Dear Grove Community,
This is a post to share what transpired in Kantasole Gram Panchayat after the participatory landscape assessment (Sense of the house that was done in Dec-22 (report attached in previous post).
The participatory assessment (Dec-22) with the community helped to create a common understanding of land use patterns, agro-ecosystems, local economy and the larger challenges that afflict production systems and peoples’ lives in general. Key observations included- an almost complete dependence on paddy based rainfed monoculture, chemical fertilizers and limited crop diversity. Very few households were able to take a second crop in Rabi or utilize Badi land (homestead). There was significant out migration (both seasonal and long term -1or 2 persons per family). A key insight was the high expenditure incurred for meeting food and consumption needs -the GP spent over 1 cr on vegetables every year!!
The systematic articulation (also visual) motivated Community members -youth , women and Village leaders (Manki Munda system amongst tribal communities of Jharkhand) to come forward and commit their time and resources to an Action plan that was prepared as an output of the participatory exercise.
In just one season (Kharif, 2023) - the landscape saw some 104 farmers adopt Natural farming (NF) practices such as PMDS, multi-cropping system (Navadhanya) and use of bio -inputs across 22 acres.
The shift to NF practices was facilitated through two rigorous on-field knowledge transfer trainings by NF experts and champion farmers.
Enthusiastic adoption of NF practices in paddy and response of the community (paddy yield there are quite low when compared to National average) to the capacity building initiatives has been very encouraging.
Other models such as the multi-layer poultry integrated farms (half acre models), crop-biodiversity blocks for establishing local seed systems , urine collection in cattle sheds, and community driven vaccination system were also tried out on pilot basis.
Almost entirely rainfed , the Community could not access water for a large part of the year , thus restricting their choice of crops and intensification at large.
Focused efforts at water resource planning for the GP have been made, primarily to enable the community to take up vegetable production. Village youth volunteered for collecting data of water bodies in the GP to identify the perennial sources and were trained in the same . Out of the 6 sites identified, a solar gravity-based irrigation pilot is under-way in Handibani-one of the 6 sites. The 7.5 HP irrigation set up will cover an area of about 23 acres.
Also , with support from ACWADAM, systematic data collection (borewells) is being done for better understanding of the local hydro-geology ( several check dams have failed as the hydro- geology does not allow for collection of water).
Please find attached a mid-season report of the progress made so far. We will follow it up with an end-of season /operational photos of the various models and other pilots tried out.
WASSAN is working closely with CSO partner Kalamandir for this location.
Mid-season update-Kantasole Panchayat-Jharkhand.pdf (858.9 KB)