Water Conservation to Save Agriculture
Villipurum and Pudokottai, India
In 2018, Asia Initiatives collaborated with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), which focuses on improving lives and livelihoods of tribal and rural communities. SoCCs are implemented into the program, which enhanced livelihoods and ensuring food security among farmers and their families in Tamil Nadu. In this region, farmers cultivate on a small scale with limited irrigation due to defunct and silted wells. Farmers are earning SoCCs for practicing water conservation, better farming techniques and sharing water. Women earn SoCCs for attending health camps, and the community earns for planting trees and sending their female children to school. In return, farmers are receiving loans to buy cattle and to cover costs to help deepen wells and provide better water storage. SoCCs can also be redeemed for items, such as academic fees and computer training for children, medicine for both human and their livestock, and quality seeds.
(Update in 2019) Our SoCC program with MSSRF has now reached Phase 2. Phase 1 involved dairy farming and microcredit fund. In this phase, the program will promote organic leafy green vegetables cultivation. These leafy greens are a commodity that play an important role in the local economy, since they are one of the most demanded produce in India However, in peri-urban region, they are often cultivated using waste waters and chemical pesticide spray, leading to a high chemical residue and heavy metal content. With support of Asia Initiatives, MSSRF will work with the Nallakirai Farmer Producer Company to facilitate organic GLVs cultivation. The program aims to planned to identify 30 farmers from 2 villages and motivate them to take up this enterprise through their FPO. Organic Greens cultivation training and demonstration will be conducted and each farmer will be allocated 25 cents of land for cultivating 40 different green leaf species. Hence, each farmer will get an income of Rs 20,000 per month. This phase will also provide a space for women farmers to participate vibrantly by giving them regular employment, which is expected to increase their income by 30-40%. At the same time, farmers and their families will benefit from consuming, while improving soil health from using organic farming methods, benefiting the area’s ecosystem.