The ever increasing demand for basic items of survival have led to the depletion of Earth’s natural resources. Rich and diverse natural resources of land, soil, water and air must be managed, conserved and enhanced for better production and productivity.
The main objective of watershed management is to maintain the social, economic and ecological balance, thereby contributing to sustainable development and reduction of negative external impacts on the environment. After identifying the degraded micro watershed based on social, economical and ecological criteria, feasibility studies are conducted with technical experts to understand impending issues, causes and impact on natural resources. A multidisciplinary team charts out a treatment plan and a segment wise livelihood plan.
Organic farming systems avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators. Instead they rely on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm wastes, mineral-bearing rocks, and biological pest control to maintain soil health. The supply of plant nutrients also minimizes insects, weeds, and other pests.
In India, we presently facilitate the formation and promotion of Organic Farmers Groups (OFG) within the watershed by organizing 12-20 interested farmers who are doing similar agriculture together. They are provided with appropriate training and exposure visits along with technical demonstration during the cropping season. Similar OFGs within the district are federated into district level groups to form a District Organic Farmers Association.
All the organic produce is certified and pooled together and sold at premium prices at the districts.
In developing countries of South and South East Asia, the timely availability of adequate capital for rural farmers, especially landless farmers, is a determining factor for effective and successful farm produce. While the governments allocate budgets for farmers, farmers depend on informal sources of funding such as moneylenders and middlemen as this informal financial system involves less time and paper work. Alternatively, there are no formal financial institutions that support organic farmers through lending. Therefore, the Green Livelihood Finance component evolved to financially support organic farmer groups; self help groups and user groups in the areas under which the programme is operational.
The area of Muthukumaran hills, a part of Jawathu hills located in the Eastern Ghats in South India was once well known for its rich and diverse agriculture. Owing to deforestation, climate change and over-exploitation of natural resources, this region has been left with declined agricultural profitability and increasing migration of the population in search of better livelihoods. To reverse this situation, we intervened and introduced the WADI project. WADI is an agriculture-based farming system in rain-fed tribal areas, which envisages empowering women through community participation, initiatives for microfinance, as well as processing and marketing of products. WADI is a small fruit orchard and the project is focused on developing this through intercropping, restoration of denuded land and moisture conservation. The project provides livelihood to 991 farming families and 100 landless famers in the region and at the same time revives the land for a bright future for growing organic seeds and grains.