In the tribal areas of Udaipur, studies show that during drought season adults may eat only once in 2 or 3 days and families take turns eating. Community-wide monsoon rainwater dependency and poor conservation of this water leads to crop failure and malnutrition of livestock and family members during the dry season.With 70% of Udaipur’s population working in agriculture, JJVS works to support the agricultural practices of farmers by focusing on sustainable and traditional agricultural practices. People now practice vegetable gardening and inter-cropping using compost manure and mechanized agricultural equipment, all which have ultimately helped increase their income.
JJVS focuses on improving composite crop variety seeds, which help communities combat the negative impacts from drought. Seed fairs and seed banking support farmers in preserving and using local plant resources. JJVS has also made efforts to promote organic fertilizer and encourage the adoption of new practices such as line sowing, seed treatment, seed-storage and seed production.
WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
JJVS works to improve of natural resource management and other drought mitigation interventions in their agricultural development program.
JJVS implemented 15 watershed development projects (conserving rainwater) with the support of Catholic Relief Services (USCCB and Karl Kuble Stiftung, KKS, Germany). In the first phase of the program, we have stored rainwater within village boundaries with the concept of Khet ka pani khet mein (farm-land water should be in farm land) and Goan ka pani goan mein (village water should be within the village boundary). This program was implemented six years ago for activities such as the continuous contour trenches, gully plugs, farm-bunding, loose boulder check-dams and cement anicuts. Irrigation Practices Wells have also become a major source of irrigation for communities in Southern Rajasthan.
EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION & STRENGTHENING OF MHANREGA
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MhaNREGA) guarantees 100 days of employment for any rural household whose adult members are willing to do unskilled manual work. This act states that all people have a right to work and is expected to sustain people’s livelihoods by developing the economic and social infrastructure in rural areas. It also seeks to address the causes of chronic poverty such as drought, deforestation and soil erosion. JJVS has carried out successful implementations of MhaNREGA programs and guaranteed 100 days of employment to all adult family members of the Vali Panchayat. JJVS is facilitating the Gram Panchayat (GP) in work applications, job registration and verifying job cards. The list of selected family members who are willing to do manual work is put up on a Panchayat notice board for transparency.
LIVESTOCK AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY FARMING
Livestock and Animal Husbandry Farming is impossible without livestock, which not only provide draft animal power for land management and manure for crop production but also increase income and access nutritious food in rural communities. JJVS has introduced livestock management technology and income-generating projects such as: dairy cooperatives, goat and sheep rearing, organic compost production, and microfinance of dairy animals. Efforts have been made to improve rearing methods for existing livestock through organizing veterinary health camps with active involvement of government animal husbandry departments and veterinary practitioners at the local level. JJVS also organizes capacity-building programs for livestock keepers and ethno-veterinarian (traditional veterinary practitioners) to improve access to livestock treatment services in remote villages.