Tag: photographs

I know why the caged bird sings

“…. I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
    When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
    But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings! “

                                   – Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Photo was taken in Mussoorie, India
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Taken in Mussoorie, India.

 

Thanks

God bless…

P.S: These photographs have no connection with the poem yet I thought to share my photographs along with it.

Nav Jivan – During Monsoon

Since three years rainfall in this area had been quite low and had affected agriculture by a huge margin. By the grace of God, this time the rainfall seems to be promising. Until now the amount of rainfall is quite good and hope it continues for some more days. We wish this year farmers will have a good and substantial cultivation of the monsoon crops. Ponds and other water sources that were dried up since two years are starting to flow again. It seems like the greenery has been restored and we pray it continues too. We thank God for this showers of blessings as we hope there would be enough in store for poor farmers.

Here are some photographs of our campus during monsoon this year. hope you enjoy…
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abinashbiswal.wordpress.com

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Water from different places getting merged and flowing down to the pond
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Hospital Pond, This pond was dried up completely last year.
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Maintenance guys clearing up the water ways.
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Mr. Eliyas making sure of uninterrupted water flow

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My friends coming to see our pond which is getting filled up
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View of our pond from the other side

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You can see water in the agriculture field outside of our campus…Last year we played soccer in the same fields during this month.

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Rachel bunking office and enjoying the rain out there..

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And the Photographer…

Pray for us so that we may continue to have good rain…

Thank you

God Bless…

Finger Millet – No longer strange…

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.

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Right side field is the rice field which is even a lower land but it has failed where finger millet in the left side field has grown so well.

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:

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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.

Thank You

God Bless….

Incredible weather & a simple photography….

This place is Kechki, where river Koel and Auranga join together…it’s a very beautiful place especially during monsoon….We got a chance to spend a day at this spot a year back…

Flooded river, broken bridge, overflowing water, little bit of drizzle, fantastic weather and amazing friends…what an incredible time!!!

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Villagers are crossing the river by boat…but risky.. we too got a boat trip to the opposite side…was adventurous….

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The nature at its best…

Thank You

God Bless…

A beautiful Easter morning….

Yesterday, was a beautiful experience of Easter morning at our hospital campus….

The Local Mennonite Church had organised the Easter morning service at  the graveyard like every year. But for me it was a first time experience…

There was a candle march from the church to the graveyard at 4 O’clock in the morning. And we had our worship at the graveyard followed by some programs by children. Families decorated the graves with flowers and candles…looked beautiful…

Whenever I visit Graveyards, it makes me humble and reminds me of the truth that I have come from dust and my body will melt away to dust. Why pride, ego, hatred and competition??? What am I going to achieve that I can carry with me… ? it encourages me to live fully, being joyful, love wholeheartedly and make peace….What a great preacher is the graveyard!!! But visiting graveyard on an Easter morning was a complete different experience.

The beautiful early morning turned into a wonderful experience as we worshiped the Almighty God. Families remembering their loved ones, who have passed away and an assurance that we all will meet in heaven one day. In John 11:25-26 Jesus said  “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”.

It was indeed a serene morning….hearty worship….above all the joy of Easter….“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” (Romans 6:9).

Yes!!! Through his resurrection He gives hope and assurance in life everyday…..but on Easter we just celebrate it differently…and that’s beautiful too….

Some of the photographs of the event:

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…1 Peter 1:3

Thank You

God Bless….

Harvest of Finger Millet – The Wonder crop

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….

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Courtesy: Mr. Umesh

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Women of a village harvesting Finger Millet
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Another Woman Harvesting
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Finger Millet
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Drying

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Finger Millet after cleaning

[ I take this opportunity to acknowledge Dr. Jeevan Kuruvilla, our former Project Director for his huge effort and interest towards this cause ]

Thank You

International Day for Persons with Disabilities – 2014

December 3rd is observed world wide as the International Day for Persons With Disabilities and the UN theme for the year is “Sustainable Development, The Promise of Technology”.

This day provides a platform to bring to light People with Disabilities, their abilities, their issues, their opinions. It also provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to assess themselves to see how far PWDs have been included in development both as beneficiaries and as agents.

This year’s theme is interesting as it focuses on Development that should be sustainable and a giant contributor to development- ICTs(Information Communication technology). The focus is also on present and upcoming technology, to see if they are inclusive and also how far technology can be used to improve inclusion and facilitate better participation of PWDs. We believe that higher level of participation from all sections of society would result in Sustainable Development.

As part of our work, we celebrated IDPWD a day earlier. This was done so that PWDs from our areas could be involved in the programs done by the government on 3rd December. It was an interesting day, we had approximately 250 participants, all People with disabilities from about 35 villages spread across 2 districts. The program was organized with an aim to create awareness regarding disability to the general public and to help PWDs experience and explore new things.

We also had the privilege of the participation of our District Social Welfare Officer, who also has the reputation of being a young, enthusiastic officer with special regard to disability affairs, the District Disability Rehabilitation Officer and the Block Development Officer.

