Transforming lives and landscape in villages and farmers across India
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Transforming lives and landscape in villages and farmers across India

By auther pic. CSRBOX

May 1, 2019

Transforming lives and landscape in villages and farmers across India

ITC's Sustainable Agricultural Practices Initiative

The Indian farmer is largely dependent on monsoon and frequently set back by poor or untimely rainfall. The vast majority owns small low productive plots; lacks the ability to invest and access to any alternative. ITC is working with farmers in 17 states to make agriculture sustainable and productive all round the year. For which ITC is implementing three-dimensional strategies – 1. Natural Resource Management, 2. Capacity – Building and 3. Knowledge Dissemination.

 

The strategy assures critical irrigation for Kharif and Rabi crops. It enables the farmer to adopt sustainable farm practices and farm mechanization. It helps them to create a community institution to manage change. Munger is a typical paddy and wheat growing area. Uncertain rain and the time it takes to sow wheat-paddy makes the Rabi crops unpredictable. Many males migrate with summer, leaving women to grow paddy in the rain. One crop and low productivity threaten family livelihoods and food security.

 

ITC united the farmers to fight their root cause first. They formed ‘Water-user group’ and rehabilitated defunct water harvesting structures, dam and check dams which user groups maintain and manage. Harvesting rainwater assures critical irrigation in the Kharif and Rabi season.

 

A beneficiary farmer says – ‘All farmers benefitted from ITC’s interventions. Before, we couldn’t water wheat even once. Now the farmers can water three times.’

 

To enable farmers to take full advantage of the change, ITC teamed up with Munger’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra and started farmer field schools, teaching farmers to use improved seeds, organic fertilizer, and pesticides. Mechanization was essential to be able to quickly plant wheat after paddy. To make the use of farm machinery affordable, ITC assisted farmers to start custom hiring. Friendly-rates for renting the machinery during the peak season has shortened the efforts of small farmers. The zero tillage machines made it possible to sow wheat, right after cutting paddy. Machine tilling optimizes seed growth and increase farmers productivity per acre. Ripping machine speeded up harvesting time.

 

Another beneficiary farmer says – ‘We are getting 240 quintals of wheat. The machine has doubled the output. Using the machine, we can harvest 1 acre in an hour. We save a lot in labor cost.’

 

To expand the role of women in farming, ITC started field schools for them. Seizing the initiatives, women started their own hiring center. Three community institutions are enabling farmers to sustain hire farm products – 1. Water user groups 2. Farmer field schools 3. Custom hiring centers.

 

Farmers now think differently. Before using fertilizers, they have their soil tested out at the field lab supported by ITC. Farmers are producing their own wormy-composts. As the farmer’s income rose, they were helped to diversify their income by growing vegetables and fruits. Nurseries made seeds and saplings available to farmers. With fodder plentiful, farmers added second income by buying livestock. As families prospered, they spent on better education for children.

 

‘For three months nothing grew on my land. But once we received know-how from ITC, we began growing pulses and maize. Now instead of migrating, people are staying here and farming because the benefit more than by migrating, and can be with their children and families.’- says a beneficiary farmer.

 

ITC is building sustainable livelihood based on agriculture. Making agriculture a sustainable source of income and is transforming lives and landscape in villages and farmers across India.

 

 

ITC’s sustainable agricultural practices initiative has benefitted over 2,05,700 farmers across 17 states.

 

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