Agri-Income Generation Project
In Malda district assisted by Ministry of Agriculture, GOWB
Improvement of existing land and water resources
Investments have been made for improving the land and water situation of the area as a demonstrative tool for encouraging the local farmers. Programs undertaken are excavation of seepage ponds for some individuals and renovation of community ponds for some community ponds that are being used by the target group beneficiaries. More than750 hectares of land have been taken under sustainable agriculture systems.
Releasing of mortgaged lands
We have selected the poorest families who own very little land and who are extremely poor. As such they have mortgaged their only plot of land for meeting their crisis period. As a pilot project, 35 small and marginal farmers have been supported to release their mortgaged lands. The beneficiaries are enlightened in this idea and they feel that the migration rate would be reduced if this is implemented properly.
Creating supplementary livelihood opportunities
4500 families have been benefitted by earning an average of Rs. 2000 per month through these household enterprises. The enterprises comprise of animal rearing, shop keeping, vegetable vending, fish vending, poultry keeping, duck rearing, seasonal cultivation, releasing of mortgaged land, small eatery stalls, tea stalls and so on. This investment has helped the beneficiaries discard borrowing money from the local private moneylenders who charge a high rate of interest.
Food security and enhanced income
- SRI has been widely accepted by the farming communities who cultivated about 500 acres of land; users of the community ponds (20 Nos) are getting supplementary income from fish cultivation; the goat keepers are getting palpable income from their units. This has ensured their staple food need for additional four months. So they would be securing 10 months’ staple food as a result of this intervention.
- In the Vegetable cultivation sector, traditional system has been discarded by the farmers as a result of the project’s interventions through training, extension and hands-on orientation programs. Judicious use of land, water and manpower has facilitated the farmers achieving lower-cost cultivation practices by reducing age-old unscientific use of manures and input-oriented cultivation those were traditional. Some of the farmers have sold their produces and they have earned about Rs. 100000 per hector in comparison with the previous less than 56000 per hector.
- So far as the Goat Rearing program is concerned; we have provided input support to 60 SHG members who have set up their household Got rearing units. Having started with only 5 she-goats receiving support from the project, today the units house an average of 18 goats.
Building capacities by adopting skills
The project has given due attention to improve the capacity of the target families in various activities. It organized village based orientation meetings, training programs, field based hand-holding exercises, extension support services, proper monitoring and field guidance for injecting adequate skills for the participating families.
- SRI cultivation has built capacities and skills of 472 farming families
- Improved vegetable cultivation has built capacities of 110 farmers
- Pond fishery has built capacity of 230 families
- Goa rearing has improved skills of 60 families
- Land & water use technique has built improved knowledge and skills of 300 farming families
Nurturing the formed Producer Institutions
After our formation of the producers’ groups, trainings and feedback program of the vegetable producers, fish producers and animal rearing groups are being held drawing ex-PRADAN (a national level NGO) professionals who are providing training and follow up supports. A consensus has been created by
the producers that formation of a Producers’ Groups/Collectives is the felt need of the time and they have committed that they would actively join hands in its strengthening. We are seeing now the gradual formation of the Producers’ Groups/Collectives as per our target.
Expansion social mobilization by strengthening the formed SHGs
Series of training and orientation programs has been conducted for the members of the SHGs, their Leaders and Office-bearers during this period. The SHGs are being gradually strengthened by internalizing their socio-economic rights and entitlements. The programs comprise of:
- Training of SHG Leaders
- Leadership training of SHGs
- Training of SHG leaders for Federation grooming process
- PRA exercises in villages
- Meetings with Banks
- Meetings with Panchayat body and Block level officials