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POVERTY REDUCTION THROUGH SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN SOUTHERN INDIA - A DFID FUNDED PROJECT
A hand to the Plough - Article by A.V. Balasubramanian on the Current Relevance of Traditional Agirculture
FAMILY FARMING FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND ENHANCED LIVELIHOOD A MODEL
Mr. Thilagar is an ardent lover of plants, animals and nature. Initially, he was only into the cultivation of different varieties of paddy, black gram, green gram and vegetables. Though the yield is very remunerative in organic farming, his thirst for sustainability led him to form an integrated farm with several components like crop cultivation, vegetable gardening, poultry farming, fisheries, cattle and goat rearing. His farm is a typical example of an integrated farm. His wife Mrs. Karpagam helps him in all the farming activities like vermicompost production, biopesticides preparation, maintenance of livestock etc., and supports him in each effort.
NUTRITIONAL AND HEALTH SECURITY THROUGH INTEGRATED GARDENS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT : THE CIKS EXPERIENCE
The backyard gardens which rural women used to maintain for a regular supply of vegetables for their family were fast vanishing. Women were no more interested in maintaining the same and only families which could afford purchasing them from the market had vegetables as part of their regular diet. This was also contributing to the malnutrition of the family. On detailed investigation it came to light that after the introduction of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of vegetables farmers had given up their indigenous varieties. Over a period of time they had lost these varieties. However, they had to purchase the HYV of vegetables year after year from the market. The HYV and hybrid vegetables that they purchased from the market were highly pest and disease prone. Seeds were expensive, germination capacity was very poor and they had to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers for its cultivation which meant an additional expense. Fulfilling all these requirements and maintaining a backyard garden was felt as an unviable proposition by these women and they had given up cultivating vegetables in their backyard which had led to a different dietary composition of the family meal.
Agriculture Machinery Facilitation Centres - A boon for small and marginal farmers
Agriculture Machinery Facilitation Centres (AMFCs) have been established by CIKS in collaboration with Vrutti, Bengaluru under the DFID, UK and HIVOS Netherlands supported project. As a new approach to improve access to modern farm machineries 14 AMFCs, one in each Panchayat, have been established in Kancheepuram, Thiruvannamalai and Nagapattinam districts and being maintained by the Panchayat Agriculture Development Committees (PADCs). These AMFCs have improved access to modern agriculture machineries by small and marginal farmers at a low hiring charge. They have contributed to reduced cost of cultivation, increased yields and also addressed the issue of labour scarcity in agriculture. Business plans, business links with beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, credit linkages etc., are in place to make these AMFCs self-sustainable. This kind of service provision for smallholders through a Centre managed by farmers at a low cost improves access to services, timely delivery and accountability.
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