Exposure Visit of the partners of VB Network in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh

An Exposure Visit of the partners of the VB Net was held in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh on December 10 – 13, 2017. The visit was organized by VB Net and RRAN to observe the work of RRAN in fisheries, backyard poultry, and millets especially SMI (System of Millet Intensification). Participants left Ranchi on 9th December and reached Srikakulam on 10th December and stayed at a society named Action In Rural Technology (ART) where Mr. Kalyan Patra guided the group.

The main objectives of the exposure visit were included the following:-

  1. Observe, understand and learn the various activities of RRAN including the functioning, understand the success models already implemented by RRAN so that it helps the VBN partners to move ahead with the activities and explore the possibilities of replication in Jharkhand.

First day was visited Panasaguda village of Sitempetta block Srikakulam with WASSAN team to observe and learn the millet cultivation and learned that it needs less water and low maintenance and also high yielding and has high demand in the market. Thus making it highly economical and containing a nutritious value like protein, vitamins and so on. Millets (Like Jowar , Bajra, Ragi etc.) has multipurpose use and is used in various types of food, in bakery, snacks etc.

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Here we learn the processing of millet cultivation and its processing system then market value. In the introductory session, participants were shown a desi poultry farm. Participants were shown how to make a poultry farm with a local hen, the regional manager of WASSAN RRAN Mr Rao explained how they implement the model in a saturation model. He told us what was the last scenario of the village before the millets activity. The local millet are been packet and supply to Anganwadi Kendra& differ girls hostel and some millets are supplying to local biscuit factory to make millet biscuit.This millet mill was constructed by a local NGO Chinnayyaadivasivikashsangam(CAVS) supported by NABARD. The founder of CAVS explained how he promotes the millet farming in millet intensification method in the tribal area and try to make a Farmer producer organization.

On 12th December participants went for fishery and backyard poultry. It was learned that the two activities are also very significant and effective due to its high economic growth.

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At first the backyard poultry which was observed was fully set up in the proper systematic way as poultry farm, next boundary cover with potential plantation for the birds, next the time to time de-worming and vaccination of the birds, the male and female ratio set up, their hatching, laying, Azolla cultivation for them and worm creation. For implementing the model, at first a common interest group (CIG) with 1 entrepreneur with 100 households was formed and one president and a secretary were chosen. The membership charge for the entrepreneur is Rs. 5000 and for every household Rs.100. The money is debited from a bank for future use. A breeding farm is supported to the entrepreneur from program cost who have minimum 0.5 acres of land. The entrepreneur also invest some own money to make the total area & every household will make a night shelter. In 1st stage, the entrepreneur will start his farm with 50 hen & 10 cocks. The entrepreneur will supply 5 chicks to each & every 100 households, after that he can sell the hen/chicken in the market. For every chick, he will get 80/-(60/- program cost & 20/- from each beneficiary).For vaccination of hen 2 resource person is appointed by the CIG group and for each vaccination, he will pay 2/- each. For the deworming of hen, then give some organic medicine to the hen.

This is a perfect model to enhance the livelihood in a sustainable way.

Thereafter fishing cultivation was observed which was also very interesting. Group learned about the right ph of water, the right presence of plankton for high productivity of fishes. Fisheries expert Mr. Bidyabhusan Dutta showed us how we can measure the PH of pond water with a testing kit. He also measured the rate of phytoplankton in water by the testing kit in a demonstration pond.

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On the 2nd day, participants visited a millet biscuit bakery where different types of multigrain millet grain biscuits are made and are been supply to different areas.

Overall these were the observations of the group and after a vast learning experience, the group returned on 13th December from Srikakulam.

Way Forward

  • To explore the possibility of replicating various sustainable model in Jharkhand
  •  To improve community management system.
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Enhancing Access to Crop Insurance for the Unreached

Workshop by Sajjata Sangh on 7th March 2017, Ahmedabad

Picture1A state level workshop on the subject was organized on 7th March 2017 in Ahmedabad by Sajjata Sangh, a state level network of civil society organisations in Gujarat and Development Support Center.  The focus of the workshop was on Prime Ministers’ Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY) and the need to include ‘non-loanee’ farmers in the insurance scheme.

PMFBY is a flagship program of the NDA Government. Started in 2016, the budget for the program was increased substantially during the year 2017-18 to Rs.13,240  crores.  The scheme offers highly and the premium at 2% for Kharif crops to cover 40% of the cropped area.  A quick study commissioned by Sajjata Sangh brought out that the scheme has mostly covered farmers who have taken a loan from banks as it is tied to loans. The quick study by Mr.Bhimsi Ahir brought out that those who are out of the formal institutional credit are excluded from getting the benefits of the insurance scheme. This was further reinforced by the observations of the Principal Secretary, Agriculture and the Joint Director, Agriculture, in charge of the program at the state level.

Consultations brought out the need to find ways of reaching out to farmers and get more of the ‘non-loanee’ farmers to apply. Systematic bottlenecks such as producing a formal tenancy agreement, complicate inclusion of tenants into the program. The transaction costs of inclusion of non-loanee farmers are high and must be provided for within the scheme or by the insurance companies. Exploring ways of making the Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) or SHG federations as channel agents for insurance, sharing about 4% of the premium for their support functions, would help not only in making the program more inclusive but also reduce the burden on Insurance Companies in reaching out to the farmers. Questions of extending insurance to mixed-crop systems, most prevalent in the rainfed areas still remain.

Crop insurance must not be seen as the only strategy to mitigate risk in rainfed areas; particularly in the context of climate change. It must be an integral package of interventions / a comprehensive approach to secure livelihoods of farmers dealing with risk mitigation in rainfed areas dealing with residual risk. PMFBY will be more effective if it is not a stand-alone intervention, is another conclusion emerging from the workshop.

Further deliberations, brought out the need to take this forward within the RRA Network involving more organisations across different states in such a policy action dialogue for a more inclusive and comprehensive PMFBY. There is also a need to understand the nuances of the scheme in its operation and variants of it across the states.

Thanks to Sachin Ozha, Director of DSC Foundation.

Report: Ravindra A, WASSAN