Last Updated:  11/05/2020

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Project Pitch By: The Himalayan Ecology & Treatment of Natural Agriculture Samiti

 

Proposed Project Title


Climate Resilient Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Practices

 

Thematic Area

Ensuring environmental sustainability, ecological balance, wildlife & natural resources conservation

Sub Thematic Area

Natural Resources Conservation

Project Synopsis

The rain-fed mountain agriculture in the middle Himalayas of Uttarakhand is passing through its existential crisis, which is accentuated mainly due to land degradation caused by topsoil runoff. Over the years the crisis exacerbated due to green revolution effects resulting in the sharp decline in yields. Soil health continues to further degrade and caused moisture stress, nutrients, and microbes loss, affecting the biodiversity and environment. As a result of this, hill smallholders were left with no choice but to abandon farming in search of alternative livelihoods. The solution lies in promoting climate-resilient, sustainable farming practices of ecofriendly high nutrient crops of Himalayan millet and leguminous pulses based on indigenous knowledge of natural farming practices as well as modern organic methodologies. The natural farming practices are helpful in mitigating soil erosion, whereas modern organic methods are quite helpful in increasing production and value addition.
 
 
 

Overview of the Proposed Project

Estimated Budget
INR 0.3 Cr - INR 0.6 Cr
Proposed Location
Uttarakhand, District Uttarkashi, Block Chinyalisaur

Key Project Partners
NGOs,Gram Panchayat

Project Status
Proposed
 

Facts

Beneficiary Type (Primary): General
Beneficiary Type (Secondary): Women
Estimated No. of Beneficiaries: 100 - 500 Families
Status of Baseline Survey: Under Process
 
 
 

Proposed Project Description

 

Problem statement:  The rain fed mountain agriculture, in the middle Himalayas of Uttarakhand, is passing through its existential crisis, which is accentuated mainly due to land degradation caused by   topsoil runoff.   Over the years the crisis exacerbated due to green revolution effects, which encouraged the use of chemicals in the hope of modernization of agriculture to arrest the increasing land infertility as well as a decline in yields. As a result of this, soil health further degraded with constant loss of moisture, nutrients and microbes affecting the biodiversity and environment. With the continuous decline in yields and inability to restore the soil fertility to arrest the loss due to the high labor intensity in the absence of any government incentive, the hill smallholders left with no choice but to abandon the farming in search of alternative livelihoods. The mountain agriculture has also undergone a change and new hybrid seeds, crops, land use and use of fertilizers and pesticides to retain soil fertility and control of crop diseases have become more susceptible to climate change. Global warming primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions results in ice melts, sea level rising and variations in precipitations, have posed a new challenge to survival of mountain agriculture and its dependents the smallholders. Vagaries of monsoon and extreme weather fluctuations have not only caused soil moisture stress and surface soil erosion in the extreme situation of droughts and floods, but also made the crops susceptible to withstand it. The result is unabated soil degradation accelerated by moisture and nutrient loss, thus leaving the large tracts of dry land uncultivated. 
 
Solution:  The solution lies in an integrated approach on climate resilient sustainable agriculture practices combined with a technological package of indigenous knowledge and modern organic methodologies.  The natural agriculture practice is a methodology of cultivation, which is not only ecofriendly, but also flexible to climate changes. For example, crop selection to dry land farming was as such that which can resist extreme weather variations like droughts and excess moisture conditions. Himalayan millets and leguminous pulses are such crops.  Moreover their mixed cropping and crop rotation also obstruct the surface soil erosion by providing a good canopy over through leaves and layer of residues and prevent rain drops directly biting the soil surface. Another practice, leaving a part of land fallow for one crop season also not only provides time for soil to regain fertility, but also help in mitigating soil erosion. This agriculture practice is highly livestock supported as the soil fertility is highly dependent on a huge supply of manure compost. But with the sharp decline of livestock, organic method of composting and bio-fertilizer can compensate. Hence the need arises to integrate modern organic farming methodology with natural agricultural practices. The organic methods are not only restricted to biomass composting production of bio-fertilizer, but also needed in rainwater harvesting methods, improved cultivation techniques, seed treatment and conservation, disease control and pest management, post-harvest management and certification.
 
