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Livelihood Promotion

Strengthen and Improve Rural Livelihoods System

For improving rural livelihood, SeSTA works on the three pillars of livelihood triangle- People, Resource and Activity. SeSTA belief that change could be sustainable when we bringing change on ‘being level’ of individuals for it SeSTA’s major focus of building capabilities through training and handholding supports. Managing natural resources in an integrated way is important for the sustainability of rural livelihood. In this regards SeSTA works of improvement of soil health, water management and conservation of natural resources. In case of livelihoods activities, SeSTA provide services like- scientific understanding of the activity and economical sustainability.

At present we works on-

Improved Agriculture

SeSTA since its inception in 2011 is working on promoting agriculture with small & marginal farming communities of Chirang & Bongaigaon district. In last 3 years SeSTA reached out to more than 4500 families through agriculture initiatives. SeSTA has demonstrated yield enhancement in crops like paddy, maize & vegetables during this period.

SeSTA gained significant learning from this SRI based agriculture promotion and now exploring opportunity to build on the learning gained to demonstrate a replicable, self sustaining agriculture model with small & marginal farmers of Lower Assam region.

Key Experiences:

a) Yield enhancements in paddy from 5 MT from 2.5 MT
SeSTA promoted SRI paddy with over 8000 farmers in the SRI projects and yields were doubled on an average from 2.5 MT to 5 MT/Ha. Farmers normally grow SRI in 0.5 Acre to 1 Acre of land and harvested 500 Kg – 800 Kg of paddy which increased food sufficiency for additional 4-5 months.

b) Vegetable farming is remunerative for small & marginal farmers
In last 2 years SeSTA piloted vegetable trials with the farmers mainly in two seasons Rainy/Kharif season & Winter/Rabi season. Farmers growing vegetables in 0.2-0.25 Acre of land in the month of September – October could able to earn Rs 15,000 from 2 crops like Cabbage, Cauliflower & Chilly. In this demonstrations growing quality seedling, irrigation and disease & pest management were major challenges. SeSTA promoted community nursery to provide good quality seedlings, constructed 11 net houses which provided seedlings for 25 Ha of vegetable cultivation (Nearly 2, 00,000 seedlings). SeSTA also provided shallow tube wells for irrigation which was effective to irrigate 1-1.5 Acre of uplands. For disease & pest management SeSTA organized training events with farmer in collaboration of KVK, Chirang.

c) Maize and Pulses are alternative crops for the farmers
SeSTA started promoting maize in Bongaigaon area and now almost 500 farmers have adopted this crop. With assured irrigation maize can give yield of 900-1000Kg from 0.3 Acre area. SeSTA demonstrated three critical inputs in maize farming; linking farmers with seed dealers for quality seeds, Weeding with wheel hoe at 15 & 25 days after sowing to ensure proper root growth, Management of maize shoot borer.
Farmer grows pulses only for consumption purpose but has got a lot of production potential, only few farmers grow it in a commercial scale. One Arhar plant can give dal of 500 gms hence with 50 such plants one can harvest up-to 25 Kgs & can earn up to Rs 3000- 4000/- from 0.2 acre of land.

d) Scope of oilseed, spices and horticulture
Farmers in this area has got 0.2-0.5 Acre of upland and the advanced farming communities are growing crops like Banana, Areca-nut along with spices and oilseeds in between. This model provides from Rs 30,000/- in the first year of orchard establishment & up-to Rs 1,00, 000/- However the small farmers we are presently working with cannot afford high establishment costs required in initial phase. They are forced to grow crops which require lower investments, and they don’t have access to irrigation.

There is a huge scope of promoting small scale wadi models with the small & marginal farmers.

Way forward

Based on the learning in last 5 years SeSTA is exploring opportunities to build on key activities which can provide sustainable incomes to small and marginal farmers. SeSTA is working on the following three important areas.
1. Creating irrigation support to farmers is very important which will increase cropping intensity of the farmer. One shallow tube well with an electric pump can provide irrigation in more than 1.5 Acres of land.

2. Diversify cropping pattern with these enhanced irrigation potential, brining best possible crop combination is important. Crop diversification can give farmer high incomes. Addition of horticulture crops like areca-nut, betel-vine, spices & maize can provide. Farmer can grow paddy-pulse-oilseed in Kharif season and in Rabi Maize – vegetable. The wadi will be covered with long duration crops like- Banana, citrus along with intercrops of betel vine, ginger, turmeric and other spices.

3. Farmer collective through self help groups: Self help group can act as platform for farmers to share knowledge, activity planning and marketing. SHG can act as a medium for farmers to communicate with mainstreams for mobilizing finances, govt. Schemes also for marketing of their produces.

This year SeSTA started implementing Sustainable Agriculture under Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) programme of MORD, GOI. 2000 women will be trained and their income will be enhanced by adopting sustainable agriculture practices in paddy, vegetables and allied activities.

Livestock Based Livelihood

Improved Pig rearing

Assam has a sizeable tribal population who are traditionally engaged in pig farming. Keeping this in mind, SeSTA conducted a feasibility study to assess the potential of pig farming activity in providing a stable non-farm income for the rural poor. With the findings of the feasibility study, a pilot project around improved pig farming was started at Chayani Barduar block of Kamrup district. The basic premise of the pilot project was to identify whether well-targeted interventions to improve pig production could deliver significant livelihood benefits for tribal and other marginalized groups in the region. In 12-13 we worked with 45 families in 5 villages in improved pig production. These 45 families took Hampshire and T&D (Tamworth & Desi) cross breed piglets for rearing. Our intervention in pig rearing was designed to provide –i) Veterinary support through Subject Matter Specialists, ii) vaccination in collaboration with Microbiology Department of College of Veterinary Sciences, iii) Capacity Building of farmers through training, exposure visit and handholding supports During last year, SeSTA supported 99 woman farmers of Kamrup (rural) district for improved pig farming. SeSTA provided quality piglets, regular vaccination and veterinary support to women farmers to enhance their income and strengthen piggery as a lucrative livelihood option. This also includes the promotion of low cost pigsty with 10 numbers of farmers for scientific pig rearing and piglet production. A cadre of paravet is being groomed to provide round the clock veterinary services to women farmers at doorsteps.

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