In Uttar Pradesh, frequent extreme weather events and climate change have had impacts not only on the agricultural production but also on the lives and livelihoods of the small, marginal and woman farmers. More than 80% of the farming community of Uttar Pradesh comprises of small and marginal farmers (having less than 1 ha of land). These farmers have meagre resources to buffer them from the new risks that climate change poses. Through GEAG’s interventions in several districts of Uttar Pradesh, small and marginal women farmers have learnt and adopted agricultural techniques and methods that are not only making their livelihoods profitable, but also resilient.
Ramrati Devi is one such small-landholding farmer in Sant Kabir Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. In 1998, floods submerged her crops; there was no food for the family of seven. The uncertain rainfall pattern had weakened her farming system. Taking lessons from her association with GEAG, Ramrati adopted integrated farming systems, diversified cropping mechanisms and used bio-manure and bio-pesticides. Integrated fish and poultry farming changed Ramrati’s life.
With GEAG’s facilitation, Ramrati understood the benefits of integrated farming. She successfully linked the farming sub-systems—pond with fish, crop and poultry—to each other such that the by-products/wastes from one sub-system become the valuable inputs to another sub-system. This ensured total utilization of land, water and farm resources and ultimately resulted in maximum and diversified farm outputs with minimum financial and labour cost. A small pond—in which the fishes are reared with a stilt, on which there is a poultry house with hens—serves as a perfect combination of the farm sub-system. The excreta and waste feed from poultry serves as feed for fish and as manure for crops. To avoid soil erosion, Ramrati has sowed a banana plantation around the pond. On the poultry house, Ramrati has planted creepers, which grow vegetables.
Initiated with a small investment in the year 2012, Ramrati’s profits have gone up more than 300%.
Ramrati says- “This integrated system is not only providing a stable income for me but has also strengthened my farm to withstand in adverse weather events”.