“The first essential component of all social justice is adequate food for all mankind, food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” – Norman Borlaug, Nobel Laureate
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood in Seva Mandir’s working area, with nearly 93% of households being self-employed farming families. Unfortunately, agriculture contributes very little to household incomes and many even fail to produce enough for their own food security due to a variety of factors. The increasing population has led to a decrease in the size of landholdings, and the shortage of rainfall outside of the monsoon season makes it difficult for farmers to reap more than one crop a year. Furthering this problem is the low quality seeds and inefficient practices that lead to a decreased productivity level.
Over the past years, Seva Mandir has identified and promoted a range of activities to address the challenges of agricultural development in the area. In previous years, horticulture badis (orchards) were raised across all blocks. Saplings of various fruit trees, including gooseberry, lemon, mango and guava were planted in these badis.
With the help of Seva Mandir, Pooja developed a beautiful and productive lemon orchard on the hill behind her house. Pooja proudly tells us; “I sold 200 kgs of lemons last year. Now I no longer need to migrate to far away cities to make ends meet, leaving my children behind”. This year, Pooja again expects to make a good earning from her lemon orchard so that she will be able to take care of her children’s needs.
Modern experiments were also conducted in agro-forestry, in which a variety of fruits were planted in pastures and private wastelands. This experiment was being conducted throughout Seva Mandir’s region, to provide communities with increased benefits from their regenerated lands. Additionally, vegetable nurseries were created and the saplings were sold to other farmers in the area, thereby increasing vegetable consumption in tribal families (and thus their nutritional intake) whilst providing them with an opportunity to sell excess produce as cash crops.
Farmers in our region largely use the same seeds for many years or use hybrid seeds that have to be replaced constantly, resulting in low productivity. Hundreds of kilograms of seeds, including maize, black gram, sesame, kulat and green gram were supplied to farmers of various villages in order to revitalize seed supplies. New seed banks for wheat, gram, and maize were also established, providing a means to replenish and store seed varieties.
Other activities that have contributed to agricultural development include the construction of vermi-compost beds to provide a source of organic fertilizer and animal husbandry camps that provide vaccination to cattle.
Through these ventures, Seva Mandir has provided farmers in the region with an opportunity to revitalize depleted resources, sustain their traditional methods of production, and eventually generate new sources of income.
All this has been possible due to your consistent support and trust in us. We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us. We have been able to benefit more than 10,000 farmers through various interventions because of you. These farmers can now grow enough food in their fields and don’t have to migrate from farming in absence of basic necessities.
We are proud to share that Seva Mandir has been featured in a The New York Times article! One of our GlobalGiving campaigns has been selected as an alternative way to give a gift this Christmas. The link to the article is https://goo.gl/sCxFGC
Also, GlobalGiving's “Year End Campaign” has begun! Until the end of December, all recurring donations up to $200 will be 100% matched throughout the campaign, and whichever organisation achieves the most funds during the campaign will receive $2,000 from GlobalGiving!
Help Seva Mandir achieve these goals this December by donating on our GlobalGiving page!
Thank you so much.
Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team
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