Improving Food Security through Sustainable Agricultural Practices and Strengthening Local Biodiversity Management

The project being implemented by Prayatna Samiti with the support of Kehitysmaayhdistys Pääskyt and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland, addresses vulnerable ecosystem by fostering minor millets and vegetable cultivation with the set of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and good governance for better management of natural resources in 10 villages. The project addresses women as primary beneficiaries with the objective to increase food security, improve livelihoods, and conservation of biodiversity and strengthened participation of local communities, including women through bio-resource management. The project till now has addressed 68 families.

Market-driven agriculture has caused a huge set back in production of traditional grains which are good sources of nutrients necessary for human health. At the same time rapid use of chemical fertilizers has degraded the important soil constituents. This development has had a very negative impact on food security of small farmers.

Project activities:

Trainings were provided to promote GAP for minor millets and vegetable cultivation. Based on the training chapters women followed row sowing of foxtail millet; utilized fallow land for cultivation; organic manures like Cow dung water, Panchagavayam, Five leaf extract and Amrit Pani were prepared at home. People came to know the importance of minor millets and vegetables in promoting health.

Seed Grain Banks (SGB) were promoted to ensure minor millet grain available at home. 20 SGB were established with 4 kilogram of seeds provided to each beneficiary. Seeds of Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum), Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) were provided to women.

To satisfy the nutritional needs vegetable cultivation kits were provided to the SHG women for development of Nutrition Garden. Tomato, bhindi, brinjal, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, spinach, cluster beans and chilli seeds were distributed along with promotion of the set of GAP. Women followed row sowing of seeds during nursery raising, which was never attempted in the region.