“His Will Paved the Way”

Basudev Jakesika a medium scale farmer lives with his old parents, wife and two sons in the village of Khuntabadi which is 10 kms  from the Muniguda Block Head Quarters. His family owns 4.5 acres of land of which 1.5 acres are suitable for growing paddy and nine months of staple food for his family comes from there. The substantial amount of his land (3 acres) is upland, yielding very little. It is needless to explain the situation of his family then, with such a monsoon dependent agricultural land and no other reliable source of income. In the uplands his family usually grew millets & pulses from which they never earned more than Rs 5000/- annually. Basudev was deeply worried and was desperate to make his barren land productive.

In 2014 Harsha Trust started working on livelihoods in his village.  The professionals of Harsha Trust influenced the villagers by propagating a strategy, process & new technologies for income enhancement through Farm & Off farm initiatives. Initially only 8/35 families in the village showed interested in the work. Basudev Jakesika remained non committal at that time as his land was not suitable for vegetable cultivation. It needed interventions to convert the land and make it suitable for vegetable cultivation. A meeting was arranged with the Sarpanch of Patraguda who eventually assured him to extend the required support to improve his land from the MGNREGS scheme and funds.  Then Basudev initiated land development work in the summer of 2014 with his parents, wife pitching in and he also engaged twenty bullock carts; it took him 25 days to complete the land development work in 1.5 acres of land. Further he was facilitated to apply for the installation of a bore well under the OLIC (Odisha Lift Irrigation Scheme) and in September 2015 the bore well became functional.

The land was ready for use and in October 2015 he started vegetable cultivation; he grew cauliflowers on10 cents of land, cabbages on10 cents, tomatoes on 10 cents and brinjal on10 cents for the first time with the help of Harsha Trust. From the crop he earned Rs 32,000/ within just 4 months, which was previously unimaginable in his circumstances, and thus resulted in the expansion of the cultivable area from 40 cents to 80 cents of land.

In February 2016, Harsha Trust shared a new innovative model called the 50 cent model, which has the potential of yielding an income of Rs 75000/- a year. The model consists of growing banana on 10 cents, permanent trellis on 10 cents and seasonal trellis on 10 cents; and finally seasonal vegetables on 20 cents of land. The key requirements are assured irrigation, ensured by equipping with water lifting device and fencing. Basudeb required support for fencing, which he sought from Harsha Trust. The organization supported him with barbed wire for fencing on a loan basis. Within 10 days he completed the fencing work and started vegetable cultivation on additional land. By selling his vegetables he earned Rs 1, 20,000 in a year and a half.

Greens Pointed Gourd Bitter Cowpea Okra Pea Tomato Chilly Onion Total
2200 500 4800 3000 18000 4800 3200 3100 1500 41100

Crop wise Income Table in INR (2015- 16)

Production in 2016-17 in INR

Greens Pointed Gourd Bitter Cowpea/Beans Okra Banana Tomato & Brinjal Cauliflower Total
2200 5000 5000 8000 6000 15000 13000 20000 842000
2 cent 10 cent 5 cent 5 cent 3 10 cent 7 cent 8 cent 50

On seeing his success 11 farmers adopted the same model during the year. And farmers of nearby villages Karadabandha, Litiguda, Bainibasa are now coming to see his field. After implementing the new Model farmers found that the model required low input costs but the returns were high. By selling the crop Basudeb repaid Rs 3000/- as loan to Harsha Trust for fencing and Rs 5000/- was repaid as Paddy loan. He bought a motorbike for marketing the vegetables and also arranged for his son’s marriage. “When I started my land development work says Basudeb, I had no money but I completed the work due to my patience, my family’ support, Harsha Trust’ motivation and my will