A Sustainable Development Model in Kharamal Village, Odisha
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Adaptation to sustainable model with traditional intervention at community level.


In India, farming and its allied sectors are directly or indirectly dependent upon Monsoon. Past decade due to change in climate rainfall has been very unpredictable, irregular rainfall pattern or short spells of precipitation resulting into frequent floods and droughts. This is also a reason behind migration.

In response to these vulnerable conditions Water Initiative Odisha’s (WIO) and Manav Adhikar Seva Samiti (MASS) introduced a comprehensive, sustainable model of development like investment in agriculture, animal husbandry, kitchen gardens, vegetable farming and a grain bank which has led to a visible change in the lives of the families living in an Kharamal, in one of Orissa’s backward districts in India.

Kharamal is a forested village at the foothills of Gandhamardan hills in Paikmal Block of Bargarh district in Orissa. The village houses majority are tribal. Being poor and marginalized it makes them more vulnerable. People have succeeded in fighting against the migration trend included drought and water scarcity through successful integration of ecological interventions such as water harvesting, forest conservation and eco- agriculture. Just in previous year with large scale awareness and concerted community action, the village is emerging as a green spot in brown belt.  Water Initiative Odisha’s (WIO) and member organisation MASS intervention started with mobilizing farmers for forming disaster management committee and starts saving seeds and improved eco mix and multi crop agriculture pattern for some of their income.

About the coping and adaptation strategy

On this cause, Water Initiative Odisha’s (WIO) and Manav Adhikar Seva Samiti (MASS) repaired damage wells and assured that water is sufficient to manage a family. Then they developed a Panighera and check the stream water to support wells regular water availability. In a collective movement by the members supplemented by external support from WIO and MASS to the Disaster Mitigation Committee at the village level created a small pool copying status which met the immediate benefit of the people. People borrowed seeds from the seed bank. With the seed support from WIO and MASS, people with paddy also started kitchen garden in 2005 and did vegetable farming. With the spiralling vegetable price in the country, people in this village not only has got a good return by selling the vegetable in the market but also enriched their daily diet. Many who adopted this model of eco multi and mix kitchen garden has shown how the model has given away rich harvest and is financially remunerative with almost a negligible investment in a small patch of land. Seeing this successful model, many others joined this adopted this and are now benefitting sustainable reaps. Also, knowing the effects of pesticides farmers started using organic manures made by traditional formulation to save his crops against pest. This organic manure that they use in his field has shown its positive impact. The village has also a Disaster Mitigation Committee (DMC) which is a farmer committee where they contribute for the welfare of the village on farming, healthcare etc. Government has also started extending their support towards farmers.

How it reduces climate risk or vulnerability? What co-benefits it generates?

Migration was a major concern, so much so that the agriculture was failing for this cause. In this area, drought has become a regular phenomenon forcing people to migrate out for most of the year. Flash flood, high heat and deforestation are measure for hazardless closed cultivable lands and harvested forest for livelihood. The factors like poor soil condition, high land degradation, high erosion of soil, this disparity in fertilizer management and unbounded land are affect the production which directly linked with the low-income level of the poor and farmer.

With intervention of new sustainable method by WIO and MASS, all these problems are now being adopted with sustainable and traditional practices. A comprehensive, sustainable model of development like investment in agriculture, animal husbandry, kitchen gardens, vegetable farming and a grain bank has led to a visible change in the lives of the families. Farmers land were restored from drought. Livelihood gained by sustainable crop production. De-forested land turned into greener spaces. As livelihood options started reaping, migration was reduced. In an area, which is known as perennially drought prone and where desertification has been gripping the land, this initiative has proved successful in not only restoring land, livelihood and water but also fight desertification.

How was it made possible? Strategic Intervention

Soil and water conservation methods and crop diversification are indispensable. Renovation and conservation of water bodies and the possible solution for live saving irrigation. Forest development and multipurpose plants can a play vital role in reducing the soil erosion.  Use in high eco-friendly mix yielding varieties, crop diversification and use the residual moisture for legumes.

Women’s participation was very encouraging. They have been the most active stakeholder.

Appreciation, Challenges and way forward

Climate change is causing global warming with increase in heat due to rise in temperature. Increasing deforestation, huge amount of use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides and agricultural instruments are one of the main reasons to return traditional. The substantial increase in the number of anti-eco-friendly activities, decrease of domestic animals, and no rain water storage technology   is the major culprit of climate change.  Tribal people are suffering great ecological changes due to the increasing heat, decreasing rainfall and other such catastrophes of climate change. In that situation, it is the people living in the rural areas whose livelihood and day to day activities have changed considerably due to the direct effect of the changing conditions. It also addresses the changing cropping patterns, the changing land type and soil conditions, the changing health conditions of the people as well as the livestock.

Traditional water harvesting practices, if revived suitably, can be best adaptation methods. It has high sustainability potential as it is completely participatory and based on local knowledge, practices and participation with very low external inputs.

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The case studies compendium research and coordination was supported with funding and technical input by Oxfam through its Asia Resilience Hub.

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