Green Revolution enhanced the food security of India in one hand and accelerated the degradation of soil fertility and environment in other hand. In other words the green revolution concentrated on producing sufficient food for the people but did not give adequate thought on environmental problems. Degraded soil fertility, spiralling cost of agro chemicals, over dependency on agrochemicals, depleting ground water level, evading monsoon and various other small and large issues have driven the farmers to mounting debts and suicide trends. On the other hand there are various adoptable bio- technologies which are cost effective and without high technicalities, but are unknown to the rural small and marginal farmers. Very often they do not have access to such information. Vermiculture is one such technology. RDS during the last many years of its existence, have given priority to these type of technologies, and taken all efforts to impart them to the farmers. During the last couple of years, RDS mobilized donations from kind-hearted people of the district and other areas, to develop demonstration units of vermiculture. Subsequently RDS conducted various training programs and exposure visits for interested farmers, especially women, with an aim of wider promotion of vermicomposting. Those who did not have own capital to procure worms and construct simple sheds, RDS had provided working capital, refundable in kind – worms. A number of small and marginal farmers, especially women, have taken up vermicomposting and are benefiting from the same. For some landless women vermicomposting is a livelihood.
Integrated Pest Management:
Due to the adverse climatic conditions, agriculture became non profitable and a gamble. About 80% of the agriculture in Mahabubnagar District is depending on monsoon, which is always failing to appear in time, causing heavy loses to the farmers. In addition to the failure of monsoon, the spiralling cost of agrochemicals, on which heavy over dependency prevails, lead the farmers to unbearable debt traps. In this situation RDS took the initiative to train the farmers in natural pest management methods and depending on organic fertilizers which rejuvenate mother earth and which involves no heavy financial inputs. In addition to the natural pest management practices, RDS is also conducting awareness programs on bio pest control measures.
Due to the unmindful dependency on forests and injudicious environmental practices contributed the evolvement of degraded forests, denuded hillocks, disappearing greenery !!! The young and the old equally should be aware of the environment problems and have responsibility to maintain an ecologically balanced environment. The future generation and the young, more apt to understanding and changes, need to be motivated and mobilized to develop and protect the environment. In order to motivate and involve the younger generation to evolve an eco friendly environment in the area, RDS had conducted various workshops, camps, campaigns, competitions and awareness building cultural programs for the school children in the operational area. The motivated school children and farmers have taken afforestation program in their respective school! campus and their own houses in the villages. RDS raised forestry nurseries and supplied seedlings free of cost. A good number of those seedlings planted are growing healthy along with the developing mind of the children who planted and protect them. Apart from the literacy improvement, mental and physical developments of the children where also taken care of. It was mandatory to practice yoga in the centre with the guidance of experts and cultural activities and sports also got its importance in the centre. Our children performed cultural activities during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations at RDO’s office, Wanaparthy by competing the private school children and won prizes and appreciation from the public. In the month of June 2005 the entire 50 children enrolled in regular school as per the performance in the qualifying examination. 4 girl children got admission in Girls Residential School at Gattu. All the other children except 9 ST girl children all the 41 students got hostel seats and those 9children got accommodation in the RBC centre itself. In the month of July 2005, the second batch of students joined the RBC school and they are already enrolled in regular school as per the performance in the qualifying examination. All the 50 children were enrolled in school and application is already given to the concerned hostel wardens for hostel seats.
Agriculture is a gambling in the hands of monsoon which always tilted negatively to the farmers. In addition to the unfavourable climatical conditions, unaffordable input cost poor productivity due to excess use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, low quality of produce and marketing problems along with middleman menace deprived the licit opportunity for a minimum livelihood of an average farmer, forced them to migrate to other part of the country in search of a livelihood by leaving the agriculture land barren. In this juncture, RDS encouraged them to start animal husbandry as an alternative and helped them to avail loans from financial institutions to purchase animals. Apart from this, RDS organized sanghams of shepherds in almost all the villages of Wanaparthy and Nagarkurnool divisions and a few villages of Narayanpeta division of Mahabubnagar district.
Even the small and marginal farmers were encouraged to rear sheep immediately after the Khariff season , i.e. from October- November to June- July. An average of Rs.15,000/- to Rs.20,000/- of profit they could earn from an average herd of 25 sheep within 8 to 9 months. Most of the farmers used to sell their animals in the marriage season because of the high demand of mutton in that season. This income from the sheep rearing is more than that of the income from a relatively good crop to a small and marginal farmer in a year. A few number of farmers who have little water source, cultivated green fodder and could rear more number of ram and harvested very good returns than agriculture by using the same quantity of water and with relatively less labour. Insurance is done to the animals to cover the unexpected loses due to diseases, calamities etc.
Dairy program was also encouraged and RDS’ laisoning with the veterinary department helped the farmers to avail veterinary service like insemination, de worming, fodder development etc. without any difficulty.
WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT :
The senior personnel of RDS has rich experience in soil and water conservation works, having enhanced awareness and capacity of the rural mass and mobilized and motivated them to take up water and soil conservation measures in the most drought affected regions of the state. Although the terminology of watershed development emerged at a later stage, the senior personnel of RDS were engaged in the above mentioned activities while working with other reputed NGOs in the state. Marginal and small farmers were mobilized and motivated to take up water conservation works in their fields such as :
·Staggered pits for rain water harvesting
·Terracing and saucering, etc.
During 1995and there after when State government launched water shed development programs and APRLP in the state, majority of the present staff were actively involved in implementation of watershed development programs. We were instrumental in facilitating some of the District level Best Watersheds of the period, while working with a reputed voluntary organization in the District. Later on we were among the resource persons team for capacity building in watershed dev elopement, both for committee members, project implementing agencies and facilitators etc. along with capacity building in livelihood development.