Partnership with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Tuljapur

Severe drought and scarcity of water for the last 6 years had affected the community badly in Marathwada region. To overcome the climatic risk and its impact on livelihoods where the community mainly depend on agriculture, SSP and women federation in Tuljapur has developed a long-term partnership with Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) in Tuljapur.

This is a real life struggle story of poor community for bringing back from zero to recognition and handful of experience in resilience building. Today many women groups and community visit these villages and learn the good initiatives implemented by women farmers and leaders.

For the last 5 years women groups in Osmanabad has developed one of the best partnership in sustainable agriculture related initiatives. Strong leadership from KVK and Women Federation further strengthened and growing into many areas.

Role of KVK and women groups involvement

Now women leaders as farmers are recognised across Maharashtra due to their innovative approach that received from training and learning events from KVK. They are appearing in All India Radio discussion on organic farming methods, providing training other villages organised by KVK, participating in state and national exhibitions and workshops to show case their skills.

The partnership with KVK brought new technologies and knowledge for the community. Dr. Takankhar, Programme Coordinator, KVK has impressed the way women groups are committed and taking part of training initiatives and testing. There are many new information and technologies focussed on integrated farming approach accessed by women groups. Azola, Hydroponic fodder, Kadaknath chicken breed, seed germination test, soil and water test, mulching of land are some of the new area of knowledge acquired by women groups through KVK partnership.

Dr. Sindhulkar, a leading lady from KVK focuses on Dairy technologies. Dr. Sindhulkar mobilised women leaders and provided training on many aspects that improve milk production, nutrition and additional income. She was part of the initiative for introduction of Kadaknath Chicken breed, training on Azola and Hydroponic fodder. She said transferring sustainable practices technology simply to farm field.

Dr. Sindhulkar feels that subsidy should go to women and they utilise it properly. According to her, landholding is high in Osmanabad but resources are less.  Due to the efforts by women leaders and their involvement show us that women farmer are capable of showing small but innovative initiatives that could be replicated to many communities.

“Women are always takes feedback and correct it. But in the case of men farmers, you need to push them to do any innovative approaches. They leave the work half way and focus on cash. Women are different; they take care of environment, agriculture like her family”, says Dr. Sindhulkar, KVK Osmanabad.

Innovative techniques and practices should reach out to more communities and women leaders should spread the word thru training and exposure visits.

Due to the partnership with KVK, leaders Vaishali and Archana are promoted to district level Scientific Advisory Committee (SAD). KVK has recognised 15 leaders who can teach other communities in integrated approach in farming.  Women leaders stories have been appeared in local TV channels boosted their confidence and recognised by other stakeholders and community.

Partnership with institutions like KVK and other agriculture universities brought women with knowledge and practices and establish a network across Maharashtra.

Accessing technology and information: changing the way of agriculture practices

It takes a while for community to shift from traditional way of livelihood practices to bring more income and changes in the community in a sustainable way. Efforts by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), Women Federation and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and Agriculture Universities paved the way for villages in Marathwada region to implement adaptive practices to sustain in severe drought and climatic risk conditions.

This is the success story of drought affected villages in Marathwada on how women are mobilised in agriculture groups, equipped with knowledge and resources and implemented climate adaptive practices. Women groups are actively involved in mixed and intercrop farming, accessing technology like drip and sprinkler, focus on household food consumption, testing small part of land with nutritional food crops and creating awareness and knowledge among communities on sustainable agriculture and livelihood practices.

Adaptive farming

Members of Krishi Mahila Mandal have taken minimum half acre to one acre land for cultivating food crops for local consumption. These women groups accessed training from KVK and SSP on drought resistant varieties and options for sustainable livelihood. The villages faced scarcity of water for irrigation for many years. Due to the efforts by women groups in partnership with local government have accessed Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment  Scheme (MGNREGS) to recharge water sources. New wells are constructed and ponds are revived thru collective effort. Desilting fertile soils extracted while recharging the water sources and deposited in the farm land which gives good production in agriculture.

Pushpa Basule, a leader from Wolgud village said, she had shifted to vegetable cultivation due to Krishi Mahila Mandal’s mobilsation of groups and accessed training from Krishi Vigyan Kendra. She has cultivated Pappaya and Onion as inter crop and got profit of Rs. 6000 on using drip technology in this season.

“This is a big change. Earlier we used to cultivate only cash based crops. Now we are convincing our husbands and families to shift form cash based agriculture to food crops that needed for the family.” says Pushpa Basule.

