Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction a program supported by Caritas India in North East India and implemented by Women’s Development Centre (WDC), Guwahati, in 15 villages under Morigaon district has a lots of story to tell. Of these clubbing strength of the farmers is one among the stories. With the help of WDC the villages have constituted what they call a farmers’ club in an effort to move a step to keep the program moving on with the support from NABARD and government schemes even after the project is closed.
Farmers’ club is a registered body under NABARD where about 10 farmers of a village come together and undertake trainings, activities and planning to augment their farming methods and status after consensus. They can access government schemes and benefits with the aid of this farmers’ club. In the CMDRR project, WDC had initiated formation of such farmers’ clubs to so they can bridge the gap between the Government and the farmers and the latter can access opportunities, more so in the event of a disaster like floods. They conduct trainings, awareness etc. in their villages by informing WDC that acts as a node between the village and the concerned experts/trainers.
The members of the farmers’ club discuss with other people in the village regarding their needs and problems. A total of 13 farmers’ clubs have been registered under NABARD in Morigaon in 15 project villages. These farmers’ club acts as a bridge between the village people and the government and also functions as a Task Force Group in the event of floods.
Jawaharilal Hazarika, president of Nabakharbori Krishak Sangha farmers’ club happily narrated the benefits that the farmers’ club could bring in to the villages after its formation. “We receive heavy floods every year and suffer huge loss of agricultural produce. With the help of the club we have brought free seeds for the village, and procured pump sets on a heavy discount. This is a great help for us as now we have the power to reach the government and access opportunities”, he commented.
Apart from trainings, the farmers’ club performs another significant function- preparing the Plan of Action (POA). Morigaon has 632 villages and 85 panchayats. In this context, a farmer’s club becomes a decentralized structure of taking the concerns of the villages to the Gram Panchayat. While a Gram Panchayat conducts 4 (effectively 1 or 2) meetings every year, a farmers’ club meets regularly once or twice a month and as and when required and discusses their issues together with the rest of the village. Women are an integral part of the process. As put by Kanchanmoni Gohain, District Development Officer, NABARD, “Co-ordination is more important than assistance in the farmers’ club that can result in linkage with many agencies”.