Provide Enough Food for Poor Farmers in India

by Seva Mandir

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.


Dear Friends,

                Thank you for supporting our project for food security among tribal farmers. We are writing to tell you a bit about our recent successes that your contribution has helped us accomplish! The focus of our work in this project lies in recovering, developing, and sharing common pasturelands and forests for the benefit of entire communities. Over 73% of the land in our work area is government-owned common land, and is supposed to be managed and used for the benefit of the entire community.  However, illegal private interests have encroached on much of this land, accruing benefits to powerful individuals and depriving people of their right to the community’s natural resource base. 

               On February 12, Seva Mandir staff along with scores of tribal villagers led a rally to the Office of the Commissioner of Tribal Area Development, in order to bring attention to the local government and community of Udaipur on the issue of inadequate forestland management in the area. The 2006 Forest Rights Act, giving individuals entitlement to land they have encroached upon, has led to problems concerning the protection of forests as a valuable resource for the community as a whole. As a result, the Forest Protection Committees (FPCs) have asked for forestland to be leased to entire communities instead of individuals. We will continue to encourage an open dialogue between the communities and the state.


Here are some of our important accomplishments to date:


   Hectares Reclaimed and Developed: 16,000

   Worth of Fodder Produced Annually on Reclaimed Land: Rs. 4,500,000 (£53,000)

   Forest Protection Committees: 84

   Treated 3,335 hectares of community pastureland

   Constructed 44 lift irrigation systems


Thank you for contributing to the success of this program! We are working hard to maintain this important project and develop new innovations to increase the agricultural productivity of the tribal farmers in southern Rajasthan. On June 12th, GlobalGiving is offering a unique opportunity, matching 50% of your donation, and making your gift go that much further. We hope that you participate in this special day and continue to support all the work that we do.

 Warm regards,





Women farmer growing ginger crop
Women farmer growing ginger crop

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

With this letter, I am very happy to share with you some news and updates about the program you have been supporting.

Since we’ve launched this project on Global Giving, we have managed to raise about $15,000. With a target goal of $40,000, we still have a long way to go.  93% of the population in our work area relies on self-employed agriculture, yet only about 20% of the cropped area is irrigated. In a region as rugged and dry as ours, farmers typically struggle to get a good harvest out of their basic subsistence crops. Our staff is tirelessly working with over 5,000 households, to create a thriving network of farmers who are trained in sustainable agricultural practices that can give the highest yields, while using the least amount of resources.

Below this letter is an exceptional story of how 63 female farmers seized an opportunity to cultivate new crops that contributed greatly to their household nutrition and income, while also reinvesting in the local ecology.

With regards,




This past year, in the villages of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal, the waters retained during the monsoon season (July-Aug) have given farmers the option of sowing valuable cash crops. These three villages are active in Seva Mandir’s watershed development program, which effectively combats land degradation by preventing water and soil from running off the hilly terrain. These watershed development projects are the prerequisites to guaranteeing that the ecosystem not only remains in balance, but also thrives. As in all of Seva Mandir’s initiatives, local ownership is at the heart of the project. Every participating village has a Watershed Development Committee (WDC) responsible for overseeing the project.  Watershed development is a long commitment; it is a commitment to training, to equality in the community, and to the ecosystem. But the rewards are enormous.

With Seva Mandir support, 63 women from the three villages received training on how to grow new cash crops that they have never grown before. The women proposed to cultivate valuable crops such as ginger, turmeric, colocassia (AKA Elephant Ears), yams (ratalu) and safed musli. In addition to receiving Seva Mandir training, the women also convinced their local WDCs to fund their project.

It was a great success. After harvest, the women took their new crops to the markets. They also were able to keep some of the crops for their own household consumption, which introduced a more diverse and nutritious diet to their families. In the end, each woman was able to pocket Rs. 1,000 – 1,500 in profit, after paying back the WDC plus an additional 10% of what they received. In a region where the daily per-capita consumption is less than Rs. 20 a day, this is a substantial amount!

The villages of Dob, Nevaj and Atwal embody much of what is to be aspired in true sustainable development. The villagers united to fight against the degradation of their land. Then, in a society that is traditionally oppressive towards women, the communities let 63 women receive training and lead a project that took advantage of a healthier watershed to cultivate a diverse array of new crops. The communities are actively combining the values of a healthy ecosystem, biodiversity, and gender equality into guaranteeing that they, and their future generations, will always have a meal to eat.






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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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