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Support Adivasi Women Farmers for Year Round Food Security and Enhanced Incomes

Campaign by Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN)

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Story

75% of rural India survives on Rs 33 per day. India ranks 100 among 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI). Hunger and poverty are more pronounced in the rural landscape amongst small landholders and landless families. An intermingling of multiple phenomena has given rise to deep farming distress in the rural populace: including land fragmentation, limited technical skills resulting in traditional agricultural practices, lack of crop diversification as well as tapping existing opportunities in cash crops. Rising cost of agricultural inputs, non-existent market linkages, lack of irrigation infrastructure and institutional support for the most vulnerable farming and landless groups further fuels disempowerment.

PRADAN aims to overcome hunger and poverty through engagement on livelihoods in remote villages of India.

When PRADAN started working through Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the village of Debgaon in Chhattisgarh four years back, lack of year-round food security and little income from agriculture were the most pertinent issue in this Adivasi village.

Over a course of engagement with the women of the village, a new method of agriculture, System of Root Intensification (SRI), was introduced in all crops. There was initial scepticism in the village about abandoning the age-old traditional methods. But an exposure to another block where PRADAN was working on food security and new technologies in cash crops had convinced Kumari Bai. There was a way out of the farming malaise that had engulfed her and other families in the village. What started as one woman adopting new farming methods, soon picked up by everyone in the village. Integrating both the traditional knowledge of Indian farmers and modern technologies, SRI practice was also introduced through the use of traditional indigenous seeds which are resistant to pest and disease and have high nutrition value. SRI, trellis based creeper cultivation in the village and a strategy of mixed-multi tier cropping pattern ensured doubling of cereal production with farmers selling their vegetables in the nearby market and beyond.

Unsurprisingly, it was Kumari Bai who was the first woman in her village to venture into the market to sell vegetables - many barriers of patriarchy and entrenched social norms broke that day. Farmers like Kumari and others now earn more than Rs 30,000 through vegetable cultivation through the Machan system of agriculture. A woman farmer in this village led to this transformation.

In its operations across India, PRADAN supports more than 370,000 women for their livelihood improvements through agriculture, market linkages, livestock rearing, and forest-based activities, promotion of enterprises and natural resource management. 270,000 farmers adopted improved production methods (SRI, DSR etc.) of paddy and 120,000 farmers’ intensified diversification to pulses, vegetables and oilseeds for food security, nutrition and combating effects of climate change.

Organisers
Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN)

Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN)

Beneficiary Charity

Ankita Singh

Ankita Singh

Organiser

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