Inherent land use capabilities are compromised due to human practices (intense utilization of land, absence of land management practices, unscientific application of fertilizers and pesticides); aggravating natural forces of degradation, and affecting productivity.
We are also addressing Food Security through introduction of practices which help check degradation and thereby contribute to both improvements in productivity, as well as ensure sustainable resource utilization.
Technological solutions introduced by us find relevance to the following key forms of degradation – Gullied land, Shifting Cultivation, degraded pastures, Sandy area and Steep sloping area.
Unscientific application of fertilizers and pesticides through Soil Management practices is also addressed through our programmes. Our work also find support to Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Soil Testing, design and development of Organic manure – vermi compost and nadeep compost etc. Concerted efforts are being made to advocate adoption of such practices.
Climate change is the greatest global challenge facing us today which through a multitude of impacts poses a risk to our ecology, economy and society. Observation shows that changes being experienced in the climate of Rajasthan are over and above the natural climate variability prevailing in the region. Studies have shown that Rajasthan falls in areas of greatest climate sensitivity, maximum vulnerability and lowest adaptive capacity. Already, water resources in the State are scarce and have a highly uneven distribution both temporally and spatially with highest probability of drought occurrence.
In view of this and to assist the communities to cope with these challenges and secure water availability, The Indo-German Watershed Development Programme (IGWDP) of NABARD in Anjeni, being implemented by AFPRO Udaipur was selected from among NABARD’s watersheds in Rajasthan to pilot ‘Climate Proofing of Watershed Programmes’. It was an initiative by NABARD and GiZ to demonstrate as to how existing development programmes could be modified to incorporate changes in climate.
Climate proofing of watershed development programmes is a methodological approach aimed at incorporating climate change impacts into watershed development planning. It helps in assessing adaptation measures in relation to current and future challenges/opportunities and enables implementation of efficient and resilient watershed programmes through identification and prioritization of options for action. For developing net plan for climate resilient watershed management, current climate risks, future climate projections, its impacts on water and agriculture and farmer’s experiences/knowledge in facing the extreme weather events were considered. Important suggestions included, soil and water conservation, increasing Water Use Efficiency, mobile phone linked ICT and capacity building.
Cotton is one of the most important fiber and cash crop of India and plays a dominant role in the industrial and agricultural economy of the country. Cotton in India provides direct livelihood to 6 million farmers and about 40 -50 million people are employed in cotton trade and its processing. Indian cotton production is heavily associated with the intensive use of hazardous pesticides. Data reveals that Cotton cultivation in India consumes 44.5% of the total pesticides used in the country. In addition, cotton is a water thirsty crop and around 6% of the water for irrigation in India is used for cotton cultivation (Estimation based on figures from www .indiastat.com).
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an eco‐ friendly approach for managing pest and disease of crops by utilizing all possible available methods and techniques of pest control such as Cultural, Mechanical, Biological and Chemical methods in a scientific way to suppress the pest population below economic injury level. In Order to minimize the indiscriminate and judicious use of chemical Pesticides, IPM has been formulated as principle of plant protection in overall crop protection programmes under the National Agriculture policy of the Govt. of India for sustainable crop production without affecting environment.
In order to address these distresses of cotton cultivation, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has been established as a global initiative to make sustainable cotton production as mainstream standard. BCI aims to promote measurable improvements in the key environmental and social impacts of cotton cultivation worldwide to make it more sustainable (economically, environmentally and socially). AFPRO joined hands with BCI in the year 2011 and initiated the first project in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, which was a result of AFPRO’s partnership with IKEA since 2008. As an implementing partner, AFPRO has made efforts to work with small and marginal farmers and capacitated them on BCI principles and criterion so that the cotton being produced by them is certified as better cotton. With the successful result of Yavatmal BCI project, in the year 2012, two more areas in Gujarat were brought under the umbrella of Better Cotton Initiative Programme.
“Presently AFPRO – BCI programme covers 70000 farmers from both Maharashtra & Gujarat”
AFPRO – BCI Programme aims at:
- Impart knowledge and skill to the farmers about Better Cotton Systems.
- Reduce the input cost.
- Motivate farmers to adopt environmental friendly cotton cultivation practices so as to ensure better health and environment including soil condition which will be advantageous for the people who produce it and also for other people who depend on cotton for their livelihood.
- Work towards realizing principles of Decent Work among farming communities that includes farm workers.
- Move towards developing linkages of farmers groups with the market.
- The project interventions resulted shift from high resource inputs to optimum input among the farmers cultivating cotton.
- In both the region all registered farmers are getting licence from BCI to sale better cotton.
- 40 % reduction in water consumption due to adoption of improved water management practices.
- About 30 – 40% reduction in use of chemicals (fertilizer and chemical pesticide) is recorded. Farmers have started using appropriate quantum of chemical fertilizer after soil testing.
- Average net profit recorded in the range of Rs.10112 – 44305 per ha in both Maharashtra and Gujarat.
- Generated awareness among the farmers on decent work activities like abolition of Child Labour, non involvement Pregnant Women during spraying of chemicals, use of persons above 18 Years and older for hazardous work etc through IEC activities.
- Dissemination of technical knowledge resulted in skill development of 150 number of village level volunteer.
- Past history and present coverage of the programme
- About BCI, Better Cotton, Minimum Production Criterias(MPCs) and the process we followed to grow Better Cotton
- Success Story
Glimpse from the project
The green revolution in wheat and rice, white revolution in milk, yellow revolution in oilseed and the “blue revolution” in fisheries have augmented the food basket of the country. But many technological challenges remain. First, despite the shrinking share (23%) of the agricultural sector in the economy, the majority of the labour force (nearly 60%) continues to depend on agriculture. About 75% of India’s poor people with low purchasing power live in rural areas and nearly 60% of the cultivated area is under rainfed farming. Hence, the National Agricultural Policy and the Tenth Five Year Plan place high priority on raising agricultural productivity as a means to achieve more rapid agricultural growth and reduce rural poverty. Secondly, stagnating/decelerating productivity growth and declining total factor productivity in agriculture have cast doubts on the resilience of the sector to meet the challenges of a more market-driven and competitive regime. Related to the issue of stagnating productivity is the obvious limited connection between input use and productivity growth performance. Thirdly, current unsustainable land and water use practices will lead to lower agricultural productivity in the future. Fourthly, ensuring economic and ecologically sound access to food to every Indian, while conserving and improving the natural resources and traditional wisdom, in a more competitive regime, is yet another challenge.
Watershed provides a natural unit for ecological conservation and resource management as it governs the drainage of water and provides maximum scope for nature-friendly intervention.
AFPPRO has been one of the pioneers of the approach of watershed management with dedicated teams of civil, mechanical and agricultural engineers, geologists and hydro-geologists contributing to the execution of the approach across the country.
So goes the saying ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’. While the conscience of the nation seems to be driven by the need to ensure food security, among the poorest of its poor; the path, which we as a nation through our policies have chosen to tread down is to say the least highly debatable. How best can we empower communities to take charge of their own food securities, are questions we have found asking ourselves? Also to what extents can we as an organization address availability, access and nutrition requirements of a family through project interventions?