Spring 2018 Newsletter
World Water Day was observed on March 22nd and Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22nd. These occasions remind us of our role as stewards of the earth, conserving and utilizing its natural resources for the wellbeing of its inhabitants – today, and in the years to come. At Save Indian Farmers, it is our vision to build a future where farmers find security and appreciation in carrying out their work as true custodians of the land and its bounties. Here is a project-wise summary of our activities this quarter, with a special focus on our two latest projects.
With support from Healing Lives Foundation, we have launched a new project in Tikamgarh district in Madhya Pradesh. This project will serve 1068 households in the 5 target villages of the project area.
A Pani Panchayat committee was formed in each of these villages to raise community awareness on drought-resilient farming. Through these committees, a seed bank was inaugurated to supply farmers with seasonal seeds, under the agreement that the farmers would contribute back to the seed bank when they harvest. The wheat, gram and barley seeds that are supplied through the seed bank are carefully chosen to have low water needs so that they can be cultivated even when water availability is scarce. SWI (System of Wheat Intensification) demonstrations and LEISA (Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture) workshops are also being conducted to encourage farmers to adopt techniques that increase the productivity of their land and reduce fertilizer costs.
Ms.Jani Viswanath, Founder of Healing Lives at a Pani Panchayat meeting in Nadiya village
Other activities include installation of drip irrigation systems, mulching for vegetable farming, hand pump repairs and generation of part-time rural employment opportunities such as well-deepening and road construction through MGNREGA.
Project Uttarakhand kicked-off in mid-December in the Chaubattakhal area in Pauri Garhwal district. In December, the farmers planted spinach, beans, cauliflower and potatoes. A 2-day workshop was held in January to create awareness on mechanized farming. 250 apple and walnut trees were distributed and in early March, seeds for tomatoes, eggplant, beans, lady’s finger and green peppers were supplied.
Delhi University Interns in the village http://viewindiatimes.com/archives/8188
An 8-day education camp was organized in 2 schools for approximately 60 6-8 grade students by interns from Delhi University. During their stay with the villagers, the interns had an opportunity to visit their farms and get acquainted with their daily routine. Workshops on yoga, health and hygiene were also conducted for the residents.
Weekend classes on various extra-curricular activities such as agriculture awareness, health and hygiene, arts and crafts and soft skills are being conducted for students from 18 villages. The products made in the handicrafts class are sold to tourists and locals.
Through our microfinance initiative, we continue to invest in the livelihoods of enterprising farmers and their families in various parts of India. As these individuals and organizations repay their loans, we re-invest this amount in other promising ventures.
Four widows from Andhra Pradesh were identified via RRDS (Rural Reconstruction & Development Society) and the money raised through our Facebook fundraiser has been disbursed to them. A couple of them will be setting up small general stores, and the other two are getting started on a buffalo milking business. Thanks to all the donors for their timely contribution!
Seen in the pictures below are Ms.Bharthi and her son Venkatesvarlu with their buffalo, and Ms. Rajeshwari at her newly-setup grocery/general store.
Our borewell recharge project has been making steady strides, completing 14 recharges in Anantapur, with 12 more in progress. We conducted a survey of 250 farmers in Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh about the status of their borewells; we will shortlist 100 farmers and support the recharge of their borewells. Our on-the-ground partners REDS (Rural & Environmental Development Society) are also planning to implement 4 borewell recharge structures as a pilot project.
Additionally, we plan to support 10 villages in 2/3 districts of Maharashtra in coordination with Jnana Prabodhini. This initiative will educate participants of the Water Cup challenge on various water conservation measures. SIF will fund the equipment needed for these activities (Rs.1 lakh per village) with the help of BMM (Bruham Maharashtra Mandal). At the time of writing this newsletter, we are also discussing with Asia Initiatives for their support to this wonderful initiative.
Our education project has been rolled out in 5 more schools of Latur district, in collaboration with Jnana Prabodhini. Our takeaway from Yavatmal was that one tablet per school (shared by ~25 teachers) was insufficient; hence, we are restricting the outreach to 5 schools this time so that we can provide 5 tablets per school.
Testimony of a farmer
Devidaas Gedam, a farmer in Palaskund village (Ralegaon Taluka) was one of the participants in our organic farming initiative. He received an annual profit of 1.4 lakh INR as a result of the high yields from Project Sangaati! His farming expenses came down to Rs.25,000 from Rs.70,000 primarily from switching seeds. He has started putting these funds to good use by building his house (seen in the background in video above).
In 2018, 32 Self-Help Group meetings took place with a total of 322 women, and 2 new SHG accounts were opened. Parmarth employees followed up on 34 previously-established kitchen gardens in 8 villages, and helped set up 5 new kitchen gardens. Cleanliness programs were conducted in 17 villages, during which hand pump areas and garbage dumps were cleaned. The villagers were educated about water-borne diseases and the importance of maintaining a hygienic living environment. Reproductive health awareness sessions were organized in 19 villages, with participation from over 200 community members.
Meeting of Jai Kali SHG in Tiliya Village
As Asia Initiatives’ involvement in Project Bundelkhand comes to a close this month, we’d like to thank them for their generous support and guidance throughout the project period. SIF will continue to work with Parmarth on maintaining the kitchen gardens and following up on education initiatives.
Our farmers helpline is now available in both Hindi and Marathi, and our volunteers address farmers’ issues in the states of Maharashtra as well as Uttarakhand. The topic-wise call breakdown for the 37 calls that were resolved from January to March 2018.
This project is still in the planning phase with 2 NGOs – Manavlok and PIRD (People’s Institute of Rural Development). Watch this space in the next newsletter for updates!
Mobile Veterinary Clinic funded by SIF for Ankush, an organization dedicated to conserving indigenous cattle in Andhra Pradesh, India.
2017 Finances Overview
RD Burman Show, April 20, 2018, HSNC Morissville, North Carolina
Farming in the News
- Take a critical look at crop insurance for farmers.
- Listen to the National Convener of the All India Farmers Alliance discuss the agricultural aspects of the union budget for 2018-19.
- Learn about the pros and cons of Minimum Support Price (MSP) guarantees.
- Find out the demands of farmers at the recent protest in Maharashtra.
- Understand the importance of soil fertility and the key focus areas to help farmers tackle climate change.
- Explore the potential of the Farming-As-A-Service model to revive Indian agriculture.
- Read a profile of the 2015 recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize: Mr. Rajendra Singh, the water man of India.
We have taken the first steps towards building a knowledge database for the grains, pulses trees and plants that we help farmers grow. Check out the articles on horse gram cultivation and drumstick farming on our website.
We would like to thank our sponsors and donors for your continued support and feedback. Please e-mail us at email@example.com if you have questions about these projects or wish to collaborate with us in any way.
Save Indian Farmers