Courage to try New Learning in India Brings Transformation

Courage to try New Learning in India Brings Transformation

His father left the family when Bipro Diya was only seven. Bipro’s mother raised him and his three brothers on the meager produce of their one acre of land. Farming was their main source of food and income, but it was far too little for Bipro’s family; they lived with food insecurity six to eight months a year. The family survived by working as day labourers so they could at least purchase rice from the market. In 2009 Bipro joined ‘Umsaw Green Field,’ a farmers’ club formed by the Patharkhmah Food Security Project (supported by FRB and World Renew).

As an active member of the club he attended the meetings and trainings regularly. He was excited about all the new things he learned through the farmers club, but he was also reluctant to practice what he was learning. When he first learned about the rice growing method, SRI, he was too scared to try it because if he failed then his whole family would starve. He watched closely as other farmers experimented with SRI and finally gained the confidence to try it himself.

He first divided his land into two half acre plots. In the first plot he planted using the traditional method. In the second plot he used the SRI method but the same seed variety. In the SRI plot he practiced all the steps of SRI as taught by the project. After the harvesting he could see the difference in yield between SRI and the conventional method. From his half acre SRI field he harvested 680 kgs of rice, whereas using the conventional methods he as able to produce 358 kg of rice with the same size of land. The total yield sustained him and his family for 7 months food security!

In the Umsaw Green Field farmers club Bipro also learned kitchen gardening. He learned to plant vegetables in his rice paddy after harvesting rice. This is different than the traditional practice of leaving the land vacant for six months. Bipro and his brothers now grow a variety of vegetables after the rice harvest. They grow carrot, beans, radish, lettuce, cauliflower, onion, beet root and mustard leaves. During the months when food is traditionally scarce, Bipro’s family has been harvesting vegetables. They eat all the vegetables they need and sell the extras at the market. From the first harvest Bipro’s family earned 1020 Rupees from the excess vegetables.

“We come from a poor family. As a family we struggled so much. My mother tried so hard to take care of us when we were young. Now, it is time for us to take care of her. I am very happy the project works with poor farmers like me, to give us hope and teach us ways to increase our yields and still depend on cultivation for our food security and income. As a family we are happy with the yield of rice and with the kitchen garden. The practice of kitchen gardening in the paddy field after harvesting has helped not only in our nutritional consumption in the family, but it has also helped in increasing the fertility of the soil.” - Bipro Diya

By Cosmos Khonglah, NEICORD Staff

The India-Patharkhmah Program encompasses 18 communities, 733 households, and 4,460 individuals. 

02/06/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment