Provide Enough Food for Poor Farmers in India

by Seva Mandir

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.


Atul Lekhra


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.


Atul Lekhra 


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.


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.

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 


Photo of a villager at Bheroti Village
Photo of a villager at Bheroti Village


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Hope you are well. I like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now be communicating with you through these project reports. I am glad to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.

Today I want to share with you story of Bheroti village.

Lift irrigation was installed at Bheroti village of Jhadol block. The system is installed near a perennial river known as Vakal. The village itself is surrounded by hillocks. The water runoff is very high. The river is the only constant source of water for the surrounding villages.  Cropping pattern is completely rainfed in this village. So, in Kharif season the main crops grown are Maize, Black Gram, Rice, Pigeon pea, and Sismon. In Rabi season, in the region where there are land containing some soil moisture there, farmers cultivate few crops namely Mustard, Gram and Wheat.  Seva Mandir has been working in the village for a long time. In Biroti village, of jhadol block  Seva Mandir has been working on non formal education center (NFE), Balwadi (Pre Nursery school) and for women empowerment a Self Help Group (SHG) has been developed. In consultation with the community Seva Mandir along with Gram Vikas Committee (Village Development Committee) thought of installing a lift irrigation system. This system will help in fully utilizing the river nearby. And so the irrigation system was installed. The system has benefited 20 cultivators in 13 hectares of comman area and it has supported in realization of three cropping pattern for the beneficiaries. Importantly, during uncertain monsoon period these cultivators are benefitting with life saving irrigation for the crops. This system is managed and maintained by the cultivators themselves.

In Kharif season 11 cultivators’ sowed 55 kgs. of Maize and in return they harvested 2200 kgs. of Maize. During Kharif season three cultivators harvested 80 kgs of Musli (medicinal plant). One cultivator harvest vegetables and was benefited with an income of Rs. 2000. During Rabi season, seventeen cultivators sowed 622 kgs of Wheat and harvested 9300 kgs. At present in zaid season, six cultivators has sowed green grams.

From food security point of view, we can say that cultivators are more secure now due to irrigation system. Earlier
in lieu of uncertain monsoon cultivators had just Kharif season, but now due to the irrigation system, they can harvest for three seasons. Now cultivators enjoy increased and stable income.

Much of this success is also due to your untiring support. It is a great partnership and we hope to continue having
you by our side. We really appreciate the trust you have shown in us. Please do let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you again.

Atul Lekhra.



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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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