Objectives:
To restore ecofriendly agricultural practice to preserve biodiversity and the environment.
To adopt an integrated approach of organic farming consisting of traditional and modern knowledge to mitigate soil erosion, restore soil health and increase productivity with promotion of low agricultural inputs and reduction in cost of cultivation.
To inculcate climate resilience adaptable tendencies among smallholders to achieve sustainability in farming practice as well as production.
To encourage optimum use of the natural resource base for soil fertility, disease control and increase in production to enhance the socioeconomic condition of the smallholders.
To promote crop varieties which are more tolerant to extreme weather fluctuations, resistant to erosion and capable absorb more the carbon from the atmosphere.
To value addition of the crops through post-harvest management and organic certification to stimulate market demand.
 
Beneficiaries: The main and direct beneficiaries are smallholders consisting mainly of marginal farmers with an average holding of 0.6 hectares.  With the migration of male members in search of livelihoods, it is the women who shoulder the responsibility of keeping the agricultural activities alive and they can be the vanguard of taking any new technology to the fields. Therefore, the real direct beneficiary amongst smallholders would be the women farmers. The indirect beneficiaries would be consumers, market forces and other stakeholders. 
 
Outcomes:
Increase in awareness and sensitivity to ecofriendly agriculture practices
Adoption of sustainable agriculture practices to conserve natural resources
Increase in soil moisture and restoration of soil nutrients and microbes
Increase in land fertility, productivity, crop production and nutritional value
Food security and enhanced nutrition
Increased inclination towards climate adapts agriculture
Resource use efficiency in various stockholders
Higher prices of crops through organic certification
Increase in family income of smallholders
Increase in biodiversity and the environment in longer term
Activities:
Identification and selection of a project area on pilot basis, its baseline and dynamics
Identification of different stakeholders, their roles and participation
Team formation, training on project theme, time bound work assignment to each member with role and responsibility.
Preparation and development of technology package and training module.
Formation of groups of direct stakeholders and their capacity building on management.
Phase wise awareness raising activities like meeting, group discussion, workshop etc.
Schedule of organization of training and exposures.
On field demonstrations and trials.
Replication of technology interventions.
Value chain, organic certification and market management
Withdrawal
 
The project is based on cost sharing; 90:10 percent ratio. 90 percent corporate grants and 10 percent stakeholders share.

Problem statement: The rain fed mountain agriculture, in the middle Himalayas of Uttarakhand, is passing through its existential crisis, which is accentuated mainly due to land degradation caused by   topsoil runoff.  Over the years the crisis exacerbated due to green revolution effects, which encouraged the use of chemicals in the hope of modernization of agriculture to arrest the increasing land infertility as well as a decline in yields. As a result of this, soil health further degraded with constant loss of moisture, nutrients and microbes affecting the biodiversity and environment. With the continuous decline in yields and inability to restore the soil fertility to arrest the loss due to the high labor intensity in the absence of any government incentive, the hill smallholders left with no choice but to abandon the farming in search of alternative livelihoods. The mountain agriculture has also undergone a change and new hybrid seeds, crops, land use and use of fertilizers and pesticides to retain soil fertility and control of crop diseases have become more susceptible to climate change. Global warming primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions results in ice melts, sea level rising and variations in precipitations, have posed a new challenge to survival of mountain agriculture and its dependents the smallholders. Vagaries of monsoon and extreme weather fluctuations have not only caused soil moisture stress and surface soil erosion in the extreme situation of droughts and floods, but also made the crops susceptible to withstand it. The result is unabated soil degradation accelerated by moisture and nutrient loss, thus leaving the large tracts of dry land uncultivated. 


Solution: The solution lies in an integrated approach on climate resilient sustainable agriculture practices combined with a technological package of indigenous knowledge and modern organic methodologies.  The natural agriculture practice is a methodology of cultivation, which is not only ecofriendly, but also flexible to climate changes. For example, crop selection to dry land farming was as such that which can resist extreme weather variations like droughts and excess moisture conditions. Himalayan millets and leguminous pulses are such crops.  Moreover their mixed cropping and crop rotation also obstruct the surface soil erosion by providing a good canopy over through leaves and layer of residues and prevent rain drops directly biting the soil surface. Another practice, leaving a part of land fallow for one crop season also not only provides time for soil to regain fertility, but also help in mitigating soil erosion. This agriculture practice is highly livestock supported as the soil fertility is highly dependent on a huge supply of manure compost. But with the sharp decline of livestock, organic method of composting and bio-fertilizer can compensate. Hence the need arises to integrate modern organic farming methodology with natural agricultural practices. The organic methods are not only restricted to biomass composting production of bio-fertilizer, but also needed in rainwater harvesting methods, improved cultivation techniques, seed treatment and conservation, disease control and pest management, post-harvest management and certification.


