With the help of the Monsanto Fund, a five-year project is underway to improve the incomes of 3,000 poor families in Kalahandi district, through integrated natural resource development (INRD), improved farming systems and better market linkages.
The program, which began in October 2011, identified women from target families and organized them into self help groups. These women learn sustainable agriculture practices — maximizing return without depleting resources — through integrated land and water resource development education. This teaches the benefits of rainwater harvesting, land conservation and the judicious use of resources through modern cropping practices using natural inputs. These demonstrations helped mobilize support from government bodies, banks and other financial institutions to sustainably replicate these farming systems in neighboring villages.
It is expected that income from the land under cultivation using INRD will reduce encroachment on nearby forest land and encourage the local population to preserve that forest land. Within the first quarter alone, 12 self help groups were established, and 150 families have been educated on the importance of INRD to increase their incomes and on how to fulfill their economic aspirations through concept seeding sessions. Three irrigation schemes under an integrated action plan have been established. Flow irrigation schemes have been installed to help families enhance their agricultural productivity as well as their household food consumption.