Provide Enough Food for Poor Farmers in India

by Seva Mandir
Narayan in his Bottle Gourd Farm
Narayan in his Bottle Gourd Farm

Narayan a farmer, 45 years of age and a resident of Cheekhla village. Not only, is he known for his industriousness, but also, for his keen interest in agriculture and horticulture development and an environmental champion in his community. Equally important, in a remote tribal village like Cheekhla, where the state of agriculture is still subsistence, innovative practices to make agriculture more lucrative remains farfetched for small and marginal farmer which constitute the farming population in the region. In this context, Narayan is an exception, all the more, he has become an example for others in the village to follow his lead. Since the year 2000 he has been in close association with Seva Mandir through its Natural Resource Development program. To point out, he has been a pioneer in developing 1000 nursery plants in his village, owing to which these sapling were later used for restoring common lands at other villages.

Furthermore, with the introduction of Package of Best Practices in Vegetable Farming by Seva Mandir to help farmers gain nutrition, food security and livelihood opportunity. He is exemplar by adopting to new methods received through regular training and field demonstration. Likewise, in January 2016 he also attended the training on cultivation of Bottle Gourd by improved seed sowing technique. As a result, his total production of bottle gourd from ½ bigha of farmland and 250 gram of seeds came up to 8 Quintal.

Additionally, he also manages the community seed bank at his house. Another key point, which sets Narayan as a herald of change in his community, is his initiative towards the campaign on 100% open defecation. Likewise, setting an example by constructing a toilet cum bathroom at his house. He remains relentless in advocating the cause of community hygiene and sanitation.  

Narayan is today happy and thank Seva Mandir for all the knowledge and support.

We thank you for showing interest and for your continued support to our Provide Enough Food for Poor Farmers in India” project.


Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team

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Bathroom and Toilet at Narayan
Bathroom and Toilet at Narayan's Home


Since last 48 years, Seva Mandir stands committed to provide impoverished people with food security by developing and conserving natural resources.

Under Natural Resources Development 5000 hectares of common land agricultural intervention with 10,000 families, 12,000 hectares of watershed work, 1500 families with clean drinking water and sanitation, 45 Lift irrigation systems and 76 anicuts (small check dams) have been rejuvenated.

Among all the natural resources development works, the anicut (small check dam) intervention has more significance in terms of conserving rain water and using it throughout the year for irrigation. Each time an anicut and additional irrigation systems are constructed, it helps farmers significantly such as Bhuri. Bhuri (name changed) is a native of Thep village in southern Rajasthan. With the start of thep anicut (small check dam) intervention he became flag weaver for change in uniting community of the village. Before 2005, he was able to grow maize in monsoon season that would only last for 4 months as water was available during monsoon season only. For rest of the months, he would migrate to nearby Gujarat region to sustain his family of 5. After learning of anicut construction in his village, he knew the possible benefits and united the communities for helping hand and contribution. He along with village committee took after the responsibility of opening anicut maintenance account, collection of token money for water and making water sharing norms. After construction of the anicut, apart from maize crop, he is now able to cultivate around 60 quintal of wheat in addition to 8 Quintal  of maize and 2 Quintal of Tuar lentils. He is now also able to cultivate vegetables such as pea, onion, brinjal, chilli and potato in between the crops by which he has earned Rs 6,000 last year, this all has been possible due to availability of water throughout the year.

Today he proudly owns a motorcycle, a pair of cow-ox, and is sending his children to nearby primary school. Thep is only one of such areas that Seva Mandir is helping to develop an irrigation system.

This check dam has not been possible had your support not been there. Thank you so much for your help and support to our food security program for poor farmers. You can help these farmers and Seva Mandir even more by donating on upcoming BONUS DAY –on 15th June beginning at 9:00:01 am EDT (Washington, DC time) on Global Giving. Donations made on Bonus day will be matched by 50% by Global Giving, hence enabling us reach out to many needy farmers link Bhuri.

Please click on the link below to donate: remember – 15th June

Please consider telling your friends and family about our project and special Bonus Day

Thank you


Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team

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Farmer working on his field in southern Rajasthan
Farmer working on his field in southern Rajasthan

Dear Friend,

Thank you for supporting our project “Provide Enough Food for Poor Farmers in India”.

Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood in the Seva Mandir working area, and nearly 93% households are self-employed farmers. Unfortunately, agriculture contributes very little to household incomes and many households even fail to produce enough for their own food security this is due to a variety of factors. Increase in population has led to a decrease in the size of landholdings, and shortage of rainfall outside of the monsoon season makes it difficult for farmers to reap more than one crop a year. Low quality seeds and inefficient practices also decrease productivity levels.

