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?
AFPRO’s illustrious work in the area of agriculture, food security and livelihoods have been done by adopting innovative models of sustainable agricultural practices which include soil and water conservation, organic farming, and promoting alternate livelihood options focussing on agriculture and allied activities. The interventions in this sector strongly focus on community based environmental friendly models such as Sustainable Agricultural Practices, Low Cost Water Saving Technologies, Lift and Diversion based Irrigation Systems, Tree based farming, Rural Livelihood securities through Integrated Farming Systems and Food and Nutritional Security measures. Teams comprising of agricultural engineers and agricultural specialists working across the geographical spread of the country seek the development of innovative models to improve livelihoods through a combination of crop rotation, mixed cropping, organic farming and dry land agricultural practices.
At AFPRO, we have focused on providing fundamental technical solutions to small and marginalized farmers engaged in agriculture to help them improve their productions. Also by addressing some of the factors that restrain their net profits, we have helped generate additional incomes. Integrating agriculture practices with livestock rearing and fisheries, model solutions have been developed for focused geographies to meet subsistence requirement; and also generate additional incomes. Pride in our accomplishment stems not only from having contributed to the development of successful models; but also in the ability to improve livelihoods of flood affected inhabitants.
AFPRO is currently addressing the issue of enhanced livelihoods in flood prone districts of Assam through the development of innovative models based on Integrated Farming Systems. Stabilization of agricultural practices in tribal dominated forest areas are being propagated through the adoption of tree based farming activities. Crop diversification strategies through integration of traditional farming systems and tree based farming practices are also being propagated as an approach to enhance livelihoods of the community.
The contribution of Better Management Practices in traditional cropping patterns has also evolved as a strategy to improve livelihoods and is evident in AFPRO experience with cotton cultivation across project villages in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Programme experiences focus on technological options for optimum utilization and conservation of soil and water. Integrated Pest Management and Water saving technologies were introduced to increase production.
AFPRO’ mission of addressing the issues of poor and marginalized sections finds focus in its propagation of homestead cultivation as a measure to ensure food and nutritional security among poor and marginalized farming households. Enhancing livelihoods through reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing adaptative capacities of communities to climate change was also one of the strategies that emerged during AFPRO’s collaboration with Swiss Development Corporation.
Roles of community managed technological options like Agro-Metrological Laboratories and Water Banks. The role of livestock in rural households and their contribution to livelihoods led to the development of the creation of Barefoot Technicians. Livestock specialist designed and developed modules for the capacity building of a cadre of community based livestock technicians for the promotion of livestock and animal husbandry in the rural areas,