Sustainable Agriculture and Livelihood Promotion (SALP):
What do we mean by Sustainable Agriculture?
Sustainable Agriculture is a Farming system that focuses on producing crops and livestock with minimal effects on the Environment and Ecology along with producing Food and fibre in a sustainable way to meet the current demand as well as to meet the demands of the future generations. Sustainable Agricultural practices also involve conservation of soil and water, promoting bio-diversity, growing healthy food for the society. For Sustainable Agriculture, it is essential that the economy stability of the Farms and Farmers have to be maintained while improving the quality of life of the Farmers and Farm labourers associated with it.
OUR ACTIVITIES ON SALP
- Promotion of Organic Farming
- Farmers’ Organizations
- Promotion of Millets Cultivation
Promotion of Organic Farming:
While addressing to the acute food scarcity and hunger of the post independence era, government adopted the green revolution strategy where a lot of emphasis was given on chemical based agriculture. This undoubtedly led the nation to be self reliant on basic food production but it has also led to severe environmental, ecological and social crisis in agriculture and among the farmers. It has greatly impacted extinction of many indigenous seeds and species.
To address these problems, SVA has been giving emphasis for return to Organic Farming which includes the following:
- Promote improved technologies in production of organic fertilizers so as to reduce use of chemical fertilizers.
- Promote Integrated Pest Management system so as to reduce and ultimately stop use of any chemical pesticide for plant protection.
- Promote conservation of indigenous seeds and breeds along with improving their productivity.
- Promotion of Integrated Farming which includes diversified cropping pattern in small Farms along with livestock rearing.
- Revival of Traditional Land and Water Management Systems
- Awareness generation among the farmers as well as the consumers on the hazardous effects of chemical based agriculture and produces.
Most of the farmers in India are small and marginal farmers. In case of Odisha, 91% of the farmers are small and marginal farmers having less than 2 hectares of land. With increase in family size every year further fragmentation of land is taking place. Hence, in this situation, in order to adopt appropriate Farm Mechanization and to access to services and market it is necessary that the farmers get organized into Producer Organizations.
For this, the village level organizations of farmers in form of Farmers Clubs, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Common Interest Groups and Joint Liability Groups (JLG) etc. are to play an important role to be federated into a larger Farmer Producer Organization. Hence, SVA in all the villages of its operational areas has been organizing such village level Institutions.
- Farmers Clubs and Common Interest Groups (CIGs)
In each village, the progressive farmers are formed into a group and they are linked to various government institutions and extension staff. The farmers growing similar crops or using a common service are formed as Common Interest Groups and they are part of the Farmers Clubs. The farmers learn on new technologies and collectively plan their agriculture, access to government schemes.
- Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Joint Liability Groups (JLGs)
The SHGs movement which started in Bangladesh and later on in India has become very popular in our villages. In the SHGs, mostly the women get organized into small groups to take up small savings and subsequently access to institutional credits to take up various income generation (livelihood) activities. At present the state government has also come forward with a number of schemes for the Self Help Groups and the women have been playing an important role in the community activities. The JLGs are comparatively a smaller group from among the members of SHGs to take bank loans.
Promotion of Millets Cultivation:
SVA has been promoting Millet cultivation in Sinapali and Narla blocks of Nuapada and Kalahandi districts respectively with primary objective of improving the nutritional status of the Farmers and Local people. This five year programme is being supported by the state government from the current year. However since its inception SVA has been working for conservation of millets and other traditional nutritious crops of the region. This new programme of the state government shall give a big boost to the revival of millet cultivation in our area.
SVA promoted OPCL outlet in Bilenjore has been selling Ragi powder since 2010-11. SVA has also set up millet grinding units at Bilenjore (Nuapada) and Balipada (Kalahandi) to provide services to local population.
Maize Cultivation as an attractive Cash Crop:
The Farmer Producer Companies promoted by SVA have delved into promotion of Maize crop in a big way. Advantages of Maize crop in Western Odisha are –
- It requires less water.
- Improves nutritional status of the growers and local people.
- Erst while follow lands / uplands get cultivated.
- Attractive cash income to farmers.
The FPOs are not only supplying good quality seeds and inputs but they have also organized market linkage for the produces by involving reputed marketing institutions.