Reported By: Ms.Arpita Macwan,Project Coordinator,Vadodara
Edited By: Communications Team
Amravati: Maharashtra reports the highest number of farmer’s suicides in the country. The drought in 2014 brought on by a delayed and inadequate monsoon has set to deepen the distress for its cultivators. Around Two-thirds of the state’s 1.37crore farmers have been affected by the drought which has impacted mainly the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.
Green revolution technologies involving greater use of synthetic agrochemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides with adoption of nutrient responsive, high yielding varieties of crops have boosted the production output. However, there are indicators of decline in productivity and production. Equally important is alarming proportions of ground water crisis in the region. Adoption of modern water extraction mechanisms, rural electrification programmes, availability of credit at lower rates have increased the area under cultivation but has also resulted into over exploitation of ground water resulting into permanent recession in groundwater table leading to raises in operating cost of ground water irrigation.
Similar is the story of Hartala village, 22 kms from district headquarter Amravati; a medium size village with less than 300 households. Primary occupation of the village is farming while agriculture labouring and wage labouring are secondary occupations. Most of the households own small land holdings. Out of all, few households, counted on fingers have ground water irrigation facility while majority depends on rain for cultivation.
Focused group discussion with the farmers of the village revealed that most of them are conventional cultivators and fewer interventions have happened in their village in agriculture sector till recent past. IGSSS with its partner, Divya Sadan Social Centre, initiated its livelihood intervention programme in the village to disseminate knowledge and resources on mix cropping, organic cropping and hand holding support.
Amongst these motivated farmers, is Sagar Rameshwar Ughad who combined the knowledge support from the organization and existing literature on farming and designed his own products to improve soil fertility.
With no irrigation facilities available and accessible, Sagar has been doing organic farming by using home based manure in his four acres of land since the past 10 years. Reflecting on the stress of irregular and inadequate rainfall in 2014, Sagar shared that in 2013, they produced 130 quintals of Soya and 80 quintals of Tuver, while in 2014, the yield dropped down to mere 50 quintals of Soya and 35 quintals of Tuver.
Sagar and his father are members of the Kisan group initiated by IGSSS and Divya Sadan in 2013 wherein they got an opportunity to be part of on farm and off farm learning models. They visited pockets of the country where farmers have established models of farms by organic farming and strategic ways to make value added manures. Learning from the experts of the organizations, Sagar developed an organic pit besides his house and started using the compost in his farms. Encouraged to put his knowledge to good use, Sagar visited Akola, nearest town and began his search for agriculture related literatures to help develop his own product.
The composition he made, not only worked as a good fertilizer on all variety of crops but also helped control the harmful pest in the farms. He shared about his composition with members Divya Sadan, who found the innovation to be very scientific, practical, doable and also cheaper as compared to the synthetic fertilizers. They encouraged other farmers to develop demo plots using the same. Discussion and dialogues are in process and many farmers are taking the ready composition from Sagar for experimenting in their farms.
With continuous exposure visits and knowledge sharing sessions, the farmers of the village, including Sagar plan to invest in potentially profitable crops.