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Adaptative agriculture practices for flood-affected farmers of Bihar

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Every year when floodwater recedes, the whole agricultural land near the riverbank is filled with sand which makes it uncultivable for crops.

Floods damage, but as we learnt it brings a lot of alluvial soil beneficial for the crops. The annual flooding of rivers that flow down from the Himalayas – especially the Koshi – has replenished the riverbanks of India. But over the last few years, river waters have started leaving behind more sand than silt leaving to the plains.

A major constraint of paddy production in North Bihar is affected by the recurring flood and sediments (Sands) deposit by flood in farmland. Though the water is free in the region farmers are forced to abandon their farmland due to sand casting and loss of productivity even after hard labour and investments.

The farmers have turned challenges (Sand casting) into opportunities under the Caritas India Resilient Livelihood project and promoted Adaptive Agriculture Practices through the People Led Approach (PLA). The expert from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Raghopur (Supaul) advised farmers for alternate crops. The guidance has been provided by KVK, since farmers are doing it the first time. The KVK scientist provided watermelon seedlings in a germination tray and under the supervision of Experts, farmers have planted the same in the field.

The process started in 2018 when Mr. Rajender, a progressive farmer cultivated Pumpkin in 2 Katha of sand land.

The practice of cultivation on sand land started in 2019 by one farmer and now 30 more farmers have followed the cultivation of watermelon, Cucumber and Musk melon as an alternative crop, in the region. Since watermelon seedlings are very tender and required special attention on the plantation.

It all began three years ago when the 2018 flood inurned silt in region and farms and gradually the cultivation of Main crops was decreasing. Now the farmers of the region decided to switch to watermelon. The yield surprised the farmers and gradually the sand farming has been initiated in the region.

Over the years, the project has worked to link the farmers with Government institution and helped in promoting resilient practices in the region. After the completion of the project, the dialogue with duty bearers is still going on and in a recent development, 30 farmers have received watermelon seedlings and the same has been planted in the field. Before receiving the Plants 30 Farmers of the region in 2 batches visited KVK and received induction on cropping pattern.