Objectives:

  • To restore ecofriendly agricultural practice to preserve biodiversity and the environment.
  • To adopt an integrated approach of organic farming consisting of traditional and modern knowledge to mitigate soil erosion, restore soil health and increase productivity with promotion of low agricultural inputs and reduction in cost of cultivation.
  • To inculcate climate resilience adaptable tendencies among smallholders to achieve sustainability in farming practice as well as production.
  • To encourage optimum use of the natural resource base for soil fertility, disease control and increase in production to enhance the socioeconomic condition of the smallholders.
  • To promote crop varieties which are more tolerant to extreme weather fluctuations, resistant to erosion and capable absorb more the carbon from the atmosphere.
  • To value addition of the crops through post-harvest management and organic certification to stimulate market demand.


Beneficiaries: The main and direct beneficiaries are smallholders consisting mainly of marginal farmers with an average holding of 0.6 hectares.  With the migration of male members in search of livelihoods, it is the women who shoulder the responsibility of keeping the agricultural activities alive and they can be the vanguard of taking any new technology to the fields. Therefore, the real direct beneficiary amongst smallholders would be the women farmers. The indirect beneficiaries would be consumers, market forces and other stakeholders. 


Outcomes:

  • Increase in awareness and sensitivity to ecofriendly agriculture practices
  • Adoption of sustainable agriculture practices to conserve natural resources
  • Increase in soil moisture and restoration of soil nutrients and microbes
  • Increase in land fertility, productivity, crop production and nutritional value
  • Food security and enhanced nutrition
  • Increased inclination towards climate adapts agriculture
  • Resource use efficiency in various stockholders
  • Higher prices of crops through organic certification
  • Increase in family income of smallholders
  • Increase in biodiversity and the environment in longer term


Activities:

  • Identification and selection of a project area on pilot basis, its baseline and dynamics
  • Identification of different stakeholders, their roles and participation
  • Team formation, training on project theme, time bound work assignment to each member with role and responsibility.
  • Preparation and development of technology package and training module.
  • Formation of groups of direct stakeholders and their capacity building on management.
  • Phase wise awareness raising activities like meeting, group discussion, workshop etc.
  • Schedule of organization of training and exposures.
  • On field demonstrations and trials.
  • Replication of technology interventions.
  • Value chain, organic certification and market management
  • Withdrawal

 

The project is based on cost sharing; 90:10 percent ratio. 90 percent corporate grants and 10 percent stakeholders share.

 
 

Salient Features

  1. Need based, participatory and exclusively dealing with the problem of rain fed mountain farming.
  2. Address the challenge of climate resilience and sustainability.
  3. Contribute in India’s national climate action plans, known in UN parlance as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), under the Paris Agreement.
 

About The Himalayan Ecology & Treatment of Natural Agriculture Samiti

The Himalayan Ecology & Treatment of Natural Agriculture Samiti acronyms as ‘HETONA’ is well known in its working areas was formed in 1991.  The organization is registered under Societies Registration Act 1860 and Income Tax Act 1961 and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010. The Society’s basic character is charitable and democratic in its functioning and secular in its thoughts. 

Mission: HETONA envisages to provide a skill and knowledge to the under privileged strata of the society so that it can recognize and use the resources around them for their holistic empowerment.


Main Objectives:

  1. To work for environmental conservation
  2. To work for rural drinking water supply and environmental sanitation
  3. To promote organic farming with traditional and modern methodologies and link with market.
  4. To work for the livelihood improvements of the vulnerable sections of the society
  5. To work for the upliftment of scheduled castes, tribes and minorities

 

General Objective is to identify, tap and optimally harness the potential of the underprivileged classes of the society in such a way as to strike a judicious balance between their own quality of life as well as towards their meaningful contribution in the society/nation.

 
 

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