Chatra Gram Panchayat(under Baduria Block of North 24 Parganas) is on the bank of Ichhamati river. Ichhamati river water is moderately saline but during summer the water became high saline and this water turns the farm land barren by depositing see salt coating on the field. Farmers are in deep trouble as none of the hybrid seeds withstand water logging and none of them were saline tolerant.
Kalicharan Gain (55) and his wife were marginal farmers due to the salinity crisis of Ichhamati they had become landless day labour as his 70 decimal farm land become barren. They also tried to take lease 23 decimal farm land and started Brinjal cultivation there. The couple used high amount of pesticides and few years back his wife was diagnosed cancer. The oncologist advised them to give up pesticide use as well as Brinjal farming as high yielding Brinjal were infested with number of pests. They started marigold production but it also required pesticides. Mrs Gain used to pluck the flowers whose extracts caused sores in her hands and that also turns to cancer. Gradually, Mr. Gain become a day labour and the couple lived their life in destitute.
In 2009, they came to our agri-school and met our staff-trainer, Ramprasad Gain. He also met many successful farmers who had overcome may problems and did excels in the their field. As per our guidance he dig a small pong in his farm to store the rain water and to use this in crisis time. He was also advised to start bucket farming technique (putting soil and vermicompost 50:50 ratio in the plastic bag and put sapling in it. Then to make a trellis and make an arrangement so that the sapling can cover the trellis). He was also advised to cover the field with banana leaves(mulching technique) and use bio-manures only. We also helped him to made earthen wall in the circumference and washed his land as much as possible during monsoon. He started vegetable plots in 33 decimal and paddy in 25 decimal and rest 12 decimal was his pong area and we also provided interest free agriculture loan amounting Rs. 7000.00. He also given extensive hand held trainings on bio-pest controlling and production of hen-duch-fish and paddy together (integration model). He also got trainings on mix vegetable production and seed collection and preservation.
Sujit Adhikari, Swanirvar