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Key Achievements

 

Research or Development Outcome

 One of the important accomplishments of MSSRF’s programme on food security is the adoption of a holistic definition of the concept of food security that was derived by the FAO:  “all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”[1]  and in popularising this holistic concept by adopting the same in the five research reports that have been published so far. These Reports serve as important research and policy documents providing specific recommendations for food security policy and a hunger-free India.

Various community based interventions are being implemented with an aim to enhance household food security. Major outcomes are as follows:

 

 Vidarbha, Maharashtra

  • A total of 1285 women farmer households out of 3265 (about 40 per cent) have kitchen gardens in their homestead land, significantly improving their access to fresh vegetables and fruits;
  • In the cash crop growing cotton tract of Vidarbha, 664 women farmers have adopted mixed cropping (sesame, green gram, black gram, jowar, pigeon pea, cow pea where cotton or soyabean is the main crop) that ensures their household food security;
  • 3000 women farmers have received training on grass root institution building, sustainable agriculture and household food security which provides scope for strengthening their existing livelihoods;
  • In the Gram Sabhas conducted in 2014, in 9 villages, members (of MKSP) have raised  major issues pertaining to construction of toilets (resolutions have been passed by gram sabha), garbage management, drinking water, liquor sale, ration shop, MGNREGS etc. These issues undoubtedly impact their household food security by addressing non-food factors such as better sanitation as well as the purchasing power through MGNREGA.
  • In the local body election conducted in March 2014, 3 members (of MKSP) have been elected as Sarpanch while 25 members(of MKSP) have been elected as members of Gram Panchayats who have the potential to address the food security concerns in their villages, within the provisions available in the Panchayati Raj system. 
  • 100 members (of MKSP) have been trained as Community Resource Persons and are capable of training others in the area of institution building, sustainable agriculture and food security.
  • In 2012-13, three farm machinery hiring centre were established across 3 villages. An analysis of the user data clearly indicate the useful role played by these centres in procuring employment for the landless and in ensuring timely availability of implements for the landed.

 

Koraput, Odisha

  • 30 community food grain banks (CFB) have been set up since the year 2000, across 30 hamlets. On an average, about 1260 households have directly benefited from the community food grain bank initiative each year.

 

Community Hunger Fighters (CHFs):

The primary focus of the project was to impart nutrition literacy, sensitize about socio economic factors that affect nutritional status and provide information about schemes and entitlements pertaining to food and nutrition to the community at large and energise them for action, through a selected group of trained community representatives. Since its inception in 2011 there are evidences that the project has been instrumental in stimulating people for action. A few examples are:

  • There is increased participation in village and Gram Sabha meetings by men and women
  • Some CHFs have stood for Panchayat elections and become ward members
  • The 18 project villages have formed an action plan for demanding individual as well as collective entitlements. About 500 households have applied for varied agricultural entitlements to the Government.
  • Several of these demands have seen the light of day. With regard to individual entitlements twenty eight farm ponds and 15 dug wells have been sanctioned in nine villages under Lima and Banuaguda Panchayats. Two pump sets purchased and seven bore-wells dug in (Banuaguda (New), Banuaguda (Old) and Bhatiguda. Five families from Banuaguda village got agriculture subsidy loan of Rs. 20000/- each from the UGB bank.
  • With regard to collective entitlements, two tube wells have been dug at Lachnaguda and Dumuriguda.  Two piped water supply projects have been sanctioned under solar & Swajaldhara schemes respectively.  A piped water supply construction work is under progress at Banuaguda.

 

Home Gardens

  • The baseline survey of home gardens in 2010 in three villages of Kundra Block showed that the culture of maintaining home gardens existed among the communities, but there was scope for improving the diversity of crops rich in micronutrients. Since then mass communication strategies were adopted to generate awareness and participatory micro planning was done regarding the type of vegetables to be grown. Seeds and saplings were given to individual households. Capacity building was undertaken on package of practices to be adopted and fruit trees and aroids were incorporated.
  • In 2012 the number of households cultivating home gardens had increased from 147 to 274. The diversity of crops had increased from 31 to 46. The sustainability of the intervention could be discerned from the fact that households preserve their own seeds and do not depend on outside support for the next cropping cycle.

 

Participatory research in reducing undernutrition (0-3 years):

  • The participatory research for reducing undernutrition undertakes activities to address two major issues that affect nutritional status, namely episodes of illnesses and food intake of children. Since 2009, the incidence of RTI and scabies have declined and not a single case has been reported in 2013. There has also been a reduction in the episodes of diarrhoea. It is yet to be seen if the observed decline would be sustainable over a period of time.  There has been an improvement in the dietary diversity of children between 7 – 36 months when compared to 2012. In January 2012, 43 per cent of children were fed with four varieties of food groups and this percentage gradually increased with about 65 per cent of children being fed with four food groups in December 2012.   In December 2013 it was found that nearly 79% of children between 7 – 36 months were being fed with four food groups.  The diets consist of rice, ragi gruel, dhal, green leafy vegetables, mashed potatoes, egg, chicken gravy and meat (once a week). 
  • However improvement in nutritional status has been marginal, with about a 10% decline in the under nutrition status. The challenges perceived are increasing the quantitative intake of food of young children and improving its energy density.  

 

Policy Influence

MKSP, a small initiative started in Vidarbha, has got national recognition with Government of India launching a national programme under the same title, Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana and making special provision in the union budget of 2010-11 for expanding this programme on a national scale. MKSP has become a sub component of the National Rural Livelihood Mission.

 

Replication by Different Stakeholders

Community Food Grain bank is an initiative that has been replicated by other NGOs. For instance, LEPRA Society ,an NGO, has replicated the CFB model in 200 villages in Koraput District. Another NGO named PRASTUTEE has replicated CFB model in 15 remote villages in Koraput District. MSSRF provides technical guidance and acts as a resource agency for these two NGOs for their CFB related activities.

 

Stories of Change or Transformation

 Please refer to the following;

  1. M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. 2014. Reflections of Women Farmers: Programme for the Empowerment of Women Farmers (Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana) Vidarbha. MSSRF, Chennai.
  2. Crisis to Confidence: A Film on MKSP, 2011
  3. Community Hunger Fighters (in English), 2013

 

[1]Derived by FAO in the Rome Declaration on World Food Security in 1996