Success Stories on Sustainable Livelihood

Impact oriented success studies

Journey from migration to sustainability…

The Western part of Odisha, where the project area is located, is synonym with poverty and migration. A large number of people,20 – 25 percent, migrate from these area to other states, especially to Andhra Pradesh to work in brick-kiln. In many cases the entire family migrate which is termed as pathuria system of migration.  It is a work unit comprising a man, a woman and 2 – 3 children. Under this system the middle men of the influential people who control this exploitative system advance money during the lean period or to repay the debt and the make people under virtual bondage. After working in brick kiln for 6 months usually the family is left with no money to survive after repaying the loan to the moneylenders. Poor families have no option, other than continue migrating, despite the hardship and exploitation.

Mrs.Khirmati Majhi, aged 32 of village Dabri is a marginal farmers having 2 acres of land. What they earn from the small patches of land is insufficient for the family to meet their basic needs. Often, drought, dry-spell,

unseasonal rains led to crop failure or very low yield. Exploitative moneylenders were solace for the family in many occasions. Like many other families in the area, Mrs. Khirmati’s family also used to migrate to Renga Reddy district in Andhra Pradesh to eke out their living. Usually, immediately after the harvesting period(Nov.) people migrate and return to the village in June.Whatever the whole family earned was just enough to meet their bare minimum needs and to repay the loan to the moneylenders. The vicious continued every year unaltered.

As part of the project, the project team conducted several village level meetings to educate people on problems associated with migration and alternatives like SHGs, its concept and merits, need for adopting sustainable agriculture practices etc. the staffs motivated her to join in the SHGs. Aware of Mrs.Khirmati’s problems, the staff motivated her to join in women SHGs. Initially she was reluctant as she used to migrate every year. Later, through interactions and counselling by the project team, she became a member of Indradi Mahila Mandal. Her participation in the meetings and interaction with the SHGs members helped her to think differently.

In the meantime, Agriculture experts of Lokadrusti explained to the members of the SHG about importance of vegetable cultivation on small patches of land for earning additional income and for consumption. Convinced by explanation three members of the group, including Mrs. Khirmati’s agreed to start vegetable cultivation in their land. However, water for cultivation of vegetables was a hurdle. But the determined women did not lose heart. They dug a temporary well near to their land where water level is high.  Encouraged by the efforts of women, Agriculture Experts and the other staff of the organization provided all the required technical guidance and seed supportof Rs.2000/- as grant to the members for starting vegetable cultivation.There was no looking back. The 3 women cultivated vegetables like brinjal, tomato, chilly and spinach and green leaves. By selling spinach and other green leaves Mrs. Khirmati earned more than Rs.3000/- and other crops are yet to harvest. She is expecting to get more than Rs. 10,000/-as net profit from her vegetable cultivation. Not only her family but her immediate neighbours also have added vegetables to their daily menu. 

“I am very much happy that Lokadrusti has motivated and support me to start vegetable cultivation. Initially, I was afraid but I am very happy and enjoy cultivating vegetables and I am sure I can earn our family’s living from vegetable cultivation and will never migrate to far off places for employment” says the contented Mrs. Khirmati.

From marginalization to path of prosperity

Mr.Tejpal at hisPaddy field  

Mr. Tejpal Herna, age 48 of village Bhairajpur is a small farmers having 3 acres of land. His family consists of his wife and 3 children. In 2015 he became the member of the Parambrahma Krushak Club(Farmer’s Club)promoted by Lokadrudti. His family used to work in their 3 acres of land and cultivated paddy and pulses. The yield / return from the land was very low due to lack of investment capacity. Moreover,in the absence of irrigation facilities and recurring drought, dry spell and unseasonal rains, there was crop failure and low yield. The income from the land was insufficient for the family to survive. To tide over the poor economic condition in 2014 he has borrowed Rs.20,000/- from a moneylender from Duajhar village at the interest rate of 60% to start a grocery shop in the village. The income from the grocery shop was just enough to repay the interest of the principal amount borrowed and the new venture further led him to indebtedness. He was so much worried about the repayment of loan taken from the moneylender and lost his interest in cultivation.

It was at this juncture that staff from Lokadrusti interacted with him. Knowing his difficult situation they counseled and motivated him to join

the Farmer’s club of small and marginal farmers of the villages. The staff oriented the members of farmer’s club on adopting improved cropping pattern and better management practices to make agriculture operations more remunerative. The farmers who often faced the problem of drought and crop failure was unwilling to do any new experiments.

But due to regular counseling by the Agriculture expert, Master Trainers, the staff of Lokadrusti and provision of irrigation facility from the newly constructed a WHS, motivated the farmers to experiment improved cropping patterns. Total 5 farmers including Mr. Tejpal came forward to adopt SRI/Line transplantation methods of paddy cultivation in 6 acres of land. Mr. Tejpal carried out SRI method of paddy cultivation in one acre. The project team regularly visited the farmers and gave all required handholding and encouragement. The farmers got on an average 2000 kg of paddy from each acre of land. Mr. Tejpal Herna was fortunate enough to get 2,400 kg of paddy from one acre of land. It was indeed a reason for joy and for transformation among the farmers especially Mr. Tajpal. He has already repaid the loan amount of Rs.8,000/-. He is now more enthusiastic and planning to continue SRI method of paddy cultivation in 2 acres of his land, in the next Kharif season.

“The encouragement from the Lokadrusti staff and provision of water for irrigation from the WHS was the main reason for me to adopt SRI method of paddy cultivation. Now it has changed mindset and hopefully I will come out of difficulties in the coming years leading to change in my family’s lives. I am very grateful to Lokadrusti for all their support and motivation”, says Mr. Tejpal.

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