Farmers in the Mahaboobnagar (Andhra Pradesh) and Raichur (Karnataka) districts had suffered large-scale damages and their livelihoods were devastated after cyclonic floods in October 2009 that completely washed out their farm lands and their only source of sustenance.
Today, these farmers have been able to resume farming on their agricultural lands and enhance their crop yields thanks to a community development and livelihood restoration initiative by Monsanto Fund in partnership with NGO Access Development Services.
In 2009, flood waters inundated these districts and affected the lives and livelihoods of more than five million residents, destroyed millions of acres of farmland and damaged standing crops resulting in loss of life, property and livestock. Villages along the river-bed were revisited by subsequent floods in August 2010 as well, and a majority of affected people were small and marginal-scale farmers with land along the river bed.
Besides losing fertile topsoil to erosion that rendered the agriculture lands unfit for cultivation, the remaining farmers battled severe water-logging, sand casting and damage to standing crops. The worst-affected were communities in Raichur and Mahaboobnagar districts, which were then unable to return to normal livelihood activities and more than 80 percent migrated with their families.
Began in 2011, a 3-year initiative driven by the collaborative effort of Monsanto Fund and NGO ACCESS Development Services, focused on “Restoration of Livelihoods in the Flood-Affected areas of Mahaboobnagar and Raichur.” The project successfully restored farm-based livelihoods of nearly 10,000 households across 20 flood-affected villages, through sustainable technical and institutional delivery mechanism. It aimed at enabling rehabilitation of agriculture-based livelihoods in flood affected villages of the two districts.
Out of a total damaged landholding of 349.91 acres in the selected villages, nearly 270 acres have since been restored. As part of the project several activities like land and canal restoration, drainage cleaning, soil fertility improvement measures, introduction of new crops (vegetables, watermelon, maize and black gram) to improve their income and nutrition have been undertaken.
An average of 500 families in each affected village is being supported.
Additionally, distribution of green manure seeds and gypsum have encouraged farmers to return to cultivating their land. The partnership also helped to establish an Agri-business Resource Centre (ABRC) to strengthen Producers Company business activities and to take up farm-based livelihoods through crop diversification. Water-harvesting measures and income-generation activities like livestock promotion, capacity building, etc. have helped rehabilitate poor and marginalized sections The entire rehabilitation efforts focused on integrated inputs right from restoration of cultivable land, streamlining quality inputs, developing farmer based institutions as well as facilitating market linkages.
While applauding the initiative, Honorable Member of the Legislative Assembly from Alampur, Shri Abraham, said, “This initiative is an example of how focused partnerships can help improve the lives of communities. I congratulate the farmers of Mahaboobnagar and Raichur for their success and praise Monsanto Fund and NGO ACCESS for their joint contribution.”
Monsanto Fund and NGO ACCESS Development Services helped farmers with soil analysis, and advanced farm inputs for cultivation, and educated them on crop management practices, thereby helping them increase their yields and improve their lives.
Farmer Chakali Bajari, Kutakanur village, Mahaboobnagar talks with pride, “The floods in October 2009 left massive destruction for us farmers. My village was based only on agriculture and after the floods the fertile part of the land was totally eroded and the agriculture lands were not suitable for cultivation. I was among the many farmers who migrated to protect our families.
However, Monsanto Fund and NGO ACCESS came to our rescue. Following their guidance and expert help, I have been able to enhance my yields in paddy cultivation. On behalf of my entire village, I thank Monsanto Fund and NGO ACCESS for their support.”
Talking about Monsanto’s role in the initiative, Madhav, Human Rights Lead, Monsanto India said, “At Monsanto, we endeavor to improve the lives of farming families through sustainable agriculture. Our association with NGO partner ACCESS is part of our promise to deliver solutions to farmers and enable them to realize their true potential. We will continue to partner with farming communities in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and across India to help farmers produce more, conserve more and improve lives.”