Biodiversity Conservation

A distinct focus has been placed towards biodiversity conservation as the region referred to has been experiencing a rapid shift from traditional and nutritious crops and Millet to cash crops like soybean and wheat and cotton. Since 70s the advent of soybean practically replaced all traditional crops and more than 60% of total cultivable area was used as compared to traditional crops and Millet shrinking to bare 2-3%. This change has brought its own pitfalls with it. The historical timeline shows simultaneous growth of malnutrition and household food security. Apart from that the land degradation too has been extensive due to use of chemicals. The rainfall since couple of years has been erratic and soybean crop has failed desperately leading to indebtedness of most of the poor farmers.

To offset this we have been promoting Revival of Millet and traditional crops. The traditional seeds were mustered, sensitization camps were organized and farmers were prompted for reversal. This year 355 families took to growing Millet and sued a significant part of their fields to grow Millet. Some of the farmers had bumper crops and that has motivated many to opt for it through -seeing is believing. In one of the villages the women CIG was assisted through installation of a Millet de-hulling machine. They could process and sell some in the neighborhood.

Backyard Nutrition gardens were promoted targeting mostly mothers with malnourished children, pregnant and lactating mothers. 569 such families were provided seeds of green and leafy vegetables. Some grew it in fields while some opted for vertical gardens in polyurethane bags. Most of the families had sufficient vegetables for diets for at least 4-5 months his year. 50 Families were also supported with backyard poultry. The results were good and enough learning in place to scale it up.

We have also been promoting home preparation and use of organic pesticides. Using local ingredients like cow-dung, cow-urine and green leaves it can be easily fermented and used. 36 families prepared and used it and can testify its effectiveness.

An extensive voluntary initiative was taken up especially by womenfolk to develop their neighborhood land and water resources. 43 land amendment works were undertaken apart from 16 sandbag check dams and well deepening works. Across 20 villages, people contributed 6184 man days of voluntary labor that according to existing official wage-rates would amount to Rs. 9, 85,256. Along with this 455 wage earners were assisted to access work through helping them by filling job applications and listing work demand on job calendars.

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