Community-led Seed Banks Transform Agriculture and Food Security in Tribal Villages of Jharkhand

Community-led Seed Banks Transform Agriculture and Food Security in Tribal Villages of Jharkhand

The story of Kamli Pharin and her community in Bara Kachna village, Jharkhand, highlights the transformative impact of community-led seed banks on agricultural practices and food security.

Setting the Scene

  • Kamli Pharin and her family struggled with food scarcity due to exploitative practices by moneylenders.
  • Community members in tribal villages like Bara Kachna faced similar challenges.
  • The introduction of community-led seed banks in 2019 marked a significant change.

Establishment of Seed Banks

  • Four community-led seed banks were established in hilly districts of Pakur and Godda in mid-2019.
  • These districts are inhabited by the Pahariya community, practicing shifting cultivation.
  • Native varieties of crops like maize, millets, and pulses are cultivated, known for their productivity and resilience to pests and diseases.

Initiatives by Non-profits

  • Traidcraft Exchange, Badlao Foundation, and Sathee collaborated to establish the seed banks.
  • The seed banks currently serve over 1,350 households in 90 villages, managed by women-led committees.
  • Operated under four panchayats: Bara Paktari, Bara Sindari, Kunjbona, and Karma Tarn.

Operations of Seed Banks

  • Members deposit 2.5 kg of indigenous seeds to register with the seed banks.
  • Seeds are also sourced through government programs.
  • Distribution of seeds is managed by committees during the sowing season, with members replenishing stocks after harvests.

Impact on Agriculture and Livelihoods

  • Farmers receive training on natural and organic methods to improve yields.
  • Pharin and Malto experienced significant increases in harvests after switching to native seeds.
  • Pharin’s harvest increased from 30-40 kg to over 50 kg, while Malto’s yield tripled on her 12-hectare land.

Future Prospects

  • Residents are now focused on enhancing crop yields and achieving food self-sufficiency.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. When were the community-led seed banks established in the hilly districts of Pakur and Godda?
    • A) Early 2019
    • B) Mid-2019
    • C) Late 2019
    • D) Early 2020
    • Answer: B) Mid-2019
  2. How many households do the seed banks currently serve in 90 villages?
    • A) Over 1,000 households
    • B) Over 1,500 households
    • C) Over 1,350 households
    • D) Over 2,000 households
    • Answer: C) Over 1,350 households
  3. What is the primary method of cultivation practiced by the Pahariya community?
    • A) Intensive farming
    • B) Shifting cultivation
    • C) Hydroponics
    • D) Urban farming
    • Answer: B) Shifting cultivation
  4. How do members register with the seed banks?
    • A) By paying a fee
    • B) By depositing cash
    • C) By depositing indigenous seeds
    • D) By submitting an application form
    • Answer: C) By depositing indigenous seeds
  5. What is one of the main focuses of the residents after their immediate demands are fulfilled?
    • A) Expanding seed bank operations
    • B) Enhancing crop yields
    • C) Starting new agricultural ventures
    • D) Exporting surplus produce
    • Answer: B) Enhancing crop yields