A Green House and a Toilet – bring happiness and dignity

Tamil Selvi, aged 42 years lives in a small thatched house with her husband, three children, her mother-in-law and three sisters-in-law.  When she moved into her husband’s home after marriage, Selvi struggled as they did not have a toilet. She knew it was unhygienic, risk and a challenge to her dignity. Like many others in her neighbourhood, nearby rivers or the bushes were the only option.

“Look at the state of our house. We are not able to renovate our house and where will we get money to build a toilet? asks Selvi, who lives in Kameshwaram Village, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu.  S he has three school-going children and her mother-in-law’s medical bills added to the family expenditure. Her husband earned only Rs. 7500/- working as a helper in a Church. Her three sisters-in-law worked as daily wage workers whenever there were opportunities.

 

In the meanwhile, Tamilselvi found a job and also joined a Self-Help Group and began saving. Her three sisters-in-law too moved away after getting married. With Tamilselvi’s income, the family was able to manage the expenditure to a great extent.  It was only after her sisters-in-law got married, she and her husband could think of renovating or building a toilet. Tamilselvi also made efforts to claim Green House facilities under the Chief Minister’s Solar Powered Green House as she comes under BPL (Below Poverty Line).

 

DPG has created awareness on toilet construction and the subsidy schemes available for the construction of the toilet through frequent house visits and meetings. The people those who do not have the agriculture field find it difficult to defecate in open field since they are cleared or field were converted into  sellable plots.  Therefore, Tamilselvi felt the need to construct a toilet, especially for her teenage daughter. She applied for the subsidy to construct the toilet.

 

As per the government norms, the subsidy amount will be given in two instalments. The first instalment will be released after laying the foundation and base structure. The second instalment will be given on completion of the toilet.  Generally, the government releases the subsidy amount after the completion of the toilet. She applied for the subsidy and then she availed a loan of Rs.20000/- from Rose Malar Federation and loan of ` 15000/- from her SHG. Now she has completed the construction of toilet. A proud Tamilselvi says “I have got one beautiful greenhouse worth Rs.1,80,000 (government estimate) and toilet. We need not wake up early or wait till dawn to attend to nature's call.” This facility is enjoyed by all who have constructed the toilet in rural areas. 

 

 

 

 

Standing tall amidst all challenges

 The only grocery shop in Kameshwaram village belongs to Pushpavathy, who is 25 years old. She is proud of the fact that she and her husband has overcome many challenges and are able to still run the shop. Previously, her husband, had a tea stall in the church premises and, unfortunately, he had to give that shop since he was asked to vacate.  After that, they both did not have any means to earn.

 

However, since Pushpavathy is a member of Annai Teresa Self Help Group, the members motivated her to start a grocery shop in Kameshwaram since there was no other shop. Pushpavathy previously has begun saving Rs 50 per month in the Rose Malar Federation, promoted by DPG. During that time, Pushpavathy encouraged her husband also to start the grocery shop. She pledged her jewels to the extent of Rs 2,00,000, took a loan of Rs 25,000 from her SHG, Rs 20,000 from her Federation and Rs 10,000 from the bank. Investing a total amount of Rs, 2,55,000, Pushpavathy began her business.

 

Her grocery shop ran well. They got a profit of Rs 400 from the daily sale of Rs 2500. She pays Rs 500 as rent for the shop. She even increased her saving amount to Rs 100 per month both in the SHG and Rose Malar Federation.  Unfortunately, her husband had an accident and was not able to help her in running the shop. She has to switch to taking care of her husband and running the shop . Thus, she suffered loss. After a few months, with her husband recovering well, her business is back to the good old days again. Pushpavathy is a confident woman today and is determined to run the grocery shop well and repay the loan amount within the stipulated period. Pushpavathy has one son, studying in LKG.

I am Lakshminarayana Reddy living Somenahalli village, Gudibande, Chikkaballapur District of Karnataka. I am basically a farmer having 5 acres of land of which 3 ½ is being irrigated and another 1½ is rain-fed.Before starting Organic farming, I was using chemical fertilizers & pesticides for cultivation which was quite expensive. I was facing tremendous hurdles /problems and crops were damaged by pests.

I was introduced to Organic Farming, a traditional way of cultivating while I was looking for an alternate strategy to overcome all the problems mentioned above. But I was not aware of the methodology.

 

VDS (Vahini Development Society), a local NGO brought the programme of Organic Farming to our village in coordination with Department of Agriculture under the Organic Village Project. All the interested farmers in the village were given various training; particularly regarding the different stages of adopting Organic methods in the farming and to made us realize the importance of the same.

VDS explained to us that the Organic Farming is an age-old, traditional and proper method of farming used to be practiced by our ancestors. We realized the importance and necessity of the farming with Organic methods when we were taken for an exposure visit to the place called Nagenahalli Farm, Organic Farming Research Centre, Mandya District where the agricultural farming is being successfully carried out with organic methods. After that, I was keen to shift my farming to Organic farming.

