Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Shitulia village is one of poorest village of Sundarban. More than 95% of total populations are either Schedule Tribes or Schedule Caste and this village is surrounded by the two rivers Kalagachi and Raimongol. Shitulia is under Sandeshkhali-II block of North 24 Parganas district.
The entire village was devastated by the super cyclone, AILA in 2009. Most of farm lands were under saline river water. Swanirvar started intervention in this village from 2015. Initially we encouraged the women farmers to make small groups.
Dipali Das is one of the members of “Doltala Mohila Samiti”(Women farmers group) of Shitulia village. She had 3(adult-2, Children-1) members in her family. She had 1.3 acres of land but out of this 1 acre was low land and used for paddy in monsoon. She could grow vegetables only in 3 katha (2160 sq. ft) area from which she get few vegetables only in winter. She also had two cows.
From 2015, Swanirvar started its intervention this village and gave extensive trainings to the farmers.
Subjects of the trainings were as follows:
1.      Techniques to develop kitchen gardens – use of Bio-composting, box- composting, bio-pest controllers, use of trellis, roof etc
2.      Basic idea on Nutrition security
3.      Mushroom culture – rearing of duck and country chicken

After AILA, Dipali’s husband migrated to Kolkata like most other men of Sundarban area. Dipali attended all the training programmes and got a ray of hope to survive as well as start a new duel with poverty.
Dipali in her small Garden

            In October, 2015 she planted radish, pumpkin, long beans, Mukhi Kachu, flat beans carrot, bins, coriander leaf, Brinjal, Turnip, spinach, chili, Red amaranth, beets, ginger, potato etc  in her plot. ( Swanirvar supplied folk/op seeds to the women farmers).
She also made box compost and bio-compost chambers and Amrit Pani in her home. She made rectangular and circular beds in her plot. She also used live mulching for water conservation. By, November, 15 she got few plastic bags from Swanirvar and also planted vegetables in those bags.
From, December, 2015 she was getting vegetables and from November, 15 she was consuming leaves and shags.
From December, 2015 she was getting leafy vegetables- 150 gm, Roots and Tubers- 150 gm, Vegetables-150 gm, Pulses-50 gm daily from her gardens. She had only used Neem solution and kerosene –Ash mixture as pest controllers. As per her records, last three months (November,2015- January,2016) her family had consumed vegetables worth Rs. 6000/- and  earned 3000/- by selling to local market. She only spent Rs.500/- for making trellis and plastic sheets etc.
In January, 16 she made vermi-compost pit in her home and unit to make amritpani and compost tea. She became role model and resource person in the eye of local farmers. Many farmers are coming to see Dipali’s garden and learning the art of mixed cropping, mulching, use to trellis, roof etc. 
Dipali are not only increasing their productivity by adopting the mixed – cropping practice but are also investing their yield judiciously by using bio-nutrients and bio-pest controllers. Earlier, the family’s consumption pattern was poor as they could only afford rice and rarely could eat vegetables. Further, Dipali is also investing in the education of her son by enrolling him in the nearby school.  
Bio-nutrient unit

The increased income has not only helped in increasing the food security of the family but has also percolated in the other aspects and is contributing towards improving the overall quality of life of the family.
Dipali has inspired many women like Susama Baulia, Aparna Kayal, Laxmi Mistri, Puspa Das, Kaberi Mondal, Rani Mondal etc.  They also got mantra of hope and living with dignity.

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