Along with this year’s theme, we also focused on practical needs for PWDs, we had sessions and stalls showcasing different livelihood options, things to keep in mind when planning for livelihood. Another stall depicted Community Based Aids and Appliances (these can be made at home using local resources) and also information on rights and schemes.

Below are pictures from yesterday’s program, Happy Reading.

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Registration of Participants
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Starting the programme with prayer
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Lamp lighting by Chief Guest
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Welcoming the gathering by Mr. Prabodh Kujur
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Honoring guests
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A view of participants
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A special song by a Participant
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Stalls on livelihood and adis and appliences
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Speech by Chief guest (District Social Welfare Officer)
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Display of Aids and Appliances which can be made locally
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Session on Livelihood by Mr. Abinash Biswal
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Session on Aid & Appliances by Mr. Ebez George
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Session on Home based therapy by Ms. Sheron

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God Bless…..

Mussoorie; The queen of Hills….

Mussoorie is known as the queen of hills, popular and one of the most beautiful hill station in India. It is a small town  situated on the hills. The glorious and magnificent view of the mountains, snow during winter, lush green forest, splendid sunrise and sunset and beautiful view of the clouds make it a must visit place for people who love nature….

I had an opportunity to visit the place for the first time with my brother in October 2014 when the winter was just starting in India. We travelled to Mussoorie by motor bike and enjoyed the beautiful drive on the first day and also had a chance to go by bus on the next day. We visited some of the places and climbed mountain to have a view of Himalayan snow covered mountains from far. The climate was perfect to spend the day. I also had a long discussion on development with Dr. Jeph one of my friends while watching the view of the great mountains from his house. Here are some of the photographs of the place taken in two different days which would give you a glimpse of my experience in Mussoorie.

God willing I would plan many more visits to this place and especially during snow and share with you my experience through my photographs and hopefully with a DSLR next time.

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A panoramic view of mountains..view of himalayan snow covered mountain

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Sunset

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view of Mussoorie town from far

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A clear view of Himalayan mountain
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Dr. Jeph and Jelori

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Another view of Mussoorie town
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Road to Kempty Water fall

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Kempty Fall Mussoorie

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Busy mussoorie town

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A small snack point on the way to Mussoorie

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Photo Courtesy: Ashutosh Biswal (my brother)

 

Thank You

God bless…..

 

NAV JIVAN – through my lens

When we talk about Nav Jivan Hospital in this region people see it as the hospital providing quality healthcare to poor people for more than 50 years. In this interior place it has saved millions life when there was no hope of healthcare in such areas. Apart from the health care facilities, the hospital also has a magnificent and serene environment. I have tried to capture some this beauty at different times. Hope you will also be able to get a glimpse and enjoy this unexplored beauty through my lens.

You will find some photographs of the same places at different times

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Banyan Tree near the Guest house

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This makes me repeat the quote of Leo Tolstoy….”In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you”

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Ohh…beautiful colors on the ground….

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Hospital staffs had gathered together to thank God on arrival of monsoon last year…. Thank God for the Rain, on which million lives depend… It gives them livelihood and life….
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Rachel enjoying the silence near the hospital pond…

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Kids playing cricket in the campus…
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Tried to capture the moon with a 3 MP mobile camera…. But beautiful… Its Hospital water tank

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We gathered to thank GOD for this year monsoon too…..

 

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The Photographer

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”. –  2 Chronicles 7:14

 

God Bless You…..

Thank You

 

Millet – The answer in the long run…

The World is vastly dependant on agriculture for food production and in a country like India; it is the main source of livelihood for rural population. Since independence, India has experienced a lot of changes and achieved many things in the area of agriculture. One of the most popular changes is the Green Revolution. The green revolution contributed to widespread poverty reduction, averted hunger for millions of people, and avoided the conversion of thousands of hectares of cultivable land for other development purposes. . But the lesser known fact is that it also has left many communities at enormous loss with poverty, food insecurity and different health issues. It was started with keeping in mind the human need, the growing population with their limited land but what it failed to think was about the environment, water, soil and other natural resources and most importantly the sustainability factor. Even though it was human focused it also failed to provide food and better health for all.

Green revolution introduced high-yielding varieties of seeds and increase use of fertilizers and irrigation for more production and it has definitely helped us in many things in short run but in long run it has become a threat to the future of both humans and the earth.

  • As it requires a lot of irrigation, it is not suitable for all the regions in our country. It is a curse for communities who depend on rainwater for irrigation. Irrigation technologies have been developed which are not sustainable and increased use of underground water will leave us in a tragic state in few years. It is making some communities more vulnerable and susceptible to disasters and water crisis and hence poorer than they were. Green revolution which is not inclusive has increased poverty level of many farmers, as poor farmers could not afford high variety seeds, fertilizers and machinery. It has forced farmers to borrow and left many with huge debts causing suicide and high rates of rural to urban migration.
  • Due to the heavy chemical fertilizer inputs, land quality has gone down and yield has suffered.
  • Increase use of pesticide has made pests more resistant to many pesticides causing increase in pest attack.
  • Due to increase use of chemical pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers we have lost many birds and friendly insects and this can result in long term loss.
  • Chemicals used in agriculture are contaminating the groundwater and the chemical content in the food has affected general health. Consumption of one or two variety of food may provide us calories but can’t fulfill the requirement of micronutrients which are essential for human beings.
  • We are losing our vast varieties of traditional seeds due to the introduction of high yield seeds and many traditional crops have disappeared due to high concentration on wheat and rice,
  • Due to improper technological development farmers have been losing their indigenous methods of   adapting to climate change which have made communities more vulnerable and less resilient.

