Rajasthan’s Tribals Have Found The Answer To End Malnutrition

1,000-odd tribal farmers have started growing protein-rich black gram (urad).

Dungarpur (Rajasthan): In order to address malnutrition problem, 1,000-odd tribal farmers have started growing protein-rich black gram (urad) and even set up a farmers producers company (FPO) to sell the surplus produce.

Mandaviya Agri-based Producers Company, the third FPO in the malnutrition-hit district, was set up with the support of a Chennai-based NGO, World Vision India, which is working in
the district to address malnutrition for the last three years.

The NGO is encouraging small and marginal farmers to grow nutrition-rich crops to meet first their household needs and empower them to market the surplus produce by piloting an FPO
with the support of government agency SFAC and farm skill training from ‘Krishi Vighyan Kendra (KVK)’ in Udaipur.

“In the first year, the FPO members were able to pool 18 kg surplus urad grown in 2016-17 kharif season. Most of it has been sold. We have again sown urad in the ongoing kharif
season and hope to see good harvest,” Mandaviya Agri-based Producers Company Chairman Ramchandra Parmar told PTI.

The surplus produce was on account of higher crop yield which was achieved after applying on the field the best agri practices learnt from the KVK training facilitated by the
NGO, he said.

According to Jayantilal Raut, a community leader and an FPO member, the yield rose after he maintained seed spacing and sowing distance as taught in the KVK training.

“Earlier, I used cow manure, especially fresh dung, now I have realised the importance of vermi-compost. I took training to make vermi-compost from KVK and I am seeing the results,” he said, adding that he is trying drip irrigation.

Mr Raut, who has never used chemical fertiliser, is preparing his farms for growing fully organic produce, which he is now aware has a huge market outside.

Echoing his point, a woman farmer Sangeeta Devi Raut — one of the members of the FPO Board — said urad yields have doubled to 12 quintals per hectare.

“I had harvested 60 kg of urad last year, of which I kept 30 kg for own consumption and the rest was sold via the FPO,” she said, adding that she has also maintained a kitchen garden
to meet the household needs.

The NGO’s Dungarpur Area Development Programme officer, Basant Kumar Lima said Dungarpur is one of the backward districts in Rajasthan and malnutrition is high.

“We are working in Dovra block and working to address malnutrition at the fundamental level. After consulting an agri varsity in Udaipur, it was decided to promote urad crop.
We are seeing some results,” he said.

The pilot FPO with a membership of 1,025 small and marginal farmers from six rain-fed villages is making some headway as more farmers are motivated now, he added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)