Sahaya partners with READ in India for the sustainable and eco-friendly economic development of farming communities through modern crop production technologies.
Sahaya and READ collaborate with the Gemini Agro Tech Educational Foundation (near Chennai) to help train farmers on modern crop production technologies, which has these goals:
- Increased crop productivivity per acre of 200 to 500%
- Reduced food prices, making quality food more affordable by poor people and thereby reducing malnutrition
- Improved quality of agricultural produce including nutritional value and shelf life, which benefits people and animals.
- Reduced poverty among farming families
- The increased economic capacity of the farmers will over time also lift up other sectors of the local economy.
- Eco-friendly farming methods will lead to better protection of the environment.
All of this is achieved with methods that are eco-friendly, durable and sustainable.
A brief history of our activities of the past few years:
- In 2014, 5 farmers of READ’s area received a 2-days training at GATE on modern crop production. They learned how to use a probe to collect a sample of the soil for a detailed soil analysis, so that fertilizer can be optimized to fulfill the micronutrients that are lacking in the soil. In 2015, two of the farmers had started to implement the learnt techniques on their own farms. Both were very happy with the results.
- In March 2017, thanks to fundraising by Sahaya International, READ was able to lease a piece of land that is 10.5 acres. It has an open well, but also a deep borewell so there is access to water the whole year. We spent first several months preparing the land (by leveling the land, deep plowing, layout of irrigation pipelines, etc). Since then we have started doing crop rotations including these crops: rice, groundnut, corn, pearl millet, black gram, chilis. The pictures below weren taken from this farming land from 2017 onwards.
- The project is currently being supervised by Mr. Selvam, founder and Executive Director of READ. The daily work is led by Mr. Pandu, a hardworking farmer, and several other staff. On some days (such as planting, harvesting etc), many local people are hired as day laborers to do the work. These day laborers are thus already exposed to the new agricultural methods. Many of them said they are impressed with the way the crops are growing, and have already asked for additional training.
- Soil testing has been done in 2018, and revealed that the soil is lacking on some micronutrients. Supplementation of these micronutrients is expected to increase the net productivity several fold. We plan to implement this late 2019.
- We have been able to renew the lease for an extra 3 years, thus until early 2023.
- However, as there is always uncertaintly with leases in the long run, the long-term development of this project will require a piece of land owned by READ. Then we can invest extra funds in soil enrichment, and can also build a small training center where farmers who receive training can sit and discuss the farming methods together with the hands-on training. For this new piece of land we are currently starting to raise more funds.
We are grateful to everyone who has already donated to this program to get it started. Additional funds are required to develop this program into a longterm sustainable program that can train many farmers. Click the “donate” button on the top of the screen, or mail a check payable to “Sahaya International”, with mention “farm program”, to Sahaya International, 1504 Portola Street, Davis, CA 95616. Thank you!