Homestead Farming Enhanced Income and Conservation of Agro-biodiversity in Tripura

Homestead Farming Enhanced Income and Conservation of Agro-biodiversity in Tripura Only two years ago, Sri Narayan Shukla Das, 45, of village of Mogpuskarini (South Tripura) was at the lowest point of his life. His income as a Rickshaw Puller was irregular and insufficient. Now, however, Narayan’s life has changed dramatically. He is earning a decent livelihood and ensuring food security for his family. Through homestead food production which was demonstrated by Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), South Tripura, Narayan rears poultry, goats and cattle and cultivates number of year-round vegetables, spices, tuber crops and fruit crops in his homestead model farm.

How did this radical change take place in his life?

Narayan got training and farm demonstration from KVK, South Tripura on year-round cultivation of vegetables, vermin-compost and mushroom, pulse and oilseed cultivation, poultry rearing, etc. He established his village model farm at the household with technical assistance of KVK. Initially, KVK provided seeds of vegetables, planting materials of spices, tuber and fruit crops; 15 dual purpose poultry and 2 goats to rear; and one vermin-compost and a jalkund unit for production of on-farm compost and water harvesting. Shri Narayan worked in his garden side by side with household tasks and marketing of farm produce along with his wife.

After successful demonstration of homestead farming system by the KVK, Narayan earns more with a minimum of Rs.5000 per month, through selling vegetables, mushroom, eggs, poultry and other farm produces from his homestead garden. Considering the limited resources of the villages, shrinking average land holdings and also the requirement of in situ conservation of bio-resources, eight field demonstrations were conducted by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, South Tripura for scaling up of existing homestead farms of South Tripura under Rural Innovation Programme of NABARD. Participating farmers were trained on practices of homestead farming through tailor made training modules. Focus was more on building their capacities to adopt the technology in existing farm conditions.

Homestead Farming Enhanced Income and Conservation of Agro-biodiversity in Tripura

Homestead Farm of Narayan Shukla Das at Dudhpushkarini village of South Tripura

Among all homestead farmers of South Tripura, Narayan is the best and most successful farmer in harvesting maximum vegetables, spices and tuber crops besides egg, poultry meat and goat kidling production. Narayan has earned about Rs.81000 per year by utilising just 0.20 ha of his homestead land.

Though Narayan is illiterate, he is still a role model by being a hard worker for homestead farming through this program. He is one of the success stories of the Homestead Food Production Program, which helps other farmers of South Tripura to establish homestead gardens. A number of farmers from distant villages are visiting his farm and learning the system. A group of officials of Banks and other Financials organisations also visited his farm for realising the benefits of homestead farming and its role in bank financing to needy farmers in Tripura state.

Prior to the project, crop and livestock production among the homestead farmers who inhabited the project area were very low.  Production was entirely for subsistence only.  As a result of the demonstration project, the lives of the farmer’s family in the project area have been transformed.  Vegetable and livestock production of homestead farm have increased. In addition, new improved variety of vegetables (okra, cowpeas and cole crops), mushroom, vermin-compost, spices (ginger, chilli), tuber crops (colocasia, E. footyam, discoria) have been introduced in the homestead farming system. Farmers could harvest 1400 eggs, 28 kgs of poultry meat, 6 goat kids, 140 kgs of mushroom, 1700 kgs of vegetables, 448 kgs of tuber and spices crops per unit of homestead farm.  Adding various components to a homestead farm and integrating them has helped small farmers to reap rich harvests. Farmers have continued to realise consistently improved yields and could earned up to Rs. 67705 per year from 0.16 ha land area.

(Source: Programme Coordinator, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Birchandra Manu, South Tripura