Tata Steel Foundation empowers farmers in cyclone-prone Ganjam district
– Promoting climate resilience and sustainable agricultural practices
Berhampur: For Subash Chandra Pradhan – a farmer of Nandika village in the southern Odisha district of Ganjam – natural calamities were no less than eternal curse. As the vagaries continued to destroy his standing crops in one way or another year after year, he was pushed further into financial wretchedness. He had almost lost his hopes till Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) stepped in and the disarming smiles on the face of the 51-year old farmer were back.
“Things started changing after 2019 when Tata Steel Foundation came to our rescue. With its support, my betel vine cultivation has undergone significant improvements. Now, I earn a monthly profit ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000, securing a better future for myself and my family,” he added.
Ganjam district has been witness to a number of natural calamities like cyclone, heavy rain, floods, gale and hail storm to name a few and their occurrence has gone up in last couple of years. The district is known as a cyclone-prone region with a number of cyclones having made their landfall in the area in the recent past, causing immense loss to properties and farmlands.
The Foundation has provided several farmers like Pradhan with proper training, essential equipment like bamboo and more than 10,000 betel vine seedlings, and technical assistance. Additionally, continuous monitoring, yellow traps to protect from insects, and bio-fertilizers were given to improve their cultivation.
Ghanashyam Mandal (47), a farmer from Panchama village in Rangeilunda block of the district says, “Earlier, frequent cyclones used to ravage my crops. Now, with prior cyclone information and support from Tata Steel Foundation, the damage has been significantly reduced. TSF has been providing me with bamboo, ‘Samudiya’ sticks, organic fertilizers and tools for betel vine cultivation.”
Another farmer Krushna Chandra Mandal (36), from the same village opined, “I have a family of four members, and we solely rely on farming as our only source of income. With the support extended by TSF for betel vine cultivation, I now earn more than Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 per year from it. Our betel vine leaves are supplied to Banaras and other parts of the country.”
Notably, the Foundation has also extended its support to enhance the sustainable practices of farmers in cyclone-prone regions of Ganjam district including port town of Gopalpur.
The foundation is now assisting farmers in establishing solar panels and water irrigation pumps. By harnessing solar energy, farmers have succeeded in reducing their dependency on conventional power sources and contribute to sustainable energy practices.
Shedding light on numerous initiatives undertaken by TSF in the region, Rockey Martin, Unit Head of Tata Steel Foundation, Gopalpur, said, “Our collaborations with the State government have spearheaded several climate resilience programs in the Gopalpur and Ganjam regions. These initiatives highlight our steadfast dedication and unwavering commitment to a sustainable future, specifically aimed at supporting farmers.”
Moreover, the availability of water irrigation pumps enables efficient water management, ensuring optimal usage of resources even during challenging weather conditions. These interventions not only promote climate resilience but also empower farmers to adopt eco-friendly practices, leading to a more sustainable and prosperous future for the agricultural communities in the region.