Water scarcity, land degradation and the resultant low agricultural productivity that’s making young farmers averse to taking up agriculture are some of the key issues that will be addressed by a new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project. Indian automobile manufacturing company, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., is working with ICRISAT to address the above issues in Buchinelli village, Telangana, India.
The launch was attended by 150 farmers, who were briefed on the objectives of the project.
The project activities include –
- Integrated water resource management through ex-situ rainwater harvesting (viz. check dams, farm ponds, revival of tanks and re-establishing drainage connectivity), in-situ moisture conservation practices and groundwater recharge system;
- Decentralized wastewater treatment and safe use in agriculture;
- Crop diversification from monocropping of sugarcane to other promising cropping systems with high value crops like vegetables, flowers and pulses (currently, the main rainfed crops are pigeonpea and black gram, while sugarcane is grown in the irrigated areas);
- Soil health mapping;
- Crop and site-specific fertilizer management;
- Introduction of high-yielding improved cultivar seeds;
- Livestock development with high milk-yielding crossbred animals;
- Feed and fodder development;
- Afforestation on hillocks and common land;
- Timely and vigorous technical support to farmers;
- Women empowerment and skill development.
The NGO, Rural Education and Agriculture Development (READ) will partner with the community to form the watershed committee as well as promote the Self-Help Groups for collective action to improve the livelihoods through integrated watershed management approach.
Mahindra & Mahindra will also support custom hiring centers for mechanizing farms to address the issues of labor shortage and cost of cultivation. The main purpose of this collaborative initiative is to improve the livelihood of farmers through increased profits and productivity with science-led interventions.
The project launch was flagged off with the ground-breaking ceremony for a check dam, in the presence of Ms A Madhavi Srilatha, District Agricultural Officer, Sangareddy district, Government of Telangana. Mahindra & Mahindra officials, Mr Suhas Kumbhar, Plant Head – Farms Division and Mr KPN Rao, Head HR & ER, along with Dr Suhas P Wani, Research Program Director – Asia and Theme Leader – ICRISAT Development Center, addressed the participants who attended the launch on 31 May.