So it is the time for us to think of a better solution. What can give us a sustainable future from which both humans and nature would benefit?

There are a lot of initiatives that have been taken by the government and NGOs, but none of their attempts seem to be solving the problem in recent future. Organic farming has been a solution and it has been implemented in some regions and seems to be successful. Organic farming may solve the issue of pesticides and fertilizers but how far can it solve the issue of irrigation and natural resource management? What can give us a future without compromising with nature?

The Earth is rich and has tremendous capacity to meet the human need and it has been providing too.  But since the past two centuries, we have been facing lot of problems and threats from climate. Nature has its own management process but we are trying to manipulate. It is the time to look back at how our ancestors lived their lives and how they adapted to climate and saved the earth for us to live. So it is time for us to go back to the traditional crops which might have the answers to our problems and can save the earth for future generations. There are some traditional crops which have tremendous capacity to adapt to the climatic condition and do not require much input like fertilizer, pesticide and irrigation. One of the categories can be Millet.

Photographs of some types of millets traditionally grown in India:

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Foxtail Millet
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Kodo Millet
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Proso Millet
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Great Millet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pearl Millet
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Finger Millet
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Barnyard Millet
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Little Millet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millets need very little water for their production. Thus, they do not burden the state with demands for irrigation or power. Millet does not demand for subterranean water and can contribute to sustainable agriculture in our country.

Millets are adapted to a wide range of ecological conditions often growing on very thin soils. It does not demand rich soils for their survival and growth. Hence, they are a boon for the vast dry land areas.

It can provide livelihood to small farmers at the same time focus on ecological preservation.  Millet production is not dependent on the use of chemical fertilizers. Most millet farmers therefore use farmyard manures and in recent times, household produced bio-fertilizers. Therefore, they can significantly reduce the huge burden of fertilizer usage.

Grown under traditional methods, no millet attracts any pest. A majority of them are not affected by storage pests either. Therefore, their need for pesticides is close to nil. Thus, they are a great help to the agricultural environment.

Millets are amazing in their nutrition content. Each of the millets is three to five times nutritionally superior to the widely promoted rice and wheat in terms of proteins, minerals and vitamins.

Comparison of Millets with rice and wheat:

Millets Protein (g) Carbohydrates (g) Minerals (g) Fiber (g) Calcium (mg) Iron (mg) Energy (Kcal)
Finger 7.3 72 2.7 3.6 344 3.9 336
Sorghum 10.4 70.7 1.2 2.0 25 5.4 329
Pearl 11.8 67.0 2.2 2.3 42 11.0 363
Foxtail 12.3 60.2 4.0 6.7 31 2.8 351
Little 7.7 67.0 1.7 7.6 17 9.3 329
Kodo 8.3 65.9 2.6 5.2 35 1.7 353
Proso 12.5 70.4 1.9 5.2 8 2.9 354
Barnyard 6.2 65.5 3.7 13.6 22 18.6 300
Rice 6.8 78.2 0.6 1.0 33 1.8 362
Wheat 11.8 71.2 1.5 2.0 30 3.5 348

All these qualities of millet farming system make them the climate change compliant crops. Climate change portends less rain, more heat, reduced water availability and increased malnutrition. If there is any cropping system that can withstand these challenges, survive and flourish, it is the millet system.

While wheat and rice might provide only food security, millets produce multiple securities (food, fodder, health, nutrition, livelihood and ecological) making them the crops of agricultural security and future of our agriculture.

Millet is the answer which can give us a sustainable future from which both human and nature will benefit. This can be answer for us and our future generations, making a sustainable, rich and healthy planet and millet can be an answer for today and tomorrow…..

Last year we were quite successful in bringing back finger millet in our target area, where 46 farmers harvested finger millet. This year there are around 300 farmers have registered to cultivate finger millet. As the region is drought prone, millet can be an answer for them to solve the issue of food insecurity and malnutrition. It can contribute to livelihood, food security and availability of fodder for animals. Its capacity to grow with minimum water makes it one of the appropriate crops for the region and as there is no need for fertilizer and pesticide it can be the savior for farmers with low economic status. Millet is the answer for this region and can be for our country……. Along with promotion of organic farming, bringing back the millet to the mainstream agriculture can be the best options for Indian agriculture system in the long run.

Thank You

May God Bless….

Abinash

 

Reference:

Waiting for the harvest….

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:-

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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…

God bless…

Abinash Biswal