Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for communities in Majuli. 80% of the communities rely on agriculture for their livelihood and agrarian activities are primarily managed by women. Due to the lack of technology, irrigation systems and scientific knowledge, there is a huge gap in farm production in Majuli. The over-dependence on natural resources has led to unprecedented crop losses and thus scarcity of resources for farmers’ families. Also, destruction caused by floods and by wild animals like elephants adds to the dwindling resources.
To address the issue at hand, we collaborated with the agriculture department to introduce a range of projects to support farmers in increasing their annual income. We conducted multiple capacity-building training focused on irrigation systems, scientific cultivation of rice and cash crops like mustard and dal, organic manuring of fields, scientific animal husbandry among others. We conducted these sessions in over 30 villages across the district and could reach out to over 3500 farmers.
We also supported the farmers with sprinkler and diesel motor irrigation systems through the PMKSY scheme which provided it at subsidised rates. Through the same we were able to distribute 150 sprinkler systems, most of which was shared by 3 or more farmers and hence impacting the lives of over 400 farmers .
As Mr. Krishankanta Pegu of Ukhachuk village says, “With the intervention of irrigation systems and scientific cultivation of mustard, I was able to get a yield twice my previous harvest hence doubling my income in one go.” These sentiments were also shared by hundreds of other farmers who realised the importance of systematic cultivation practices and other technological interventions.
WADI – Fruit Orchards in Majuli
In our latest intervention, starting May 2023 with the support of NABARD under the Integrated Tribal Development Fund, Ayang will work with 200 Mising Tribal farmers of Malapindha village of Majuli to develop 1 acre fruit orchards each. Of the 200 farmers, 160 farmers will cultivate the fruit orchards in their farm while 40 landless farmers will be supported through handloom weaving intervention for income generation. In the span of 5 years, 160 acres in Malapindha will be developed into flourishing fruit orchards of litchi, guava and indian gooseberry along with intercropping of ginger, turmeric, king chilli, pineapple, moringa, castor and a range of seasonal vegetables. The families will also be provided other support in terms of irrigation facilities, water and soil conservation methods, regular healthcare camps and skill training for women. One fully equipped handloom weaving production cum training centre will be established with ample supply of raw materials for the landless farmers. Through the project, we aim to increase the annual income of farmers by at least Rs.60000 in the coming years.
Survey and Research: We conducted a survey amongst 300 farmers from across Majuli to understand the nature of crop cultivation, availability of land, challenges that individuals face while working in the agrarian sector and the needs of the farmers. On the basis of this survey, the programs were designed.
Capacity Building of Farmers: We worked in collaboration with Department of Agriculture, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Assam Agricultural University and other agriculture based resource organisation to provide focused trainings like system of rice intensification for paddy cultivation, scientific mustard cultivation, bee keeping, application of irrigation systems, development of agroforestry, etc. along with providing the farmers with required quality seeds, organic manure and loan support to implement their learnings.
Connecting Farmers with Government Schemes: Another important step has been to support farmers in the application of various government subsidy schemes to acquire farm technology. This could be irrigation systems, food processing machines, seeds, organic manure, etc. We create awareness among farmers about all the new schemes, help them to submit their applications and also provide interest free loans in case they cannot afford the subsidised rates.
Farmers Producer Organization: Over the years, we have supported thousands of farmers in various capacities and invariably, all our artisans are also farmers. In December 2023, we established the Lekope Majuli Women Farmer Producer Company Ltd to collectivise all the farmers under one company for efficient management of agrarian resources and also for strong market linkage. As of May 2023, we have 1000 farmers and by Mar 2024, we are aiming to reach 5000 farmers under the FPC. The FPC has an outlet in Majuli while it is also active on social media and ecommerce websites. Under the brand Lekope, the FPC is clocking a sale of over Rs.100000 per month through the sale of handloom, handicraft, packed rice, spices, oil and bakery delicacies.
- 3500 farmers trained in various programs
- 1 farmer producer company
- 1 outlet in Majuli
- 1000+ membership in FPC
400+ farmers with irrigation systems