Helping India’s Smallholder Farmers through Balanced Crop Nutrition, Water Management and Strong Communities
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Helping India’s Smallholder Farmers through Balanced Crop Nutrition, Water Management and Strong Communities

June 09, 2015   |   ShareThis

Imagine you’re a farmer in rural India. You work on less than an acre of land, and your soil lacks the nutrients needed to grow a successful crop. Water is scarce outside of the monsoon season, when torrential rainfall can damage crops and wash away valuable soil and nutrients. You don’t have regular access to the right fertilizers, and you lack the agronomic training to maximize your yields. Your family struggles with having enough to eat.

The Mosaic Villages Project in India

In recognition of the International Year of Soils, which is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we celebrate Mosaic’s commitment to The Mosaic Villages Project which has worked with partners in India, Guatemala and Africa.

In India, for example, The Mosaic Company Foundation recently renewed a grant enabling our implementing partner, the Sehgal Foundation, to continue its work with the “Krishi Jyoti,” or “enlightened agriculture,” program which lifts smallholder farmers out of poverty through investment in agricultural development, water management and community initiatives.

”We value our long-term partnership with the Sehgal Foundation, which, through the Krishi Jyoti program, is helping The Mosaic Villages Project make a difference in the lives of smallholder famers and their families in India,” said Rick McLellan, Board Member, The Mosaic Company Foundation. “Through fertilizer loans, agronomic training and community support initiatives, participating farmers are increasing their crop yields by up to 35 percent over traditional practices, and selling the surplus at market.”

Improved Crop Yields Lead to Expansion in 36 Villages

The Mosaic Villages Project in India began in 2008, in just a handful of rural villages. The Krishi Jyoti program first met with the challenge of gaining villagers’ trust, as many communities are isolated and have little contact with the outside world. But, with the help of local project teams—as well as the dramatic yield gains achieved by participating farmers—The Mosaic Villages Project gained momentum.

The Mosaic Villages Project in India has reached several villages in the States of Rajasthan and Haryana, with nine new villages scheduled to be added in 2015.  Participating farmers have seen significant increases in crop yields:

  • 29% for millet
  • 34% for wheat
  • 21% for mustard
  • 35% for onion

At a recent agricultural leadership summit held in Gurgaon, employees of Mosaic India and the Sehgal Foundation team hosted a booth dedicated to raising awareness of the Krishi Jyoti program. More than 5,000 farmers, including 100 participants of Krishi Jyoti , visited the booth, and the teams reported an “overwhelming response” from farmers for the project, with many inquiries about bringing it to new areas of Haryana, India.

Check Dams Capture and Conserve Rainwater for Agricultural and Community Benefit

In India, water is a critical issue—both for farmers growing crops as well as the surrounding communities. Seasonal monsoons alternate with long, dry periods, making it difficult to maintain an adequate groundwater supply. By constructing check dams, rainwater is captured and stored—which recharges groundwater levels and can be used for irrigation.

The Mosaic Villages Project funded and managed the construction of new check dams, in four villages. These dams have benefitted tens of thousands of people, and have a total reservoir capacity of over 14 million gallons.

Project leaders report several benefits from the check dams:

  • Rise in groundwater levels
  • Improved water availability in tube wells
  • Improved soil moisture content
  • Less soil erosion
  • Reduced land degradation
  • Improved groundwater quality

School Renovation Projects Help Strengthen Community

When smallholder farmers improve yields enough to feed their families and sell their surplus crops, the whole community benefits—from better nutrition and improved water availability, to improvements in the local education system. The Mosaic Villages Project funded renovations to schools in four villages.

Improvements included general repairs, sanitation additions (with separate facilities for boys and girls), safe drinking water systems, and a school kitchen. The project has benefited approximately 1,250 students in total, and the Government Middle School in Dungran Shahzadpur won two recent awards related to the improvements.