Basulia village has no approach road … like many other villages of Devipur block, which is the poorest block of the district, not only in terms of poor access to inputs, resources and facilities from the mainstream; but also from the perspective of availability of water, harsh condition of the soil. The people, who are tribal, mainly relied on nearby forest and subsistence paddy farming. With time, the life became miserable for them since the forest were losing diversity and production from own farm lands was minimum. Major part of their homestead land remained fallow and people use to migrate in search of their livelihood.
Govind Marandi is a poor tribal marginal farmer in Basulia village of Tatkiyo Panchayat. Govind is physically challenged as he suffers from left leg deformity since childhood. Govind studied till class V and engaged in work to support his family. Despite of having a 1 acre of paddy field that remained mostly fallow, his 5 member family strived to ensure food throughout the year. Other uplands in the village, where he has 3.5 acre of share, remain almost untouched due to lack of irrigation water. He has few fruit trees, one buffalo, 1 ox, 6 goats & sheeps and 4 pigs.
Towards a new horizon
Basulia, like many other village, does not suffer with land constraint, rather it has huge land which remains fallow being an open playfield for soil erosion. SIFS started its intervention addressing this. A lift irrigation which supported lifting water from the nearby stream to the fallow upland, created a magic for the 35 farmers having 50 acres of land altogether, where Govind has a share of 2 acres. Farmers contributed in developing the field bunds in the command area of lift on their plots and the earthwork in trench filling for lift.
With a new motivation, Govind planned for soil water conservation through farm bunding, water channel repair in his fields for soil water conservation after this. Soon he diversified total number of crops in his field from 2~3 to 19 during Kharif 2012 including Paddy, Okra, Maize, Finger Millet etc. SRI on 0.5 acre of land gave him 6.8 Quintal of paddy in place 4 Quintal he used to get earlier. For Paddy cultivation, he mobilized seeds from Government scheme. He was also helped to access the government scheme to get a pumpset for irrigation.
For the first time in Ravi 2012, he ploughed his so far barren land for Wheat, Potato, Brinjal, Onion, Chili, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Mustard, Pigeon peas, Beans etc along with vegetable cultivation in a mixed manner in his homestead land.
After the initial orientation of integrated system which discussed about integrating and livestock into the whole farm production, Govind also shown interest to initiate poultry farming and he was supported with 200 chicks and one cycle of feed, where he built the shed on his own.
At present there are 40 birds at Govind’s farm as an optimum number. The cycle is discontinued for four month period during May to August, due to summer and less market demand, even though Govind has found his way to maintain a balance between production and market demand. To overcome this challenge Govind has come out with appropriate solution of buying older stock from nearby market, rear the ready stock in shed during this period and sale it at a higher price even in this season. During the other seasons, he rears chicks. The chicken shit is collected regularly and used for the field crops after decomposition. A part of maize grown in his field and its residue is utilized as feed for the chicken, which reduces the cost of production significantly.
At home, Govind does not waste dung from one buffalo and one ox by dumping it in open as he used to do earlier. But now he has started making compost in a pit and is using as an important source of nutrition. He also has a low cost rooftop water harvesting to support his demand for livestock in summer.
His overall income is now 3000 INR per month on an average from poultry farm and 1500 INR per month as cash income from farm fields apart from household consumption.
Govind likes to experiment with his farm and planning to introduce intercropping of Maize, Pigeon Pea and Roselle. He also has a plan to try out the idea of using sunflower plantation on the field bund during Ravi and Marigold and Coriander for pest control that he gathered from other villages. Vermicomposting and planting nitrogen fixing trees for fodder and soil health is also in his future plans.
“SIFS has changed my approach to farming; this would sure help me to become a self dependent farmer in next few years.”