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Bring relief to drought affected regions of Maharashtra

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23rd June 2016
Dear Supporters,
 
I am Ibrahim, a Milaap Open Fellow. I recently visited the Shekhapur and Kasewadi villages in Beed district, courtesy of Mr. Subhash, Director of AFARM., Since 1969, AFARM has been working towards all facets of rural and agricultural development in Maharashtra. They have been providing training and resources to farmers and NGOs working in rural development. Currently, they are supporting  400 member NGOs.
 
Currently, to help farmers, AFARM, with a local organisation, is building watershed structures in a total of five villages. Three of them are Shekhapur, Kasewadi, and Pangulgaon in Asthi Taluka (Tehsil) of Beed district. Khadki and Aljapur are the other two from Karmala Taluka (Tehsil) of Solapur district. “The villages have been chosen where the need was the most, and more number of farmers would be able to derive benefit from the work,” says Mr. Subhash.
 
Some of the structures are Cement Nala Bunds (Check dams) that had been built by the govt. some ten to twelve years ago. Such structures need to be reinforced after such a long time. Most of the structures built by AFARM were Earthen Nala Bunds. A total of 14 such structures were built in the five villages combined. The average depth of these structures is 1.5 metre.
 
To build these structures, a lot of black soil is removed. This black soil does not allow water to percolate underground. Once it’s removed, the rainwater will be able to recharge the groundwater levels once rainfall takes place. Moreover, this black soil can be used by farmers as it is a rich source of nutrients and can replace the use of fertilisers.
 
A total of 600 farmers will directly benefit from these structures. Most of these farmers have farmland less than five acres. Besides these, around 550 farmers will be able to reap indirect benefits from these structures. The structures were placed at strategic locations where they would be near the borewells that are used by farmers so that maximum farmers benefit from these.
 
The farmers and village folks of Shekhapur came to know that these structures were being built using donations by people from India and abroad. They expressed their heartfelt gratitude. “We believe that it is the support of such donors and NGOs that we still have the will to fight back. A lot of folks amongst us were thinking of migrating. Some left  but we decided to stay back and do whatever we can to help build these structures,” said one of the village elders.
 
The farmers have already started seeing good results owing to  the structure. Here are some pics of the structures.
A completed ENB in Shekhapur village

An ENB in Pangulgaon village

Farmers contributing by transporting the removed silt to their fields

Farmers putting in their own effort to construct a path to the bunds


The ENB is filled with water after the rainfall
 
 

Kendur is a village struck by drought, but full of people who never give up. With Action for Agricultural Renewal in Maharashtra (AFARM) they constructed 5 cement bunds and dug 7 farm ponds in various location in the village. 

They formed water-user groups and learnt all about efficient management of existing water bodies. They understood how much irrigation was assured and grew onion, brinjal, fenugreek, coriander, spinach and horticulture crops like jamun, guava, pomegranate, mango, chikoo, lemon and custard apple, bringing regular incomes for themselves.

Why I am fundraising?

As Kendur has demonstrated, it is possible to help small and marginal farmers overcome the impacts of climate change through setting up replicable models of drought prevention and climate change adaptation.

AFARM has developed short-term emergency relief plans and long term drought prevention and climate change adaptation plans to be implemented in Beed and Solapur by local network member agencies under the overall management & technical support of AFARM.

AFARM is working on recharging existing local water bodies through de-silting and replenishing. Where necessary, protective bunds will be built to prevent water waste. The infrastructure will be supplemented by training and effective water management resources for the local stakeholders.

AFARM has initiated for working in drought affected Beed and Solapur districts in six Gram Panchayats. 

How will the funds be used?

The funds will be used to de-silt local ponds and repair existing wells to store more water. The project will directly benefit 1,000 farmer families and indirectly benefit the whole community of 4,500 people.

Your contribution will be very crucial in sustaining the livelihoods of these drought victims.

About AFARM

Maharashtra has always had recurrent drought and extreme weather conditions. More than 19,000 villages spread over 190 blocks in 22 districts of Maharashtra state are affected by drought. AFARM was formed in 1969 to respond to this crisis of providing water and agricultural extension services to villages affected due to severe and recurrent droughts in Maharashtra.

AFARM has undertaken variety of programs since inception focusing its work on poor, marginalized (dalits, tribals, small and marginal land holders, people affected by natural disasters and women from these communities. You can learn more about AFARM at http://afarm.org/home.html

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