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Food and Water Security

Seva Mandir delivers a complete package of interventions to deal with water security, which in turn can lead to food security for families in the region. Our starting point is watershed treatment of degraded land and less productive farmlands in an area. This includes undertaking soil and water conservation activities, starting with the upstream areas where pastures and forestland are mostly located, and continuing downstream where wasteland (various categories of non-productive land) and farmland are located. In addition, we help communities to plant suitable flora in the right areas so as to increase green cover. The wasteland treatment leads to a rise in groundwater levels, converting wasteland to farmland, enhances soil moisture and checks water and wind erosion of the soil.

To manage rainwater run-off during monsoons and make the best use of the existing water resources in the area, we help communities to build check dams, water-harvesting structures and irrigation systems. This leads to greater availability of and better access to water for agriculture and livestock.

To ensure improved land and water resources and therefore higher farm productivity, best practices in agriculture are introduced to farmers through training using the Farmer Field School approach. This ensures a participatory way of involving the farming community, developing local capacity in the process. Seva Mandir works to improve the productivity of grains, pulses and vegetables to ensure food and nutrition security for families in the region.

Community institutions (see Sustainable Development) and women’s groups (see Empowering Women) play a crucial role in ensuring ownership and accountability amongst various land and water resource user groups and participation in agricultural activities at every stage of the intervention.


Impact 

We have developed more than 16,800 hectares of land through our watershed approach, and 2,100 hectares of land have been converted from non-arable to arable land (which is a 20% increase in farmland area). Groundwater levels in our intervention area have increased by on average 0.6 metres (13% increase), and, thanks to this, 1,170 hectares of additional farmland are now  irrigated, with the area under irrigation increasing 1.5 times (58% irrigation intensity). In total, 17 billion litres of water-harvesting capacity has been created through 105 structures.
13,400 farmers have planted an additional crop on the same piece of land (which is an increase of 224% in cropping intensity), alongside a 40% to 60% increase in productivity for grains, pulses and vegetables.

Our work has also led to a 4 months’ increase in food grain availability from farmland for household consumption and 22,000 families now have enhanced food and water security.

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