Current Field Reports

Tripling the harvest in India

Providing seeds and fertilizers to poor farmers

on Monday, 03 October 2011. Posted in Stories

Last year, 54 poor farmers in six villages in the state of Orissa, India, harvested three times the rice paddy crops from previous years, supplying increased food and income to their families. Why the three-fold increase in crops? What changed to produce such an increase?

Well, farming changed, thanks to Bill and Marilyn Rishel, who are working with India Partners to supply two types of fertilizer to farmers in need.
In 2003, Bill Rishel visited Dr. Iris Paul, our partner staff in Orissa, and saw firsthand the impact being made.

“I had the great privilege of visiting Dr. Iris Paul with a veterinary team. I saw how they were changing many lives through the income generation projects.”

In April 2011, India Partners began supplying two types of fertilizer to six villages in need, with the Rishel’s help. The aim was to train the farmers how to use the fertilizer in order to produce larger crops from one batch of seeds. So far, the initial success rate is high, as the farmers who used the fertilizer produced up to three times more rice paddy than previous years.

The two fertilizers were not given out for free, but loaned to interested farmers who would then be expected to repay their loans after the harvest, developing future sustainability for the project. The loans are managed by a group of village elders who also determine the interest rate, which is normally around 1.5%, as compared to open money-lenders who charge anywhere from 80-150% per year. In the future, loans for seeds will also be provided for those who cannot afford them.

Raba, a farmer with a family of four, participated in the project. Raba has three acres of agriculture land, from which he was harvesting 15 bags of rice paddy – the sale of which did not provide enough money for his family to survive for a year.

To help supplement the family’s food supply and income, his wife traveled to other villages to help clean the agriculture fields. When the harvest began, she would collect the paddy plants and bring home extra rice for her family as wages.

Raba and his wife signed up to learn more about the fertilizer project with the hope of producing more of their personal crops. India Partners representatives taught them how to use the fertilizer, and they purchased two bags of fertilizer on loan. The following harvest, Raba collected approximately 35 bags of rice paddy. Due to the increased supply, and therefore increased income, Raba’s wife no longer travels to other villages. Raba’s family is very grateful and thankful for this project, and plans to continue using the fertilizer in the future.

How can you help poor Indian farmers produce larger crops and generate more income for their families?

  • $70 provides seeds and fertilizer for one acre of land

Click “Donate Now” and select “Seeds and Fertilizers” from the drop-down menu. Thank you.

Donate Now

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