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. New experiments were also conducted in agro-forestry, in which horticulture plants were planted in pastures and private wastelands. These activities were being planted throughout the region, to provide communities with more benefits from their efforts of regenerating their lands. Additionally, vegetable nurseries were raised and the saplings were sold to other farmers in the area, thereby increasing vegetable consumption in tribal families and 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 every year, resulting in low productivity. Hundreds of kilograms of seeds, including maize, black gram, sismum, 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 so much for letting us meet our commitments at the field.  We have been able to benefit more than 10,000 farmers through various interventions. These farmers can now grow enough food in their fields and don’t have to migrate from farming in absence of basic necessities. We hope to continue our work with your support. Should your travel bring you to this part of the world, please do consider visiting Seva Mandir. For any feedback / suggestions, please visit me at


Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team

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Flourished wheat farm
Flourished wheat farm
Women taking vegetables from the farm
Women taking vegetables from the farm
Yield of lemons from a Farmer
Yield of lemons from a Farmer's orchid


Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continuous support to Seva Mandir and people like Saraswati. Just like many other residents of her village, she was also habituated the practice of migrating to far off cities in search of work. Often this phenomenon was complimented with drudgery and exploitation. It was during one of her visits back to her village that she and her husband got the opportunity to attend a Seva Mandir’s meeting about the intervention on horticulture and the livelihoods that could be generated so forth.

And post this meeting there was no looking back. With the help of Seva Mandir, Saraswati developed a lemon orchid on the hill slope behind her house. In her words, “Initially, it was a difficult task, I had to fetch water from the well and carry it in earthen pots all the way uphill to water the plants. After 3 years, I started reaping fruits. I could sell them and save some money. Last year I got a water pump installed in my orchid with the money I saved from selling the lemons. Now I don’t need to carry the pots on my head to water the plants. This year I have sold 200 Kgs of lemons. Now I no longer need to migrate to cities to make ends meet leaving my children behind”.

This year again, Saraswati expects a good earning from her lemon orchid and wish to take care of her children’s needs.

We take this opportunity to thank you for supporting Saraswati and lot of people like her who just need a little support to stand on their feet. 

Through this project, we try to help poor farmers and their families become self sustainable so that they can grow enough food for themselves and don’t have to migrate from their homes to earn a living. Should you have any queries, suggestions or feedback related to the project, please feel free to drop in a mail at

If your travel brings you down to this part of the world we will be more than happy to take you through our work.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!!

Warm Regards,

Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team

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Saraswati in her lemon orchid
Saraswati in her lemon orchid


The issue of farmer suicide flashing on our television screens is a sad reality in the drought prone regions of Rajasthan. The farmers practice rain fed farming as this is the only option available to them in the hilly terrain of south Rajasthan. Hence they are able to grow food that just last for 4 months. In rest of the year, they have to migrate to the cities to work as labor to make their ends meet and still not able to feed their families sufficiently.

Since 1984, Seva Mandir has been working on natural resource development in the area to improve food security of these poor farmers and their families. Watershed activities help increase ground water level along with harvesting rain water and channelizing it to the fields through soil and water conservation activities. Hence, they are able to grow multiple crops in a year.

A happy farmer benefited by the watershed says- “We were always under pressure of thinking how will we feed our families after a few months when the grown crops over. But now our wells don’t run dry in summers and we can grow 3 crops a year. In fact I sold 300 kg wheat this year and got my leaking roof repaired with this money”

While there have been around 10,000 farmers who have been able to sustained their lives through farming, there are still thousands of farmers awaiting to get their hills treated so that they could have enough water for irrigation throughout the year. And to make this possible, we need your help!

Food security brings in financial security too. Please help us making these farmers become secured so that they don’t have to leave farming and migrate to cities to work as labors. Help them grow enough food to feed their families.

Wondering how can you help us? 

Global Giving has come up with this innovative idea of matching donations. From Monday, September 21st through Friday, September 25th, Global Giving will be offering a one-time 100% match on all new recurring donations up to $200 per donor!

Hence we request you to become our recurring donor and help us through your contributions. For queries, questions and insights on our work you can reach out to me at

We thank you from the bottom of our heart for joining hands with us and we look forward for your continued support in eliminating hunger and destitution from the beautiful landscapes of south Rajasthan.

Should your travels bring you to this part of the world, please do consider visiting Seva Mandir.




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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Priyanka Singh
Executive Director
Udaipur, Rajasthan India

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