Caritas Denmark supported projects (2001 – 05, 2005 – 10, 2010 – 13, 2014 – 17) – During this phase of interventions linked to improving rural livelihoods, the focus was on improving the production in agriculture and livestock rearing of farmers through the use of improved practices and increasing land use.
A survey on the change in farmers’ agriculture and livestock production through project intervention was conducted in Dec 2012 and Jan 2013 in which 925 farmers from 55 villages were interviewed and data on aspects relating to agriculture and livestock rearing were collected. Some of the aspects were change in land holding, land utilisation, improved practices in field crops, vegetable and fruit crops cultivation, improved practices in livestock rearing, income from agriculture and livestock rearing as well as value of capital assets created
Key findings from the study indicate that though land holdings have increased by 3.42 % actual utilisation of land has increased by 28.63 % through the duration of the project. During the current year (2012) higher number of improved practices were adopted in field crops cultivation (15 practices on average) as compared to vegetable cultivation (14 practices), followed by fruit crops (12 practices). 8 improved practices were commonly adopted in livestock rearing.
Some of the improved practices adopted by farmers in field crops and vegetable cultivation include time of cultivation, seed rate, use of improved variety, method of sowing / planting, nursery bed, application of manure, age of seedling, thinning and gap filling, planting distance, seed treatment, weeding, earthing up, insect pest management, use of medicinal plants, optimum time of harvesting and organic farming practices. In livestock rearing the improved practices adopted were selection of breed, housing structure, vaccination, artificial insemination, feeds supplement, treatment of diseases, deworming and local treatment.
From 2010 to 2012 outputs from agriculture increased by 34 %, outputs from livestock rearing increased by 16 %. An increase of 24 % in total income was observed among the 925 farmers.
The project also facilitated the formation and strengthening of civil society institutions like SHGs, Pathar Parisalana Samitis (Farmers’ Clubs registered under the State Agriculture Department) as well as Federations of SHGs so that the CSOs could play a role in advocacy and lobbying on issues faced by the farming community.