Azolla and hydroponic fodder cultivation has changed the life of many people in this area. This has happened with partnership of KVK where they provided training for women groups, organised exposure trip to Agriculture University in Parbani. Trained women leaders came back and started cultivation of Azola and Hydroponic which are highly in demand in the market. In the beginning they cultivated azola and hydroponic fodder for feeding their own animals and Kadaknath chicken. Leaders like Vaishali have already started selling Azola and Hydroponic in the villages. Due to this initiative, they get additional income, good yield of milk from cows and eggs from chicken.

Accessing new information 

Introduction of Azolla, Hydroponics and Kadaknath breed chicken are slowly changing the life of drought hit regions in Marathwada.

The motivated and emerging women leaders who implemented best practices in drought situation are teaching other communities. Women leaders participate in various training and learning events organised by KVK and SSP. They learn new adaptive practices in agriculture and try to implement to demonstrate and scale up to other communities.

As an example, women groups started poultry farming with Kadaknath breed of chicken which is very popular among the Adivasis in Jabua, Madhya Pradesh, mainly due to its adaptability to the local environment, disease resistance, tasty meat quality, texture and flavour and high medicinal value. Protein content in kadaknath is higher than 25% in an ordinary bird it varies between 18-20%. This species has lower cholesterol (0.73-1.05%) than white chicken (13-25%).

Partnership

Women federation facilitated training on Azola and Hydroponic making in partnership with KVK and ATMA at Tuljpaur in February 2015. After one day training women groups organised a learning visit to Buldana district in Maharashtra to see Azola, Hydroponics and Kadaknath chicken breed. Ten women leaders were participated in the learning visit and they learned the benefits of business opportunities in preparation of Azolla, Hydroponics and Kadaknath varieties. They were impressed with health and nutritious aspects and business opportunity in starting this initiative. Encouraged from this visit, they brought 100 Kadaknath variety breeds and came back. Now women groups have started poultry of Kadaknath varieties in many homes. They are selling chicken and earning additional income.

Impact

Archana Bosle, a leader from Devsingha made a profit of Rs. 20,000 only from sale of egg of Kadaknath Varieties within 6 months.  Now she brought 50 more chicken to expand the business. She says, “Drought situation brought me to do something different to earn income. So I started this chicken breed which gives me good income.”

“Now I want to expand my small business such as Green house in half acre, chilli and haldi powder packing and marketing,” Says Archana.

Vailshali another leader from Andhura village have started her community initiatives 9 years ago. Now she is a recognised leader among many villages and provides training on community entrepreneurship. Vaishali has trained more than 3000 women members across many villages in Marathwada. She is marketing and selling Azolla at rs. 30 per kg and earn a good income.

“Earlier I was not aware about what to cultivate to get income from agriculture. After accessing trainings and learning visits I am fully confident of implementing sustainable practices and teach other communities” Vaishali.

She says “Life is difficult due to climatic changes and it affects our daily earning, but we should not run away from it, we should face it with new knowledge and courage”.

Sustainable Agriculture practices by women’s groups in Drought hit Marathwada

Introduction

Drought ridden villages in Marathwada region are seeing a gradual change in addressing water scarcity and agriculture practices. Women leaders across the villages are taking the lead in introducing and scaling up innovative initiatives in sustainable agriculture livelihood focus on nutritious local foods for local consumption.

This is evident when you visit villages like Wolgud, Tirth, Savargaon, Sindhfal. Women Agriculture Groups are implementing less water varieties, locally `developed drip irrigation systems, prioritising local food security and promote vegetable as mixed and inter crop, discouraging farmers to give away cash crops like sugar cane and cultivate soyabean, pulse varieties. Recharging water sources to increase the ground water level in many villages are taking place while accessing govt scheme.

One acre model (mix, intercrop, drip, sprinkle, water efficiency crops)

This initiative is catching up in many villages at faster pace. Women groups who are members of Krishi Mahila Mandals are taking half acre to one acre land either or lease or own land to test, experiment and innovate various methods of agriculture that sustain in drought conditions.

Women groups are trained in different agriculture practices facilitated by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP). Linking with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Tuljpaur, taking them to Agriculture University, Parbani, Organising Exposure visits to model villages and farm field, identifying their demand and need for local innovations and are some of the initiatives facilitated by Women Federation with the help of SSP.

Initiatives in Savar Gaon

Savar Goan is located near Tuljapur in Osmanabad. This village has a lot of local innovations and strong women leadership skills that demonstrate sustainable practices which can be transferred and scale up to similar villages.

