Anila Deewan is a woman farmer from Chandagarh village of Pathalgaon block, Jashpur district, Chhattisgarh. Her family is completely dependent on agriculture for their living. A major part of her income used to be invested in the procurement of inputs for agriculture like purchasing seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. The majority of her income from the harvest went into returning the loan and she was left with a very minimal amount to provide for her family.
After the intervention of Where the Rain Falls (WtRF) project by CARE India she was invited to participate in a training on Climate-Smart Agriculture. The training gave her exposure to all the sustainable methods of crop production practices. During her interaction in the training and meetings organised by CARE India, she learned about vermicomposting – ‘the use of earthworms to convert organic waste into fertilizer (Oxford)’ – and the importance of traditional crops and varieties of paddy.
When Anila first shared her learnings with her husband he was hesitant to adopt these practices since agriculture was their sole source of income, but after repeated rounds of interaction, he agreed to give it a try. They started vermicomposting on their small piece of land. To their surprise, the yield on the land where vermicompost was used increased up to 1.5 times. Additionally, water requirements in that part of the field were comparatively lower than where chemical fertilizers were being used. One could also easily distinguish the taste of produce from those which were grown with the application of the chemical fertilizers.
Now Anila and her husband are only using vermicompost in their field. The shelf-life of potatoes and vegetables have also increased as compared to earlier, and the application of vermicompost only needs to be done once in a crop cycle.
Now, every year she produces 35 quintals of vermicompost out of which she uses 15 quintals for her own agriculture land and sells the rest to other farmers. Her agricultural yield has become profitable now. She is using her savings for the education of her children. They are also motivating other farmers to adopt vermicompost production methodology and other climate-smart agricultural practices. They are also handholding other farmers to install and run vermicompost units.