Convergence under MGNREGS proves silverline

Birakishore Naik livesin the Asanabani village,Ghatagaon Block of Keonjhar district which is 24 KM away from kendujhar district. He owns 1.1 acres of farm land. This in 2011 gave him a rice harvest of only 5 quintals. Last year, he harvested 12 quintals. “I am very thankful to the rain water management system, which have changed my economic condition as well as my land development! My soil quality has improved and it developed its fertility potential and I am very happy to see 230% rise in productivity. In November 2017, I got 12 quintal paddy in anacre of land where I used to get only 5 quintals till 2014. Beyond the paddy, I am even growing good quality mustard, Tomato, Brinjal which fetches me higher income nowadays.” Birakishore Naik, a tribal farmer, in Asanabani Village of Keonjhar, Odisha, has seen a significant rise in productivity after the construction of the water harvesting system — an effective use of MGNREGA by Government of Odisha. Through a simple rain water management structure under MGNREGA increased the production dramatically during 2013. This is an elevated region. Elevated regions are cultivated by poor farmers, at the same time the low areas where the rainfall collects, is used by the richer farmers. But simple engineering has changed this dynamic to a more balanced equation towards development. Earlier, the village was severely affected by frequent flash floods during the rains. The speedy water run-off damaged agricultural fields and the fertility of the soil, which is the most crucial thing for agricultural production, was often washed away. However, with the concept of rain water management — the technique of controlling, conserving and effectively utilising total precipitation — the whole village has become drought free and the water table has risen to enable the harvest of bumper “Rabi” crops (winter crops like wheat, mustard and mung) since 2014. Almost the entire village, 117 farmer has seen a doubling of the produce from their farms, and even the nearby forests which were drying up have gone green. Water bodies that could earlier hold rainwater for only 30 minutes, can now keep it for 10 hours due to the erection of diversion bunds — allowing the infiltration of water into the soil such that The underground pore spaces store water for future use, conserving at least 750 mm of rainfall — a whopping 50–60% of the total rainfall.With the erection of diversion bunds for better water management, the rainwater can be held for 10 hours as against 30 minutes — allowing water infiltration into the field for better crop production Effective implementation of MGNREGA enhanced the livelihood of Mr Birakishore by providing additional food grains for last 4 years from Paddy horse gram, mustard and vegetables by converting fallow land to fertile land. He sold Paddy of Rs 7500-9000 every year for last 3 years and the money is being invested in child education and household expenditure. He also worked 183 days in MGNREGA in last four years which gave him additional income of 34,568/- as wage. He got one rural house under FRA and could able to complete with the additional amount he got from MGNREGA. This is one of the success story of Birakishore out of 117 farmers who got benefit from the MGNREGA

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