Written specially for Vikalp Sangam
Chandradev Paharia of Dandagora village in Kairasol Gram Panchayat is a traditional Pahariya farmer who practices jhoom cultivation in his uplandland in the hill slopes. Due to lack of irrigation facilities, he could not take up a second crop. His family earned a living by wage labour in the lean season after kharif. Under the KKS supported project, Badlao Foundation representatives carried out microplanning exercise in the village and informed people about harvesting rainwater from their tiled roofs and using it for irrigation. Some of them also went for an exposure in West Bengal to see how farmers were benefitting by this method. People were initially skeptical about this as they did not want to ‘waste’ part of their small land by making the water collection pit.
Chandradev at his water harvesting pond photo Badlao Foundation
Chandradev was one of the early adopters of this technique and offered to excavate a pit in his small homestead land of 4 decimals to collect the harvested water from his tiled roof. He was supported with metal pipes to transport the water from the roof and polythene sheet to line the pit. During monsoon , the 10”x10”x5” pit collected 14,000 litres of water. He used this to start a kitchen garden in his homestead land. Having received training in improved agriculture and vegetable cultivation, Chandradev has today turned his homestead into a little green oasis- with multiple kinds of vegetables in his homestead land- potato, brinjal, greens, tomato, chillis, radish etc. While earlier he would cultivate only potato whenever there was water, now he understands that he can grow multiple crops by managing his plot well. He is so enthused by the small water tank that he also started rearing fish in the tank. Chandradev understands that even a small parcel of land can be a resource if managed well. Today he is one of the most enterprising farmers in his village and is keen to learn new things through exposure and training.
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