Farmers of Jeevika Samriddhi

New Delhi (India), September 1: In the heart of Jharsuguda, the story of transformation and hope unfolds through Vedanta Aluminium’s ‘Jeevika Samriddhi’ project. The project’s emphasis on sustainable farming practices and improved irrigation systems has become a beacon of hope for farmers in this region.  The success of the project can be gauged from the fact that even during the pandemic, it provided a steady source of income and opened avenues to directly sell farm produce through ‘Farm to Shop’ platforms through a robust supply chain model.

Transforming Lives and Empowering Communities

Arjun Naik, a farmer, from Gudigaon Village in Jharsuguda District, Odisha, assumed that year-round farming was next to impossible. “With water scarcity and health issues, life was a daily struggle for me as my family had to make a daily trek of around 2 km to fetch water which exhausted our energy and resources. Further, my health issues aggravated, adding to our woes, forcing me to stop working as a daily labourer which was my only means of income,” he mentions.

“It was during these testing times that Vedanta’s ‘Jeevika Samriddhi’ initiative became a glimmer of hope for us”, beams Arjun.  “Both my wife and I, benefited from the training and irrigation system support provided by Vedanta and today, our farmland thrives with cash crops such as tomatoes, chillies, and sweet corn, ensuring a stable income. My wife, Kavita, is a happy woman who not only contributes effectively to household expenditures, but also takes pride in educating our children and managing my medical expenses.”

Naresh Patel, another success story, reflects a similar transformation. “Initially I was a conventional farmer who primarily grew paddy and a few vegetables, struggling to make ends meet.  But everything changed from the moment I became a part of the ‘Jeevika Samriddhi’ project. The training sessions on natural pest management and organic farming methods gave me a larger perspective on sustainable agriculture and paved the way for evolving as an agricultural entrepreneur.  Now, I cultivate a range of cash crops like ginger, chilly, coriander, bottle gourd and many more which is fetching very good returns,” Naresh attributes.

Arjun Naik and Naresh are just two among the 521 families whose lives have been transformed by the Jeevika Samriddhi project in the villages of Gudigaon, Keldamal and Siriapali.

Sowing the Seeds of Change

Vedanta Limited, Jharsuguda, initiated the first phase of this unique farm-based project involving 111 farmers on a pilot basis in one of the villages, which was completed in 2017. Following the stupendous success of the project, the second phase was launched covering 330 farming households in Jharsuguda.

To further fortify this initiative, Vedanta roped in agricultural scientists to train the farmers on advanced agriculture practices and sustainable methods of farming.  Over 13,000 hours of training have been imparted to the farmers on areas such as crop planning & management, post-harvest management, Package of Practices (PoP), with more than 89% farmers benefiting from the sustainable agricultural practices. 

Reaping Bountiful Harvests

Today, farmers, who are part of the project, are engaged in cultivation round the year due to improved irrigation facilities which has reduced dependency on rains. Moreover, adoption of cash crops has also increased, with 77% of farmers enhancing their monthly income by 50%.  

Mr. Surendra Delki, Assistant Horticulture Officer, Kolibira Block, who has been closely associated with this project, adds, “Jeevika Samridhhi has positively impacted a large number of farming households by introducing them to advanced agricultural practices as well as to the best practices in land and water management. Today, more than 200 acres of farmland in this region are cultivated with high-value crops thereby ensuring a bountiful harvest all through the year.”

Promising a Greener Tomorrow

Now into its third operational phase, Vedanta’s ‘Jeevika Samridhhi’ project is set to broaden its scope to 3 more villages of 2 Gram Panchayats (Dalki & Parmanpur) in Jharsuguda District.

This third phase of the project focuses on orienting farmers about the adoption of climate-resilient agricultural techniques, establishing soil and water conservation structures, and introducing supplementary irrigation systems (such as solar and drip irrigation) to enhance reliable irrigation resources.

The program also aims to stimulate sustainable agriculture by refining crop management practices through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Integrated Nutrition Management (INM). Additionally, farmers will be familiarized with establishing market linkage through local institutions, community-based organizations, water user groups, farmer’s producer groups, village development committees, and similar avenues.

In a world where success is often measured in profits, Vedanta’s ‘Jeevika Samridhhi’ project tells a different tale. It’s a story of growth intertwined with the community’s well-being, a testament to the fact that true prosperity blooms when nurtured collectively.