Diversified-INTEGRATED FARMING adaptation strategy for small and marginal farmers in coastal lowlands of Sundarbans [How & Why] Ardhendu S Chatterjee & Anshuman Das Development Research Communication and Services Centre West Bengal India
The Setting Sunderbans, world’s largest delta, formed by 3 major rivers and more than 300 tributaries & distributaries Mudflats,mangroves,saltwater swamps spreading over 2 countries,along 250 Km coastline .
Collaborative Trials on Farmers fields as Extn Strategy
Farmers Describe their resources,Assess Farm Productivity over Seasons, Define their Econ,Soc-Cultrl,Ecol Objectives in short and medium term, Design models in 2 or 3D,and assess progress periodically in neighbourhood groups ,often with external resource persons present.
farmer to farmer exchange visits are facilitated
Profiles and databases are created for lesser known plants,birds animals.
Let’s take specific case of 3 farmers * all of them having low lands, during rains/flood takes 3~4 months to recede – making the land uncultivable Banamali Das Sukomal Mandal Gobardhan Patra Total Land 0.6 acre 1.1 acre 0.4 acre Cropping pattern Vegetables during winter and rainy season, Rice in winter Rice in Kharif, some vegetable during winter Rice in kharif, some vegetable during winter, Vegetable during rainy season Other Assets Home + Homestead Garden + pond = 0.25 acre. Pond + home=0.2 acre 0.05 acre pond Family Member 7 Adult + 4 Children 2 Adult + 2 Children 10 Adult + 10 Children
Impact: diversified output/income Summary: Land shaping cost 5000 INR as loan. Total input 12235.5 INR (9497.75 INR is internally generated), Total output 28222 INR + own consumption 13000 INR
Impact: reducing livelihood dependency on single enterprise
Impact: energy/input cost/calorie/biomass recycling within the system – making the system more stable
Before Biogas plant: Fuel consumption : 25 dung cakes (300 g per dung cake) & 10 kg of firewood per day. After Constructing Biogas plant: Fuel consumption : Biogas at the rate of 1.5 hours per day and 10 Kg of firewood per week. + biogas slurry for making vermicompost No fossil fuel dependency, no mechanized tillage – no irrigation/chemical fertiliser/pesticide Impact: Clean Energy Impact: Faming season extended, more days of work, more cash in hand, no migration Impact: More resilient shock proof system, can manage water logging, longer summer
Farm level adaptation need to be supplemented with Watershed level interventions , such as Mangrove Protection and regeneration, embankment strengthening, Canalbank planting,Grass – land regeneration as well as desilting rivers and removing encroachments on drainage channels.
State support is never/ or seldom available for Indigenous plants and animals .The specialised cows,ducks,fishes,pigs etc that are promoted, perform poorly in integrated system.Focus needs to shift to whole farm productivity
Focus needs to shift from Extension to Dialogue. ‘Experts’ need to work in multi disciplinary teams