Laya makes a difference in empowering marginalized communities

Sustainable Resource Management

Towards Model Development of ‘Good Practices’ in Sustainable Farming: The Change Story

This story of change is about the role of sustainable farming set in a remote ‘tribal’ or ‘Adivasi’ area of Andhra Pradesh towards ‘building community resilience in a climate changing environment’. From a practical perspective, this ‘change story’ illustrates and analyses key interventions of resilience building in such communities with a focus on ‘good practices in sustainable farming’ leading towards food and income security, that enhance their quality of life.

LAYA's main objective is to improve the sustainable productivity of natural resources. In doing so, we ensure that adivasi communities in the High Altitude Tribal Zone (HATZ) equip themselves with sustainable technologies in natural resource management in order to be 'food secure' and have basic livelihood security.

LAYA has identified the challenge in responding to the livelihood security needs of the community. This challenge has two major dimensions:

LAYA’s intervention has been translated into developing a basket of good practices in sustainable farming which, when administered together, work as a pragmatic model towards building community resilience to climate change. This model was piloted in 2009 in one remote Adivasi area, with 934 Adivasi households towards promoting resilience through farming practices among the Konda Reddy PVTGs, from four panchayats and 40 villages of Y. Ramavaram Mandal, East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. These four panchayats have 48 ward members of which 19 are women. Two of the Sarpanches were also women. The 934 farmers were tracked and the quantitative and qualitative impacts recorded.

The role of sustainable farming towards building Community Resilience in a Climate Changing Environment: The Change Story

Initiatives in 2019-2020

Based on our past learnings, the initiatives in 2019-2020 included the following packages of practices (PoP) in agriculture, horticulture and other facilitative measures in allied non-farm activities:

Soil nutrient management

which helped to enrich the soil and increased crop productivity to an average of 20%.

Revival of minor millets

As a result of this intervention household millet consumption has increased from 2 kg to 6 kg a week in 7 Panchayats of Y. Ramavaram Mandal. Also, the farmers were assisted in marketing the surplus produce of approximately 25 metric tons to the Girijana Cooperative Corporation (GCC) and the “Manyam” Grains Processing Unit at Anakapalli.

Advocacy initiatives with KVK and ITDA resulted in the sanction of 2 millets processing machines to be established at Maredumilli and Y.Ramavaram mandals of East Godavari District.

Climate resilient farming practices in Pathakota Cluster and East Godavari District

Climate Resilient Natural Farming (CRNF)

In collaboration with Rythu Sadhikara Samstha, Department of Agriculture, Government of Andhra Pradesh LAYA promoted and encouraged the cultivation of paddy, millets, pulses and vegetables as well as horticultural crops like cashew, mango, banana and turmeric.

Introduced a five-layer model system in one acre

This comprises trees, shrubs, creepers, herbs and tubers being planted. The diversified intervention helps to improve the coping mechanism of the farmer in the face of climate variability.

Half-acre Annapurna model

This is an integrated model which involves perennial and seasonal vegetables ensuring regular access to nutrition throughout the year and is managed solely by women.

Pre monsoon dry sowing in April 2019

This was demonstrated where a combination of seeds were sowed including ragi, sama, korra, maize, jonna, kandi, alasandalu, aobbara, ginger, pumpkin, ash gourd, and dosakaya. The outcome results have shown a good crop growth and that the plant's roots have been established well and harvested early.

Continued the application of ‘Panchagavya’ natural farming practice on cashew trees

The outcome has been favorable in the flowering and fruiting of cashew trees using lesser investment in fertilizers and pesticides and resulting in a 25-40 percent increase in cashew nuts per acre.

Homesteads development

This was taken up with efforts to involve women-headed households. Each household received an additional income of Rs 25000 - Rs 35000 annually because of this intervention.

System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

This intervention happened during the Kharif season, in 42 villages, in ‘pallamu’ (wetlands). The harvest showed an increased average yield of 35% per acre compared with the normal cultivated paddy during the sameseason. SRI cultivation was also facilitated in the Rabi season 2019-2020. These farmers were also encouraged to use seed varieties that are drought, pests and disease resistant.

Kitchen Gardens and vegetable cultivation

Households have been encouraged to start kitchen gardens by exchanging seeds among one another. Local seeds were also procured and distributed. LAYA also facilitated vegetable cultivation by providing seeds of brinjal, tomato, okra, beans, gourds and different leafy vegetables. This intervention has increased the nutritious food consumption at the household level.

Women were also able to earn by selling vegetables to others in the village and at the local markets. The average annual additional income was raised from Rs.15000 to Rs.20000 rupees for each household.

Mixed cropping

This has been promoted in ‘Podu’, ‘metta-garuvulu’ and ‘garuvulu’ (slope lands). The farmers adopted methods of line sowing and were able to decrease seed rate in maize, red gram, and dry paddy with an average increase in yield from 7 bags to 9.5 bags. This intervention has helped to reduce drudgery in weeding and crop cutting.

Improved agricultural implements

Improved agricultural tools in SRI paddy cultivation for farmers, including women, was made available by government schemes. These included markers, cycle weeders, horticultural tools, hand saws, secateurs, crop harvesting sickles, tarpaulins, sprayers, drums for making high humus manures, hand tools, hoes, ploughs, etc. The introduction of these tools has reduced the drudgery in manual labor, especially for the women farmers.

Horticulture and Agro-forestry

Mango and cashew plantations were facilitated in 120 acres of 120 households in 28 villages in the East Godavari district in collaboration with MGNREGS and SHM. By adding fencing around the plantation the survival rate of the crops was 65%.