 

I started my farming with organic methods according to the assistance and guidance given by these organizations. They have helped me in getting benefits like Vermicompost, Japan method Compost, Azolla cultivation, Biodigester, cow urine Pit, Jeevambrutha and Organic pesticides, etc.

 

To learn about the ways of practicing organic farming I have followed all those directions, instructions, and guidance given by the concerned staff of the organization in my field on an experimental basis. Under this, I have selected 6 crops to cultivate namely paddy, finger millets, potato, tomato and ground nut among which the details of Paddy crop have been given below.

 

It was decided to practice organic farming and inorganic farming in the one-acre land by dividing it into two parts equally and in one part followed organic method and in another part the inorganic method.

 

Other qualitative differences

Organic Farming

Inorganic farming

  • Low sowing expenditure
  • As Azola was spread between paddy crop the weed was controlled and the nitrogen was naturally produced and supported for the healthy growth of the paddy.
  • Crop disease is controlled as the crop was given the jeevambrutha for every 15 days
  • Can avoid extra expenditure
  • Comparatively low yield but high value
  • High sowing expenditure
  • High on pesticides
  • Average yield (with low weighing corn)
  • Comparatively low crop value

 

I felt very happy to learn that when I was growing paddy with the inorganic method of cultivation, one bag of paddy was weighing 56 kg but the same one bag of paddy is grown with the organic method of cultivation was weighing 60-62 kg and had to spend a significant amount on Fertilizers in Inorganic farming.

 

I have been rightly supported by Vahini organization when I was facing continuous failures with the inorganic method of cultivation. My economic status has been improved considerably after I started practicing Organic farming.

 

We are extending our support to the whole village to convert to organic farming.

 

 

I am Narayanappa from Karnataka state. I have 3 ½ acres of agricultural land which is rain-fed, and farming is my main occupation since 15 years. Previously, my father was cultivating on this land & was growing jowar, millet, and red gram. We used to get a better yield up to 10-12 quintals per acre. Later, we started using chemical fertilizers which were provided by the government but since then, crop yield has considerably reduced to 6-8 quintals per year.

 

We were incurring expenditure at every stage of the farming & most of the time the expenditure used to cross affordability. During this period, VDS (Vahini Development Society) in co-ordination with DPG (Development Promotion Group), a Chennai based organization, has introduced the system of Organic Farming in our village. I have been given various training about the system, its importance, and the necessity.

 

Later, I availed the membership in ‘Organic Farmer’s Organization’ and started to cultivate with the organic method.

 

Under this method, I was helped in getting all the benefits, with all organic units like vermicompost, azola, cow urine, Jeevambrutha etc. In 3 months’ time, I could produce high nutrient manure with Vermi Compost Unit and our cattle could get nutrient fodder with Azola Unit.

 

Then I decided to grow groundnut on 1 acre of land. Instead of the previous method, I have followed the organic method of cultivation. In the beginning, I followed Seed treatment with Trichoderma and a mix of boiled Jaggier. After 20 days sowing, I sprayed & the mixture used was like this:

 

  • A combination of 25 kg of cow dung, 5 liters of cow urine, 5 liters of water & 5 kg of Jaggery. The mixture was allowed to ferment and sprayed once in 7 days after 25 days seed of sowing. Next one more spray of fermented buttermilk was used & these two sprays have helped in avoiding the leaf spots disease to the crop.

 

There was no sufficient rainfall before the harvest. I was very much worried that the crop may fail. But after harvesting the crop, I realized that I was wrong. I got 11 quintals of groundnut in my one acre of land whereas my neighbour’s had also cultivated groundnut with the inorganic method along with me in 2 acres got only 6 quintals per acre. I could undoubtedly find the following difference between my crop and neighbour’s crop.

 

Crop in my field (with Organic method)

Crop in my neighbour’s field (inorganic method)

Crop was looking healthy with thick green colored leaves and comparatively taller

The growth of the crop was thin and not looking healthy

40-60 nutshells to each plant

5-6 nutshells to each plant

11 quintals per acre

6 quintals per acre

Skin of the Nuts is thin

Nuts are not uniform

 

I felt happy to show my crop to all other farmers, developed a trust in this methodology and realized that had there been a good rainfall, it would have been more than what I got. The cost of production with the organic system was as low as Rs. 1100/- against the expenditure of Rs. 2000-3000/- per acre with the previous method of cultivation.

I learned that we get a higher price in the market for the crop grown with the organic method. I sold my crop @ Rs. 2800/- per quintal after having properly dried. I had retained 3 quintals to use them as seeds for the next crop with the same organic method.

All the farmers in my village were surprised to see my crop and came forward to shift the farming to Organic. To have the effective dissemination of the system, most of the farmers were grouped into an organization according to the guidance given by the Vahini Society & they also got the subsidy benefits for Vermicompost unit, compost unit, Azola, cow urine, Jeevambrutha, bio-digester, etc.