This is the third year of promoting Finger Millet in the region. Previous year 126 farmers harvested finger millet which had a good impact on the local population. Being a drought resistant crop, around 400 farmer bought seeds and 126 could harvest 3.4 tons (confirmed data). Previous year the rainfall was quite low, due to which the rice cultivation was a complete failure. But finger millet survived the dry conditions and returned quite a good amount of produce. We witnessed very clearly, how finger millet survived when rice could not even give any return. You can see the photograph of a field where millet and rice was cultivated together but the result was quite astonishing.
This is evidence, which we are now using to motivate our farmers to restart this traditional drought resistant crop this year. We have developed a small 4 minutes movie to promote finger millet among local population. We have completed millet recipe demonstration in 30 villages which was to promote millet as a nutritious diet in rural area. Millet recipe demonstration has influenced a large number of women and men to restart the crop and use it as a major food.
Due to extreme heat during April and May, our common promotional programmes were not very successful as bringing people together was very difficult. Therefore we thought to do the promotion in each village separately.
Photographs of promotional programmes:
People have been very responsive to finger millet compared to previous year. We are half way through the promotion and see a lot of interest among people. I think more than 500 farmers will be ready to cultivate finger millet this time. Not only this but some of the farmers from our villages are requesting Pearl millet and Great millet seeds which are traditional drought resistant crops. It is an amazing experience of the project to see the interest of so many farmers to restart these traditional crops. It is a major behaviour change among people in two to three years of time. They are not only talking about the drought resistance capacity of these crops but now they know the high nutritional components in these crops.
As we know only knowledge will not bring behaviour change but knowledge with repeated action is required to bring change in behaviour, we are ensuring that families eat millet. And this effort has brought some amount of success this year. One of the evidence which made our team feel so happy was the response of our farmers who don’t want to sell millet but want to keep it for food. Recently, we wanted to buy 2 quintals of finger millet from our target area. When we asked some of our farmers who had more than 50 kg production, whether they want to sell some amount,they refused saying that they want to eat. These same farmers two years back were asking if they cultivate finger millet where can they sell it and complaining about the unavailability of market, now don’t want to sell. This is a major behaviour change among some of the families regarding consumption of finger millet we have experienced.
This year we are doing our best to promote this crop as the condition seems to be drought. If they don’t get anything else, some amount of finger millet can be produced. This will not only secure their food for some months but also add to their nutritional needs during drought.
We are also looking for pearl millet and great millet seeds to make available for our farmers. We will be continuing this through the coming months and would update about the progress.
Once again, it’s time for me to share with you about the wonder crop (Finger Millet) that I had already shared in two of my posts in the past. As I had shared that last year we were able to encourage 46 farmers to restart the traditional crop, this year also we have been able to keep up the work.
In the beginning of the monsoon we were able to promote the crop in quite a big manner. We promoted it in different occasions in the area which was quite successful and 433 farmers (360 from the project area) bought finger millet seeds made available by the project. Out of them around 300 farmers did nursery and eventually, 133 farmers were able to harvest the crop this year.
Our expectation was obviously higher but 46 farmers last year to 133 farmers this year is a good indicator for the project to see the outcome. In 30 villages the production till now is 2.18 tons and we are yet to get the data from some more farmers.
But at the end of all this, it’s not the statistics but the fact that farmers are restarting this crop is important to us. Here, where their major crop like rice failed terribly due to low rainfall; finger millet has given them good yield. Harvest of finger millet would definitely contribute to their food and nutritional security this year but most importantly it will help them to understand the importance of adaptation in current situation. Farmers are improving their resilience by adopting drought resistant crops could be the key success for the community and for us as well.
It is a small move towards our goal but a beautiful beginning to help increase resilience of community towards rapid climate change. Increased trust of the beneficiaries would lead us to support the community more effectively in the adaptation process through coming days.
There are few photographs of this year cultivation and harvest, have a look…. God Bless….
[ I take this opportunity to acknowledge Dr. Jeevan Kuruvilla, our former Project Director for his huge effort and interest towards this cause ]
In my previous post regarding wheat cultivation I had written about my experience in agriculture. We had done wheat cultivation in our hospital campus and after long waiting we harvested it in the last week. It was done in SRI method and took lots of effort but overall experience was so beautiful. We had lots of challenges in the process, three times goat grazing, unseasonal rainfall and pest attack etc which affected the crop, but after all it gave us quite good yield of 31 kg from 70 square meters of land. It is 4.4 tons per hectare which is quite high. The yield is more than double of the yield in traditional method in the same Agro Climatic condition. Below are some of the photographs of the harvest and the process photographs you can see in the previous post.
Thank God for the blessed harvest……and thanks to all who contributed to this beautiful accomplishment.
This is my first experience in farming. With the help of my project team and community animators, we cultivated wheat in 70 square meters of land. The farming was done in the System of Root Intensification (SRI) method in our hospital campus. It is an amazing feeling and a great experience to see the crop grow from the empty land till harvest. In another 20 days we will be harvesting the crop and I can hardly wait to see the harvest. There is a joy in farming, watching it grow and doing it with all of your heart. This is one of the best leisure activities I would suggest. Thank GOD for this and for the time to come….
My grandfather was a fulltime farmer and I have seen him doing agriculture in my early childhood in our native village. My father also recalls that he had done agriculture during his childhood before he came to government service. In my childhood, I have witnessed a little bit of my family agriculture and knew very little about it. But for the first time, by GOD’s grace I had an opportunity to do agriculture on my own. It took a lot of effort in caring and nurturing the crop but a lot of help from my co-workers made it possible. Thank God for this and thanks to all who made it possible.
There are some process photographs of the crop:-
I am waiting for the harvest….
I Will Bless The Work Of Your Hands….. (Deuteronomy – 28:12) The Lord will send rain at the proper time from His rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do…
"He brought me to his banquet hall and raised the banner of love over me. Restore my strength with raisins and refresh me with apples! I am weak from passion... His left hand is under my head and his right hand caresses me" - Song of Solomon 2:4-6