Fri, Oct 21, 2016 | updated 02:53 AM IST

Garo Hills villages create sustainable model for farm development

Updated: Jul 12, 2016 14:13 IST

Tura (Meghalaya), July 12 (ANI): At least 20 villages in South West Garo Hills of Meghalaya have availed benefits under a project titled - Farm North East (Facilitating Agriculture Rejuvenating Measures) and is set to create a farming revolution in the region.

A Catholic Church based organisation -- Bakdil has initiated the project with financial assistance released by NABARD.

"The project lays its thrust on increase livelihood and food security through multiple cropping. Formation of farmers club and promotion of integral farming system", said Fr. Sunny Joseph Mavelil, director and secretary of Bakdil.

The project was introduced in 2013.

All the 20 villages have formed farmers clubs. Two farmers federations were also formed in South West Garo Hills. Through these farmers federations different economic development activities are undertaken.

The project has provided training on organic farming apart from formalizing net planning for mixed farming.

In the past three years, the community has realised that they need to act together in order to address the critical issues that are bottlenecks in their development journey. "We have come together and have formed farmers club and federations. Through the club and federation, we take decision for economic activities", said Jenon Ch. Marak, village headman of Garagre.

The project has empowered the village in a manner and today they are approaching different financial institution and government agencies for aiding their project.

"Horticulture, agriculture and water shed department has released funds for different projects in our village," said Barning G. Sangma, secretary of Farmers Club Garagre.

"The project has enabled to create forums for the community to act on their own. The farmers clubs are forums for the community to come together as well as to link with government line departments. Once the community is empowered through information sharing, knowledge building and the methodologies, the communities begin to act on their own,"Fr. Sunny added.

Through the project many waste land, which were left out after shifting cultivation (jhuming) has been rejuvenated. The villagers of Garagre under Zikzak development block have put to use the wasteland from Simlakona village for mixed cultivation.

In the last three years, more than 50,00 fruit bearing plants, including 20,000 mango plants and 15,000 litchi plants have been planted. The villagers have even formulated development plans and are submitting proposal to different departments.

"We sell our vegetables and fruits to nearby local markets and even supply to Tura," said Dingme Sangma, member of Digligre Farmers Club.

A report prepared by Bakdil said that out of 1467 farmers in the project villages about 720 families have adopted sustainable agricultural practices including rainwater harvesting and use of organic manure.

The project also supports value addition to local produces. Under Zikzak block, the project has supported two turmeric procession units. The farmers federation has also purchased a pick up van, which aids in transportation of local produces to different markets.

At Digligre village, the border area development department constructed a bridge, when the farmers convinced the department on the need to construct the bridge, in absence of which the children had to face a lot of difficulty during rainy season. (ANI)