|Sustainable Agriculture Project Overview|
This project seeks to undertake watershed development and sustainable agriculture practices in the Mahoba District of Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh.
Project LocationIn partnership with Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba, FORRAD has undertaken an integrated watershed development programme in Tola Swayam and Bilkhi villages of Mahoba District, Uttar Pradesh that lies in the drought prone area of Bundelkhand. The total watershed area is about 500 hectares that lies between the two villages and is a catchment for the Kumbhara nala that also acts as a natural divide between the two villages. Unlike the Sambhar Salt lake project, most of the work in this area will be done of private lands. As in the case of Rajasthan, strategic partnerships are being formed with relevant government departments in order to increase the reach and scope of the work. Plantation work in the some of project area is being undertaken in collaboration with the Forest Dept. The Forest Dept. has leveraged funds for plantations of Babool, Chilla and Ber trees in the designated watershed area. The duration of the project is 4 years (2010-2014)
Project RationaleThe 6th consecutive year of drought in Bundelkhand makes it imperative to undertake watershed development in the region. Due to the persistent drought since 2003, the level of ground water in the area has fallen to under 350 ft. The quality of ground water is poor and unfit for drinking. Drinking water sources like streams, wells and hand pumps begin to dry up by the onset of summer. It is important to treat the land so as to harness the rainwater and reduce surface run-off or water logging in low lying areas in order to make optimal use of water.
Water scarcity in the area has also created a livelihood crisis with repeated failure of crops and a decreased supply of fodder for livestock. The rate of migration is therefore also very high in these villages. Contamination of both surface and ground water sources has had severe health repercussions, more specifically intestinal infections and, in the case of women, urinary tract infections.
Community ParticipationAs with the other projects, village level committees have been formed with men and women farmers across caste divides, in both the villages to oversee the implementation of the project. These groups are also given consistent training in not just watershed development but also other related themes of sustainable agricultural practices like use of organic manure or low water intensive seed varieties and so on.