Asia Initiatives

Sangaati: Leveraging Social Capital for Organic Farming

50 villages across Maharashtra, India

In recent years, Indian farmers have struggled financially in the midst of rapid industrial growth, and mentally in an environment characterized by alarmingly high suicide rates. In order to restore hope and prosperity in the lives of these farmers, AI teamed up with Save Indian Farmers and Deendayal Trust to initiate a switch from traditional farming methods to organic farming. A total of 600 farmers and their families benefit financially from the anticipated 1.5 times increase in crop output when utilizing organic methods such as herbal pest controllers, liquid organic fertilizers, and manure fertilizers. Most recent field report from the project can be read here which proves the success of the organic farming techniques.

We have strategically involved the female family members by empowering them to earn SoCCs through participation in monthly meetings, agri-camps, anti-tobacco camps, health camps, and self-help groups.  SoCCs may be redeemed for access to training materials, organic fertilizer storage tanks, medical checkups, and expert nutritional advice. In addition to the extra money earned by farmers and their families, participants are expected to experience health and nutrition improvements from eating healthy organic products. In our health camp in 2016, 285 women benefited from the health check service provided by clinics. 

Well-known Dr. Manjusha Ghumare and Dr. Manoj along with 6 other gynecologists, joined our local partners to advise and conduct health camps for over 300 women participants. Dr. Ghumare's work included regular check ups such as blood tests, blood pressure, and weight management. In addition she recommended more specific tests such as bone density, Pap smears, TSH, BBL, CBL, and pelvis sonograms among others to women who need these. Dr. Ghumare will evaluate these lab reports as soon as they are available. (Updated June 2017)

After a long time due to the extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, there has been a resurgence in traditional plant and animal life. Earthworms and spiders were spotted on the farm's land. (Updated June 2017) 

Two new computer learning centers have been established in Yavatmal. The centers' aim is to spread the use of information and communication technologies in rural communities, helping to bridge the rural-urban digital divide. Women, as well as adolescent girls and boys, will earn SoCCs by tutoring children in computer skills and homework three times a week. SoCCs will be redeemed for further skills learning and individual time on computers. The centers will also enable children to access free online courses and fill admission forms, while allowing women to access e-health benefits and entitlements provided by various governmental schemes. (Updated December 2017)

Around 1570 acres of land was cultivated with Organic techniques, Approximately 1400 Quintals of crop was added/increase in Quantity due to Organic treatment. Program expanded to 2000 farmers. SoCCs discontinued because of challenges in maintaining SoCCs records. (Updated 2018)

 

Empowering women farmers, Maharastra, India

The problem of farmers’ suicides, and the wider problem of agrarian crisis has been severely impacting the widows of the farmers for more than eighteen years. The farmers’ families often snatch up the land from the widow, who often does not have legal title to the land, leaving her destitute, and with responsibility of raising children.  In addition, she is often also blamed for the suicide for not having been a good wife. Widows often do not have any non-farm skills of financial literacy. The push from traditional polyculture farming, that were contextual, rainfed agriculture based on the soil and landscape to conventional industrial farming has further added to the problem and has left many farming communities extremely vulnerable to poverty.

In this regard, Vidarbha is one of the most affected regions in India and Yavatmal is the most affected district in Vidarbha. Asia Initiatives is working to support the suicide farmer’s widows in close partnership with Dindayal Bahuuddeshiya Prasarak Mandal, an NGO that has been working on the problem of farmers’ suicides in Yavatmal since 2007.

The project includes support to the women and children suffering from the farmer suicides, and other at risk and marginalized women in Yavatmal District of Vidharbha. The project will be conducted through our local partner Dindayal Bahuuddeshiya Prasarak Mandal. It will include several aspects to be implemented at various parts of our SoCCs methodology for supporting women farmers to undertake organic farming and attend training using bicycles from AI supported bicycle banks.

Organic farming initiative

Partner: Dindayal Bahuuddeshiya Prasarak Mandal

Project Features:

  • Empowering women farmers through organic farming and bicycle banks
  • Location: Yavatmal, Vidarbha, Maharastra
  • Participants: 600 Women including Widows of Farmers
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