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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Innovations in agriculture to improve nutrition. Share your success stories

Pabitra Paramanya

Nowadays agriculture is very challenging for small farmers in India. In one side per capita land share is reducing so fast due to increasing the population. On the hand food demand in a family is a result people are leaving their villages, their farms, their families to earn something in remote city areas/ sometimes migrated permanently even in abroad. 

So, who will produce crop ? People more interested to buy food from the market than produce in own farm.. so, day by day demand is increasing and raising food prices. With this climate change also a important factor.

We don't know how poor farmers will give more attention in farming.

But still there is a hope. This is our responsibility to train that farmers and send them to start innovative agriculture which will provide sufficient and nutritive food for all.

I am working in Mennonite Central Committee in India with collaboration of Canadian Food Grain bank. Here I have shared one food security project running in West Bengal, India. The local partner's name is Rural development Foundation. The context has given below.

Context of project areas

Hasnabad Block of North 24 Parganas of West Bengal, India is having a geographical area of 156.44 square kilometres with a population of around 1,77,470  having a population density of 1134 per square kilometre. RDF has been working in 7 villages of Hasnabad Gram Panchayat  with the financial support from  MCC. The project area is low lying, undulating  islands with meandering river channels as part of Ganga River delta known as Sundarbans. The surface water including river water and  soils are saline and as a result farmers  can grow only one summer paddy with the monsoon rains . The area is also prone to  flood  to Cyclone and surge of tidal waves Poor farmers and underprivileged people of the villages do not have food  security  all the year round. There have been large scale migration of villagers to other parts of the Country for lively hood. The villagers did not get much help from Government during post AILA ( Cyclone) during 2009 when there were large scale devastation and had  a   devastating effect on life and property. The Soil was damaged due to deposition of salt on the farm soil and as a result for 2-3 years the farmers could not raise crops.  We have under taken saline soil reclamation work to improve the soil fit for cultivation and we have been successful to a large extent.  We have also worked on rain water harvesting structure and supply of Saline resistant Crop seeds, Gypsum etc.  This has generated  huge demand for such services from adjoining areas. We have also formed large number of Self Helps, identified   women leaders and provided them training on micro finance and micro enterprise development  followed by Micro finance support. This has created huge impact among the women  The communities have been sensitized on  various issues. The out come of our work has generated interest in the adjoining areas Accordingly we have added 3 more villages of 2 Gram Panchayats

         The conditions of the community is very backward, though  many of them have land  but are affected  salinity . the farmers get around 8-9 Quintal of paddy per acres . They do not have knowledge on use of organic  fertilizers.  There is an urgent need to address the issues which are effecting the daily life  of the poor and livelihood of the community

Agriculture is counted as the main occupation of the people  . Around 70 % of the  population of the district  lives in rural area and the main livelihood of the villagers is agriculture.  The farmers do not adopt any  modern technology for farming and as a result the yield is low. There are  no industry in Sunderbans. As a result we are trying to  convert mono cropped area into double crop area by  constructing rain water harvesting structures, providing training on Agriculture, fishery, Animal husbandry, Handicraft Training,  Formation of SHG ,Training to SHG members for undertaking income generating activities and to provide them support with financial and nonfinancial interventions. Thus we want to make a holistic approach to mitigate the Food security problem  through generation of production, employment and income of the poor both men and women  for proper food security.

Our project area consists of 10 Villages of 3 Gram Panchayat  there are3757 families having a population of 18364. Out of which 1284 are farm families .There are341 Small farmers,909 marginal farmers and 34 big farmers. If we can convert the mono cropped area in to double cropped area the farmers will be immensely benefited through increase in crop production and  yield and the landless labourer will get local employment and will check migration to a large extent  However, reclamation of  saline soil through  organic cultural practices is of vital importance.

See the attached stories.