Kuma Jani and his wife from Lataput village, Koraput, Odisha took nine years to build a check dam, and now growing crops from naturally developed manure.
Latapur is a remote village in the Dasmantpur block of Koraput, where most of the families are Below the Poverty Line, yet the indigenous knowledge and farming practices of the region’s tribal people are promoting food security and conserving bio-diversity.
When Kuma Jani, a resident of Latapur village thought of doing farming, he wanted to build a check dam so that there is a regular and controlled flow of water in his fields. He approached the government for help and went pillar to post contacting authorities for cooperation.
“The government has not helped us. It was a lot of labor work to make a cement wall”, recalls Kuma Jani.
Kuma along with his wife, Bagmani Jani, gave Rs 10,000 Junior Engineer (JE) to build the check dam. But the JE, transferred their money somewhere else. After facing repeated rejections, Kuma decided to build the check dam himself. “It took me nine years to complete this, I made a small canal to channel the water here”, added Kuma.
A social organisation, Agragamee, recognised his efforts and came forward to help him in farming his land, organically. Agragamee is a non-profit organisation working with the poorest communities in Odisha for their development and wellbeing. “Agragamee, since inception has experienced that tribal people are totally dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Adivasis are doing organic agriculture for generations. Now people are making pot manure naturally”, said Achyut Das, who is a Development Activist and Director of Agragamee.
Kuma adopted the idea of organic family and with the help of Agragamee, they used seeds, jivamruta, vermicompost for agricultural purposes. “We have planted brinjal, chili, onion, cimeli kanda, bananas, mango, and paddy, etc,” said Bagmani, happily when asked about the crops she had grown in her farm.
Achyut das said there are 150 villages who are now adopting practices of organic agriculture, and Agragamee name these villages as ‘Eco-Village’. “Now people are taking oath for the adoption of such farming by using local seeds and manure” added Achyut Das.
Video is made by Community Correspondent Sibaram Naik.
Article by Grace Jolliffe, a Member of VV Editorial Team.