E.Venkat Ramnayya, Youth for Action, RIOD-INDIA
Chennamma, 48 of Ullemkondavillage, in Mahaboobnagar District in Andhra Pradesh has experienced recurrent drought in her area. With 5 acres of dryland and no other avenues of income except to earn a living as a labourer, the option available to Chennamma was to migrate elsewhere from the hostile living conditions. But with the initiative of Youth for Action, RIOD-INDIA, Chennamma and other members of the village have been involved in regeneration of the soil fertility and productivity of their land through soil and water conservation measures such as gully checking, bunding, and construction of percolation tank and deepening of wells, which has helped her rebuild her life in her village.
Chennamma was provided loans by Sangham. Adding her own contribution to this loan, she bought the fertilizer and high yielding varieties of seeds of Jowar, Castor, Rostar and Groundnut. Her husband who was working in another place began to work in their own field. Through these efforts, the yield per acre from various crops increased by more than 50 per cent.
The improvement in the yield and the income level has increased in the last three years and even during lean periods. This has helped her provide her children better nutritious food; the rice eaten earlier has been supplemented with Jowar and groundnut, fulfilling the basic nutritional requirement. Chennamma has now extended her skills to raising of species such as Tamarind, Cheema, Chinta, Subabul, Glaricidia, and Acacia in nurseries. These are especially grown in semi-arid tropics and drought resistant varieties. Through appropriate utilisation of her land she was able to obtain fodder, fuel biomass and timber. Chennamma started vegetable cultivation programme in her garden to grow vegetables such as tomato, brinjal, ladies finger, etc. Her physical health improved due to the intake of better nutritional diet. She now helps other women in the neighbouring villages to learn the skills she has acquired through her efforts of the past three years. The case of Chennamma is an example of how one can attain food security and self sustenance through simple practices of land conservation measures.
Yield per acre of Land