LAYA has also demonstrated agro-forestry models in 26 acres of 30 households in 12 villages, 3 of Y. Ramavaram mandal.

Broom grass cultivation has been promoted in 120 acres in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.

Alternate marketing models

LAYA facilitated 6 Millets Producers Groups (MPG) in East Godavari district and linked them with Girijana Cooperative Corporation (GCC) and Manyam Grains to sell their millets. 4 MPGs have also marketed their millets in collaboration with the GCC in Rampachodavaram.

Processing of the millets is being encouraged and some of the processed millets is made available through the PDS in 2 Panchayats of Y. Ramavaram Mandal as well as sold to retail outlets in Tulasipakalu, Addateegala and Rampachodavaram.

Pisciculture in water bodies

LAYA has facilitated 32 farmers from 12 villages to take up fisheries in the water bodies in East Godavari district. They were supplied with 65,000 fish seeds purchased from the Fisheries Department. The families that have harvested the fish were able to consume as well as make sales.

Desi backyard poultry

In collaboration with WASSAN, ITDA, and TRICOR, the 1st and 2nd phase of the programme with 6200 households and 58 desi poultry breeder farms in Addateegala and Paderu saw a decreased mortality rate of the poultry by 70%. Access and consumption to desi chicken and eggs for the households has also increased. The income for each of the families involved in the programme has increased annually by Rs. 5000 - Rs. 10000.

The plans for the next phase are to set up two breeder farms.

Key locations for LAYA’s NRM involvement

District, Mandal, Gram Panchayats (GPs) No of GPs Villages House Holds
Mandal: Peddabayalu Pedakodapalli, Gamparayi, Galaganda, Sikari, Kimmudupalli and Aradikota 6 68 846
Mandal:PaderuVanugupalli, Kinchuru, Bantrothputtu, G. Muchingputtu 4 36 798
Mandal:HukumpetaMottujoru, Volda, Andibha and Boddaputtu, Bhimavaram 5 35 485
East Godavari
Mandal:AddateegalaD.Bhimavaram, Tungamadugula, Somannapalem, Dhanyampalem D.Ramavaram, Dakodu, Veeravaram 7 35 1200
Mandal:Y.RamavaramPathakota, Daragedda, Boddagandi, Gurthedu, Kaniwada,Chinthalapudi, Yerramreddipalem, K. Erragonda, Chamagedda, Yarlagedda, Y.Ramavaram, P.Yerragonda, Kota, Chavitidibbalu, Panasalapalem and Dalipadu 16 118 3750
Mandal:GangavaramAmudalabanda and Pandrapolu 2 5 345
Mandal:RajavommangiBadadanampalli, Zaddangi 5 7 560
Mandal:MaredumilliThadepalle, D.V.Kota, and Dorachintalapalem 3 11 550
Mandal:GummalaxmipuramP. Amiti and Manda 2 5 158
Mandal:SeethampetaTitukupayi 1 3 80
Total Districts:4, Total Mandals:10 51 323 8772

Intensive Training for Sustainable Agriculture Practitioners (SAP)

A one year course on Sustainable Agriculture Practitioners was organised in 2019 for 25 young adivasi practitioners who have the potential to become progressive farmers in the region. The training will be completed in 2020. The farmers have been accompanied on bio-farming measures in their own farms.

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Promoting Biodiversity

Seed senters and conservation of rare crop seed varieties

10 community managed seed centers in 10 focal villages were established in 6 Panchayats of Pathakota and Pedakodapalli region. Each seed centre has 32 traditional varieties of millets, paddy, pulses, beans, spices and oil seeds. 1450 farmers have accessed seeds from these centers and they have been utilized in 1890 acres. Farmers were also encouraged to collect and supply seeds of many varieties of traditional crops to other farmers.

Organising seed festivals

In order to share and upgrade knowledge to young people in the region LAYA organises seed festivals in the region. This also creates learning spaces for other interested individuals and institutions.

Broom grass cultivation

Promoting intercrop-based broom grass cultivation with microbial inoculants in degraded forest lands in the Paderu region.

Promotion of crop biodiversity

Block variety trials were facilitated in 5 acres of land of Pasaruginni, Paidiputta and Komaravaram villages of Y.Ramavaram Mandal in collaboration with Wassan and Rythu Sadhikara Samstha.

Undertaking an ethno-botany study for sustaining biodiversity

This study was undertaken in the villages of Gangarajuputtu, Maradapalli and Vakapalli in Visakhapatnam District to identify the availability of plant resources and the regeneration of those that are becoming rare and scarce in the region.

Promoting NTFP plants on degraded lands

160 acres of degraded lands in 4 panchayats are being revived with NTFP and agro-forestry which is being managed independently by the communities.

Leveraging Schemes for Adivasi Farmers from Government Departments

The NRM Unit plays a role in raising awareness and facilitating access to schemes for adivasi farmers from various government departments in the region. It has developed working relationship with the officers of the:

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
  • State Horticulture Department
  • Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA)
  • Central Research Institute for Dry-Land Agriculture (CRIDA)
  • National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD)
  • Regional Agriculture Research Station HAT Zone, Chintapalli
  • Andhra Pradesh Micro Irrigation Development Corporation (APMIDC).

The Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RYSS) has allotted a cluster to LAYA, as a facilitating agency, to motivate 2150 farmers to adopt the Climate Resilient Zero Budget Natural Farming (CRZBNF) practices in the Pathakota cluster of Y. Ramavaram mandal, East Godavari district.

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