In Thar Desert, where levels of hunger and food insecurity are very high impacting millions of people living under poverty, GRAVIS has made very sincere efforts to mitigate poverty and hunger.
Construction of khadins (farming dykes) -It is runoff based farming system constructed for an individual family or for group of farmers. Khadins help in moisture retention in the farming lands even when the monsoon rains are as low as 50 mm in a year. As a result, the crop yield of farmers, dependent on rains, increases significantly. Till date, GRAVIS has constructed over 5,374 khadins benefitingover 10,000 farming households.
Arid Horticulture Units (AHUs) -AHUs are small, household level units that are used for cultivation of fruits and vegetables crops irrigated by wastewater from domestic use. We set up these units of about 20 fruit plants and vegetable crops. Organic manure is used for growth and pitchers underground are planted to irrigate the plants roots constantly. Till date, 4,251 AHUs have been set up by GRAVIS.
Community Seed Banks (CSBs)
In order to sow crops after arrival of monsoon rains (which is very unpredictable), it is extremely important to have good quality of seeds available within the community. Many farmers in Thar struggle as the seeds are too far from them in urban markets and are too inexpensive. GRAVIS has led the concept of forming Community Seed Banks in many of its target villages. These CSNs are managed by Self Help Groups 9SHGs) of women who acquire seeds from local farmers at low costs. A total of 322 CSBs have been set up till date.
Pastures -Fodder security and food security have extremely important inter-relationship. Animal husbandry is a crucial mainstay of desert economy. GRAVIS has set up 72 pastures till date benefitingnearly 10 million cattle.
Taankas (drinking water storage tanks) -A taanka is underground rainwater harvesting structures that stores water for household needs. In Thar, water scarcity is a major challenge and we believe that without drinking water security, achieving food security and good health is not possible. A total of 6,869 taankas have been constructed.
GRAVIS’ interventions on food security have impacted the lives of over 1.3 million people. Our work has helped in improving community health and in poverty reduction. This has been possible with our innovative yet community based approach focused on enhancing food security.