Savar Gaon like other Marathwada region is reeling under severe drought for the last 4 to 5 years. Drought situation is becoming bad to worse every year. Less rains and scarcity of water led women groups to start thinking differently to tackle the issues.

Krishi Mahila Mandal was formed in this village with active participation of 50 members 2 years ago. The purpose of formation of Krishi Mahila Mandal is to learn new practices and implement the innovations in drought conditions as a group. The success of KMM initiatives is due to good women leadership and accessing training from Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Agriculture Universities and learning from peer groups. To address the situation, KMM groups discussed the problems in the meetings and decided to work with women federation to access training and resources from various institutions. This led them in partnering with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Tuljpaur. The groups accessed training on Azola cultivation, poultry farming based on Kadaknath chicken variety etc.

There are about 10 to 12 women who are landless doing agriculture on onion, chilly, bindi and pulses like Tur and Harbara. Most of the members are taking half to one acre for cultivation.  Women members focus on local food consumption and the rest only will go for sale out of the village.

Waste water for irrigation

Prabhavathy Mali is an inspiration women leader who took innovative way for addressing water scarcity. When there was not enough water to cultivate the land she identified that lot of waste water from kitchens were flowing and accumulating at the end of the village. She started thinking how to use this waste water for her land. It was a stunning experience. When she channelized the waste water into her farming land with the help of her family members, she got enough water to cultivate various food crops. She is doing this practice for the last 4 years and other members took these initiatives in their own field also.

Prabhavathy has 10 animals and cultivated fodder in 7 gunte land. Using waste water she irrigates 2 acres of land and cultivated vegetables and onion. Her experiments continue in difficult circumstance and she shown the way for other communities to think for local innovation to address water scarcity.

Learning from neighbour and innovate it further

Taking a leaf out of it, another neighbour farmer Uttampal has taken one step ahead. He is a keen learner and innovator and utilised the waste water to irrigate his 2 acre land but he introduced a innovative way for filtering the waste water.

When he irrigated the land with waste water the crops was damaged due to the waste component. He thought of how to filter the waste from water and for irrigation. He tried various ways and succeeded in using a bathroom shower attached to the water pump and filters the waste water. Now he purchased a good shower from market and uses for filtering. He cultivates onions in one acre in drought conditions and demonstrated best methods that has to be learned by other groups and communities.

Kamal Vittal Pawar an active women leader utilised Rs 5000 from community resilience fund that transferred by Women Federation, Tuljapur.  After getting the CRF Kamal used the money for cultivation of Moringa, Tomato, Mirchi and Bindi in one acre land. She uses mixed cultivation and introduced drip methods to save water and good productivity. She got Rs. 4000 as profit from one acre cultivation. Moringa seeds are purchased from Solapur and she is expecting to get a good crop after the harvest in few months.

Leaders like Neeta Tanwade, Gangabai and Megha are very active in KMM initiatives and teaching other neighbouring villages to scale up the best practices.

The innovations and initiatives are taking ground and these practices are scaling up to neighbouring villages. Many women groups from other village shave visited here and learned the initiatives taken by community in addressing drought and water scarcity.

Meena Dange from Sindhfal village

Meena Dange from Sindhfal village own 2 acres of land. Meena belongs to Nisarga Krishi Mandal formed 3 years ago. She cultivated Onion in one acre and vegetables as mixed in one acre. She innovates and test various practices in agriculture in her land. For onion she use the traditional way of sowing the seeds spreading by throwing in the farm without any line or pattern. This practice is successful in her experience and gets good profit.  She cultivates vegetables that are good demand in teh market like Karela, Behngan and Kothambir. After the success she took 2 more acre on lease to cultivate more varieties.  In onion and vegetables she use sprinkler and drip.

SSP provides information on various technologies in meetings and KVK give training based on the need. She visit neighbouring villages and teach other communities and more than 100 women visited this village and learnt the practice.

Pest Trap (Madhi Sapda)

Another innovative approach is a yellow colour pest trap attract pest and trap inside. The use of this trap has marginally reduced spraying of pesticides and it keeps the product healthy.  She got the information from fellow farmer and purchased the pest trap from the market

Marketing
Meena got 80,000 profits in 20 gunte cultivation of Karela while selling in the market of Nanded, Aurangabad and Latur. Meena sell the product directly to the market in cities and avoid middleman. She call and enquire the price in various places and sell where she get the maximum price.