Watershed project to farmers aid

Watershed project to farmers aid

Farmers in Kannamangala village of Chikkaballapur district, 63 km from Bangalore, used to mainly grow ragi, tamarind and other traditional crops in the laterite soil that yielded very little.

But of late, the income of farmers from this arid area has soared. For, the farmers are experimenting with various new crops and techniques of farming under a new project by the National Bank for Rural and Agricultural Development (NABARD).

NABARD started the Kannamangala watershed development project covering Kannamangala and four other villages - K Muthakadalli, Chinatadupi, JS Halli and Halasurudinne - under the sponsorship of the Watershed Development Fund
 in 2002.

Narayanappa, a farmer in Kannamangala, has three hectares of land where the ragi and tamarind crop used to fetch him Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per yield. “Since the project started, I am growing cashews and my income has increased to Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000”, he said.

The biggest success story is, however, that of Narayanaswamy,  a farmer from J S Halli, whose variety of produce and earnings increased manifold since the watershed project started. Narayanaswamy has nine hectares of land, out of which three hectares are used for mango plantation, five acres for gooseberries, jamun and tamarind.

“My earnings from jamun was Rs 68,000 in the first year and Rs 3,50,000 in the third year. From gooseberries, I earned Rs 38,000 in the first year and Rs 1.45 lakh in the fourth year,” he said.

The implementation of the watershed project took place in two phases – the capacity building phase and the full implementation phase. The first phase was carried out between March 2002 and  December 2003 and, the second phase was completed in 2008. Both the phases were completed at a combined cost of Rs 61.86 lakh. 

Explaining some of the techniques used in watershed development, S S Tayde, Assistant General Manager, NABARD said, “The digging of trenches and bunding in Narayana­swamy’s  land has prevented the top soil from being leached and resulted in high yields”.

Navachaitanya Urban and Rural Development Society (NRDS), an NGO, implemented the project in the village initially. The Kannamangala Watershed Development Authority, a local body comprising members from all the villages covered under the project, was formed to monitor the project.

Ultimately, it took over the project from the NRDS to sustain it further.

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