Malrayudu overcomes his hardships through Dairying
To encourage dairying as a supplementary income for the rural poor, BIRD-AP disbursed Rs. 4000 as revolving fund to Malrayudu and his wife Venkatalakshmi of Y. Kothapalli village of Pampanur block under NAIP of ICAR. The couple bought one HF calf of 2 years of age, which conceived and gave birth to a female calf. But the calf died after one month. Malrayudu sold his buffalo and bought a Jersey cow for Rs. 21,000. The HF cow yielded an average of 10 litres milk per day and the Jersey cow yielded 6 litres per day during a lactation. The family sold 15 litres milk at Rs. 14 every day.

The total expenditure of maintaining the cattle was Rs. 51,000 per annum, while his total earning was Rs. 70,000, with a net earning of Rs. 20,000 excluding the family labour. Earning of wages and income from growing stock were added benefits. With these cows, his life changed. Earlier, he had to borrow money from the local money lender at high rate of interest to even feed his family consisting of three teenaged daughters. Now, his youngest daughter has started attending school. Seeing his success, many villagers have taken up dairying and the population of cows in the village is steeply rising.

  Self Employment Paves Way for Prosperous Life
I remained a housewife for 9 years, leading a life full of misery. I have completed Intermediate. However, the financial background of my parents was not able to support my higher education. I got married in 2002. My life was restricted to my family. BIRD-AP entered Chittoor district in the year 2009. Till then, I had never worked. I happened to see an advertisement, attended the interview and was selected. I was trained for 4 months and started working as a Technician to provide livestock breeding service. I had never imagined that I could do this. My hard work has moved me a step ahead of all the technicians in Chittoor district. I am the only source of income for my family. I am able to earn a good living. I am delighted about my independence, which came as a ray of light in my dark life.

  Integrated Small Scale Water Resources Management in Maharashtra
Domkhadak village located 19 km from Peint taluk of Nasik district has an undulating and hilly topography. Traditional crops like paddy, finger millet, varai and kulid are grown in kharif. Despite an annual rainfall of 2500 mm, rainfed farming resulted in lower yields forcing these farmers to migrate to Nasik in search of employment. In the year 2001, MITTRA, initiated tree-based farming model to enable communities to earn sustainable income. The local tribal families planted fruit trees on 18.5 ha and forestry species along the boundary. However, due to the topography and slopy land, water became a major constraint for survival of plants. To address this issue, MITTRA organised participatory techniques such as PRA to sensitise the community about problems and solutions. The community members enthusiastically mapped the water resources and analysed their water needs. Then, a strategy for development of the existing as well as new water sources was developed and a water usersí group was formed to plan, coordinate and implement the operation. Wadi members prioritised construction of permanent check dams on nallah and a resolution was passed in the Gram Sabha. The local community on their own, constructed a temporary barrier. As this had good results, they decided to construct a permanent check dam. The water usersí group developed 2 spring sites into a well-like structure with a storage capacity of 3000 litres for drinking water. The group also planned their cropping plan based on the water availability. The members decided to ban certain crops like sugarcane which demanded more water. As a result, today, farmers are able to grow crops such as wheat, gram and vegetables such as potato, brinjal, tomato, etc., both in kharif and rabi seasons. With assured availability of water, each wadi family has enhanced the income from wadi as well as inter crops to the extent of Rs. 28,000 to Rs. 35,000.
  Opening New Vistas

Manisha, aged 22, studied up to the sixth standard and had an early marriage, which lasted for only 2 months. Since then, she returned to her parentís house, taking a legal divorce. Accepting this as a harsh reality, she worked as an agricultural labour while helping her mother in daily chores. The first change came in her life when BAIF promoted SHG in her village and she could become a member. While attending the meetings of the group, she came to know about the Yashaswini course and expressed her willingness to join it. Although her father was initially reluctant, after persuasion by BAIF staff members, he changed his mind and enrolled Manisha for the course. When Manisha came to Urulikanchan for the course, she was ignorant. She had forgotten even the basic writing skills. She slowly regained her skills in writing and at the same time, improved her reading skills. She took keen interest in the course on milk and fruit processing. With regular counselling and motivation, she gained confidence and made friends. On completion of the course, she took up a temporary assignment in the sericulture division of BAIF for 3 months. She worked on spinning. She also experimented on preparation of cottage cheese as her parents had a cow, but realised that it was not profitable. She also ventured to produce vermicompost. While returning home, she carried some earthworms to her place and started compost production. As cow dung was readily available, Manisha prepared vermicompost successfully. She became a member of Sankalp Streevadi Sahakari Group based at Urulikanchan and sold 80 kg of vermicompost in packets of 1 and 2 kg, at the rate of Rs. 5 per kg through their shop every month. She also catered to bulk orders from local farmers. With the money saved and confidence gained, Manisha wanted to expand her business. She availed of a loan of Rs. 50,000 from Bank of India for purchasing 2 crossbred cows. Now, she earns additional income from the additional 20 litres of milk every day. While operating this business smoothly, recently, Manisha learnt tailoring and bought a sewing machine. She stitches her own clothes and also for her neighbours during her spare time. There were days when Manisha used to find her idle days boring and too long, but not any more.

  Benefits of Plastic mulching for Melon Crops
Realising the water scarcity, an innovative farmer from Pampanur thanda experimented with cultivation of water melon and musk melon under plastic mulching and obtained spectacular yields in comparison to crops raised without mulching. The success of the technique and its impact on the yields encouraged the other farmers to follow and the project staff came forward to scale up the activity by providing mulching sheet to 31 farmers, each covering 0.2 ha for cultivation. Mulching helped in conservation of moisture and maintaining soil fertility by checking the erosion of the top soil. It reduced the cost of cultivation and maturity period of the crop. Fruits obtained from the mulched crop were big in size with good keeping quality. They fetched better price in the market compared to the fruits produced without mulching. Farmers harvested 22 tons of water melon and 14 tons of musk melon from mulched crops and only 8 tons of musk melon without mulching. The net returns obtained from mulched crops on 0.4 ha were Rs.1.52 lakhs and Rs. 87,000 for watermelon and musk melon respectively while the income from non-mulched crops was only Rs. 17,000.

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