Sustainable agriculture : A path breaking approach towards community upliftment.

We, at Pravah have long believed that sustainable farm techniques coupled with latest technological advancements can take us to a future in which no individual will be left starving and malnourishment will be completely wiped out from the community. Pravah is known for its earnest effort in advocacy and policy making on sustainable farming practices in the tribal state of Jharkhand and poverty ridden rural segments of Bihar. A synergy has been established through our methodical approach on the issue, which has resulted into an efficient stakeholder engagement. The community with whom we have been working have gradually shown signs of a change in their overall approach towards agriculture/farming. They are now considering it as a viable livelihood option which has the potential to transform their life and their entire community in general.

India’s food security issues are a pressing problem that needs to be dealt firmly. A country which is home to 15 % of global malnourished population, where 190 million people sleep on an empty stomach everyday and whose yield per hectare of rice scores an abysmal 2177 kgs statistically , are the facts that need to be addressed sooner in the most effective manner. Pravah, through it’s wide array of initiatives in the Santhal Pargana region of Jharkhand has effectively mobilized the SHGs, CSOs, local self help groups, PRI members and other stakeholders of the community with an unwavering focus on meeting with its goal of food security and agro based livelihood options through social enterprise models.

The onus is on greater agricultural output through optimal use of land, water and energy . The country's 63% of agricultural land is heavily dependent on the mercy of monsoon rains, the irregularity of which pose a constant threat to crop cultivation. Further the fact that only 12% of Jharkhand's cultivable land have access to basic irrigation infrastructure compounds the problem. This is a pale comparison to the 48.8% of irrigation facilities on country's cultivable land. Prabha is one of the key implementing agencies in the joint intervention by CINI and Tata Trust foundation in restructuring and development of water resources for sustained farming. The construction of a series of seepage wells, ponds, installation of solar lift irrigation facilities, drip and mulching, drains, canals,drum check dams are some of the key measures taken. The whole impetus has been on varied crop rotation and intercropping on the cultivable midlands as well as uplands of Jama block, Dumka.The whole exercise has revitalized the crop and soil management potential along with efficient seed treatment.

Prabha for long has been indulged in promoting the prophecy of sustainable farming practices in Bihar and Jharkhand. A consolidated micro level planning for kharif, Rabi and summer crops is one such initiative in this regard.The CSO has been a constant force behind setting up of farm field schools to facilitate soil & water conservation and seed bank creation. Our awareness generation and technical training at local level resulted in eradication of ignorance about modern day farming in our operational area. Besides our hand holding support in the domain of crop insurance,seed- bed creation, infusion of organic practises like creation of vermicompost pit, green manuring through dhaicha cultivation and use of organic fertilizers like dolomite, benamil and tridom has added a new lease of life to an effective pest control management.

We,at Prabha,firmly believe that agriculture has potential to transform the socio-economic status of the marginalized,vulnerable rural lot. The PVTG community has for long been dwelling in darkness of poverty and seclusion. The CSO is pledged in preserving such tribal communities from a possible threat of extinction by pushing them to the mainstream of social enterprise based agro models for their well being and prosperity. Our outreach has resulted in setting up of kitchen gardens/nurseries,paddy banks,instilling line sowing techniques to paddy and vegetable cultivation. Our joint venture with JSLPS is buoyed by synergy and collective actions by the community. With the advent of the digital boom, we have introduced crop and vegetable production through the POP app. The small holding farmers have been empowered with smartphones in this Prabha initiative,sponsored by TATA trust. The day is not far when the contribution of agriculture to Bihar and Jharkhand'd GSDP will surge from its present 15-18% to high twenties. Our projects have emphasized upon production of high yield crop and vegetable varieties to answer to the nutritional and commercial requirements of the deprived community.

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