Youth are the backbone of agriculture sector and now a new generation of youth is stepping forward to change the change the agriculture scenario.
Ravindra Yadav mentors the members of Smallholder Farmer Collectives on agriculture and inspires other youth to adopt agriculture as their livelihood.
Ravindra’s interest in farming started from the Strengthening Adaptive Farming in Bangladesh, India and Nepal (SAFBIN) programme orientation held in 2012 on On-Farm Adaptive Research (OFAR). What excited him was the concept of smallholders being the decision makers and not mere a recipient in the OFAR process.
An undergraduate from the Kanikhedi village soon appointed as the Village Research Assistant (VRA) only because of his keen interest and dedication towards smallholder at the grassroot level. He regularly works towards identifying different aspects of the smallholder farmers challenges and issues pertaining to their crops and cultivation practices and try to find localised solution from them. He became the point person for organising smallholder farmers collectives at the community level. During the Small Holder Farmer Collective (SHFC) meeting, he found that, smallholders are some of the most resourceful people making best out of what they have.
He continued to make efforts to be part of the individual farmer group meetings at village level to understand the actual problems not limited to their cultivation but also try to understand their socio-economic life. This interaction has brought openness among farmers to share many things and above all, the farmers identified the problem and then collectively came up with the localised solutions and with little assistance from the SAFBIN to engage themselves as a part of their social responsibility was unique of its kind. He has shared the smallholder learnings and benefits of SHFC in many regional and national platforms.
He is also applying eco-friendly practices in his 2.5 acre land like preparing botanicals and bio-pest repellents, adaptive farming trials with wheat and black gram. Last year, he got 69 Kgs wheat out of 500gms seeds and 3 quintals of black gram out of 7kgs seeds. From his vegetable field, he managed to earn INR 22000/ – INR 24000/- in a season time with increased food basket for round the year.
He has also undergone a residential training on transfer of smallholder friendly technologies and practices from laboratory to land. He was oriented on many beneficial micro-organisms and nutrients which helps to increase nutrients in both plants as well as soil playing a role to prevent seed borne diseases by seed treatments. He is now primarily responsible for blending of products from laboratory to smallholder farmers field with appropriate knowledge and practices to cope up with climate change hazards.
Inspired by the achievements and learnings, Caritas India with the help of its partner organisations taking the learnings forward in the next phase concentrating more on doubling farm production and income, access to balance diet and nutritional self-sufficiency, resilience to climate change and disaster while maintaining farm eco-system for the farmers who depends on small piece of land and practice subsistence farming to meet their dietary requirements.
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