helps as fodder for small ruminants. Earlier, due to less availability of fodder I was not willing to keep livestock but now I am thinking of buying a buffalo.

After plantation, number of meetings was organized with villagers to develop protection and management systems. After 2-3 meetings, a guard Deva ji was appointed by village committee to guard and protect the planted pastureland. They also decided to give 4 kg food grains by each family/ year to Deva ji for protecting the pastureland. They also decided that anybody tried to harm the pasture or planted tree, he will deposit Rs. 500 as penalty in Village Development Fund and Rs. 101/cattle by the owner.

During the period January to June, the 300 feet damaged boundary wall was repaired by villagers by their own contribution. Sums of 2500 saplings were also replanted in July 2012.

I sincerely feel that if this pastureland was not been developed our children would have only seen encroached lands as this was done speedily in the villages. Also, this year MGNREGA (a government employment program) work has not been taken in our village and thus there wasn’t any employment opportunity but due to the work of pastureland every family got employed.

Future plans:

Due to availability of fodder villagers will be encourage to keep livestock. Fruits obtained from the land will be sold and the money will be deposited in the Village Development Fund which further can be utilized for village development or any important task of the villagers. Fuel wood availability will also be easy and accessible.

This activity will also have good impact on environment as the mining work has been started in the nearby private lands which is destroying the ecological balance and this activity will bring greenery and life to the place and will be a boon for all 145 families residing in this village.

Mohan Lal concluded by saying that ”It has been our prior responsibility to protect and maintain this pastureland for coming years.”

Thank you so much friends for supporting our program, which is changing so many lives.

Regards

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

Mar 6, 2014

Regeneration of Pasturelands : Providing a ray of hope to many lives

Thank you all for supporting us. Your support continues to enable Seva Mandir to provide food security to several tribal.

Sharing experiences of Pastureland development:

Uma Shankar (name changed to maintain the privacy of the person), was born and brought up in a revenue village, Kaylo ka Guda to a family that depended on agrarian activities for income. His father held a total of 30 bighas of land (1 bigha=0.4 hectare), out of which only 6 bigha could be used for irrigational purposes. Along with taking the responsibility of his family, he also took the initiative of involving himself in social work in his village.He shared some of his experiences regarding the importance of food security below.

Located in the south-west range of Aravali, the revenue village Kaylo ka Guda is at a distance of 23 km from Udaipur. This revenue village consists of 3 hamlets namely – Naron ka Guda, Chain ka Bhilwada and Kaylo ka Guda. Around 170 families reside in this village.

Problem faced before Pastureland development:

Almost a decade back, fodder was purchased from outside to feed the livestock in the village. However, there was plenty of land that was under the Panchayat (local level governing body) that remained fallow for the longest time.

This village came under the Seva Mandir work area through its Adult literacy programme and then after few years of working, Seva Mandir sought to develop 6 pasturelands as per the need and demand. All of the 150 families residing here used the grass obtained from this land and thus, there was no need of purchasing fodder from outside. However, open grazing and unprotected pastureland resulted in less productivity of the land therefore resulting in less fodder in the village. Continuous meetings with villagers led to conflict resolution and it was decided that the villagers would help construct the boundary wall and that they would help with soil-water conservation and plantation. With the help of village contribution all these three pasturelands namely – teen munda pastureland, unda khadra pastureland and bhamthara pastureland were re- developed and 10,352 saplings were planted.

 Work accomplished

The repair and maintenance work of these pasturelands was also done. Identification of sites, village meetings, trainings with villagers, raising of seedlings for plantation, re- construction of boundary wall, soil-water conservation, pit digging, direct seeding of grass and indigenous forest species were completed before the onset of monsoon. Saplings were planted in the month of July- August. A total of 1365 person-days was involved in the task execution. Presently all the 3 pasturelands of Kaylo ka Guda are maintained and protected.

Impact:

When these pasturelands were not protected, the villagers used to purchase fodder for their livestock from outside their villages but now the fodder is easily available in these lands. Money saved through this is now used for other important activities. Work done in these pasturelands proved to be useful and it seems that productivity this time will be ample. The drudgery of women also reduced as they earlier had to travel a long distance to get fodder for their livestock which now is easily available at their village, 10352 saplings were planted resulting into a developed forest land.

Dec 11, 2013

New Hopes....... Thanks to You

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir

Thank you for your continued support to our project ‘Improving Food Security for Tribal Farmers’.

With your support we are about to begin a new year and are excited about the hopes and challenges it will bring. And at this year end, we would like to share with you a case study of Bed village. So that you come to know how exactly YOUR support is creating real change.

A case study of Pastureland in Bed Village (Girwa Block)

The village has 43.5 hectare of pastureland in which villagers constructed boundary wall in the year 1980-81 with the help of Panchayat (Local Government Body) and did some land development work. People from nearby villages tried to encroach the land and also destroyed the pastureland by breaking the boundary wall. After this incident, villagers of Bed came together, did meetings and tried and removed encroachments. From then onwards villagers started taking care of the pastureland by themselves.

This pastureland is 1-2 km away from the village because of which there was always a fear of encroachment from outsiders. Then later on in the year 2007-2008, Gram Samuh (Village Group) people made a contact with Seva Mandir office in Shisvi and took part in the meetings conducted by the organization frequently. Villagers were very much influenced by the pastureland pattern adopted by villagers of Kemri and thus discussed this with the people of the organization so as to develop the same in their area. In the year 2009-10, the task got approved and different works like construction of boundary wall, soil-water conservation works like contour trenches, check dams and plantation work was completed. As per Seva Mandir’s rule, 10% of the contribution amount was collected and deposited in Gram Vikas Kosh (GVK)-[Village Development Fund]. In the initial period, villagers took care of the pastureland by a system called by them as “Suiya System” in which every day one household went for the protection of pasture turn by turn. Then, lately a guard named Bhura was appointed for the task. As a result of protection, in the very first year there was ample grass grown in the field. The grass grown was then collected by the farmers keeping Rs 25 as a token money. Altogether 20 family’s harvested grass in the field for 8 days and each family used to carry 25 bundles of grass daily.

Following this, in the year 2010, keeping the token money as Rs 40 total of 21 families took 35 bundles of grass collected from the field for 8 days. In the year 2011, the families took grass for Rs 25 per bundle.

In another project plantation work was done in July 2011 in which 5820 saplings were planted to cover the barren patches in the pastureland. Around 50 families were employed. These families were able to earn Rs. 2250 per month.

According to the village committee members, the biggest impact of pastureland treatment and development process has been increased unity among the villagers, apart from large amount of grass production.

We are able to make these progresses because of YOU. We look forward to your support and thoughts. Wish you a very happy holiday season to you and your family. 

Best Wishes,

Atul Lekhra 

Links:

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Organization

Seva Mandir

Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
http://www.sevamandir.org

Project Leader

Priyanka Singh

Executive Director
Udaipur, Rajasthan India

Where is this project located?

Map of Improving Food Security for Tribal Farmers