To improve rural livelihood, SeSTA works on the three pillars of livelihood triangle- People, Resource and Activity:
The North-eastern Indian economy is more or so dependent on agrarian activities, with more then 80% of the population engaged in farm or off-farm activities for their livelihood, which comes with unavoidable obstacles. Fragmented landholding, unstable market, lack of mechanisation, lack of awareness, and below par-infrastructure are some of the reasons for which those engaged with these activities could not sow what they reap.
To mitigate these challenges and to promote the livelihood of the marginal groups of farmers in the far-flung rural pockets of NE, SeSTA works on the three pillars of livelihood triangle– People, Resource and Activity.
- People: Building capabilities through training and handholding.
- Resource: Integrated Natural Resource Management by improving soil health, water management and conservation.
- Activity: Providing scientific understanding of an activity and economical sustainability
Aligning to this triangle, we are demonstratively working for production enhancement in crops like paddy, maize, ginger, turmeric, and vegetables in experimented and proven models of Systematic Rice Intensification (SRI), Systematic Crop Intensification (SCI), Nutrition Garden and Intercropped Orchards to increase value and nutrition of the products, thereby providing a substantial increase in income and providing overall nutrition to the families.
SeSTA exceptionally identifies the landless and marginal landholding families, with whom off-farm activities like pig rearing, goat rearing, Back yard poultry, Duck rearing are promoted in scientific models for proper management, growth and to continuously keep a check on health and hygiene of the livestock reared. Trainings on feed management, disease awareness, vaccination schedule are provided on ground for better understanding of the farmers, while also providing them free medicines, vaccines, feeds, grants, and minimal loans for constructions of sheds and other investments.
The models are proved to be fruitful for more then 40,000 landless farmers in the three states of NE, where SeSTA is operating.
Currently, SeSTA is concentrating on:
- Creating irrigation support to farmers, which will increase cropping intensity of the farmer.
- Diversify cropping pattern with these enhanced irrigation potentials, bringing the best possible crop combination is important. Crop diversification can give farmer high incomes. Addition of horticulture crops like areca-nut, betel-vine, spices, and maize can provide great returns. Farmer can grow paddy-pulse-oilseed in Kharif season and Rabi crops like maize and vegetable. The wadi will be covered with long duration crops like- Banana, citrus fruits along with intercrops of betel, ginger, turmeric, and other spices.
- Farmer collective through self-help groups: Self-help group can act as platform for farmers to share knowledge, activity planning and marketing. SHG can act as a medium for farmers to communicate with mainstreams for mobilizing finances, government schemes also for marketing of their produces.
INRM – Climate change and deforestation is putting a relentless pressure on natural resources. This is putting food systems and community resources at risk. INRM planning and implementation helps mitigate this risk and is crucial for holistic development of an area/patch.
INRM consist of holistically looking at the 5J’s- Jal, Jungle, Jameen, Jan and Janwar and building an integrated of a particular patch. SeSTA field teams are building the capacity of women and facilitating the implementation in villages on INRM. Through this, model villages can be created with organised and optimum utilisation of available resources. The plan is to create model villages in 13 blocks of Assam and around 10,000 Individual Beneficiary Schemes will be supported through this approach.
The steps in the INRM planning process are:
- 1. Social mapping
- 2. Resource mapping
- 3. Wealth ranking
- 4. Transect walk.
- 5. Consolidated planning
NREGS and Entitlements – Implementation of MGNREGA Schemes has seen major changes in the last few years. With allocation of big budgets by the government, it is expected to meet the objectives and strengthen the whole programme ensuring transparency and accountability. However, from planning to the implementation level many challenges arise thereby leading to very low performance. Some of the major challenges are:
- Community involvement in the processes is low due to lack of awareness.
- Selection of schemes as per the interest of PRI (Panchayati Raj Institution)/ward members
- Less focus on IBS (Individual Beneficiary Scheme)
- Political interference
- Lack of technical skills and knowledge of the government officials/PRI members
- Challenges during administrative, technical sanctions and implementation of schemes.
To mitigate these challenges SeSTA has designed a cell to focus on certain areas –
- Technical & capacity building support to GPs,
- Assisting GPs/VCDCs for Technical sanction of schemes
- Creating a common platform in between Community, PRIs, local MLA and Govt Department:
- Creating Job Demand
- Facilitate GPs/VCDCs to monitor the work site.
- Documentation & Social audit:
- Timely wage payment:
- Resource development
Nutrition garden – Agri-Nutrition garden model is in practice with the women collectives for improving nutritional outcomes and sustaining their livelihoods along with investment in market linkages. This activity is carried out with families who have been the most hit by the lockdown during the COVID19 pandemic and those who do not have many sources of livelihoods. This will ensure dietary diversity which will boost immunity of the consumers., the initiative is to tap into the collective strength of women SHGs promoted in each block by SeSTA, and reach “economy of scales” and use processing for longer shelf lives and easy access to markets.
Market Linkage and processing –
With production being increased by the process adopted by the women farmers, it is important to link the production with a stable market. SeSTA is acting as a bridge between the women farmers and the market with a vision to supply quality products meeting the demand of the consumers. Farmer Producer Company is being promoted to assist functional linkage, leverage fund, increase post processing, add value to products, to provide storage facilities and sell.
Four FPC Birangana Mahila producer Company, Sirijoni Mahila Farmers Producer Company Ltd, Sanghamitra Mahila Sangha Producer Company Ltd and Chirang Rural Women Producer Company Ltd are currently being promoted by SeSTA.