Agriculture under Biratpat watershed project is fully dependent on rainfall. A perennial stream, Sauli ghat, runs through the village and there was an old & damaged check dam in the upper region of the stream to channelize the water towards farmlands. During the watershed implementation phase, it was planned to restore and make proper utilization of the water for irrigating the agricultural lands. One WHS (water harvesting structure) was constructed in the upper zone of the stream to store rain water.
In the year 2015, Government of Odisha declared the whole district of Mayurbhanj as drought-affected due to extremely low rainfall. However, in contrast to this, the water harvesting structure in Patsanipur was like a boon for the farmers of this village. It was possible to make the village drought-free by irrigating the lands from that WHS. This structure has set an example of the potential of rainwater harvesting in dry-land.
Shyamasundar Murmu (48) of Patsanipur village is a small farmer having 3 acres of land. Previously, 2 acres of his land were un-irrigated and rain-fed. His production was inadequate to meet the demands of his large family of 10 members. Thus, he had to work as a wage labourer during lean season. Under the Biratpat watershed project, he dug one farm pond for pisciculture & a vermicompost pit to replace the chemical fertilizers. Now, he has started growing vegetables in his 20 decimal lands near the pond and his family is getting fresh vegetables for their daily diet. All these initiatives had led towards a better living standard and now, he is recognized as a progressive farmer in his community.
Mr Amin Soren was a daily wage labourer, for whom arranging two square meals a day for his family was also difficult. He had 60 decimal of cultivable lands, which were remained barren for years. After getting technical assistance from SOOVA & NABARD, development of this land started. During the 1st year, his barren lands were chosen for vegetable cultivation. Later, he found this proposition profitable and continued to work on his land. At present, he is not only able to lead a financially sound life but also has enabled 25-30 more farmers to have a better income along with better living.
Ms Salge Soren, a tribal woman, is breaking the glass ceiling meant for females. She is a member of Maninageswara Self-Help Group & is ardently engaged in the activity pertaining to the vaccination of the chickens. She also sells fodders for goats in collaboration with Durga Devi Producers’ Company. Apart from these; she also works relentlessly in spreading the awareness, through regular sensitization, among the community members on how to get more benefits from the poultry business. Due to her regular and earnest efforts, the mortality rate of chickens has reduced to an exemplary level in her locality.
Malati Marandi is a member of Mayurbhanj Socio-Economic Development Program (MSED) Project. Earlier, she was so engulfed with the problems of her own that she hardly had any scope to bother about the problems of others in her community. But with this project, she got an opportunity to participate in different trainings, orientation and motivation programs that taught her the value of “Passing on the gift”.
Also, after joining the Heifer Project, she is doing vegetables cultivation in one acre fifty decimal of land that her family owns. She mostly shares her vegetables with the villagers, without worrying about the profit and loss. She counts on building relationships with other households in the village and tries to keep the emotional bonding among the villagers intact. Likewise, she has earned a sustainable livelihood for her family as well as the community.
Bhanumati Singh, a semi-literate tribal woman, had never thought of becoming owner of a shop of her choice. In fact, she is now the Secretary of ‘Maa Gayatri SOOVA’ SHG and has been elected as the Ward Member of Khaladi village also. Her dedication and determination to work for the community brings her glory in the locality. Now, she earns monthly 15,000 rupees from her auto rickshaw & variety store and supports her family to lead a happy life. She has set an example for the local women through demonstrating her will power in changing the situation of her family.