Parewajal village is in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh. Here farmer landholdings are small and owing to various factors including lack of electricity and pump availability water supply is erratic. This leads to dependence on rains and problems of crop failure and consequent migration to city slums or resort to local usurious moneylenders.
My effort are towards, helping small farmers overcome the barrier of accessing water for irrigation by promoting treadle pump which is especially suitable for remunerative crops like vegetables, spices and medicinal plants. Water table in this area is reasonably high.
Our farmers meet assured the benefits of treadle pump, low maintenance and installation support. Many farmers were highly interested however treadle pump is a big investment for these smallest of farmers. So alongside enjoying school, I worked towards raising funds.
The Sitapur district in Uttar Pradesh has about 600,000 households and of this about 90% is rural. Sitapur further has six blocks and one of the blocks is called Sidhauli. Within the Sidhauli block are about 79,000 households of which 96% is rural population. For my project I chose a small village named Parewajal with just about 250 households because here erratic rain patterns and weather conditions have had a very negative impact on farmers of Parewajal.
Small farmers in the village do not own any irrigation devices because irrigation devices available in the market are diesel pumps, which are too expensive for these farmers to afford. Hence, small farmers hire these diesel pumps locally to irrigate their land. Farmers in Parewajal face another challenge, which is the absence of individual water source. Since each farmer does not have an independent water source they end up hiring a diesel pump and then conveying water up to 100 feet from the water source to their field. This increases hiring costs, as they have to hire a conveying pipe as well. Most of the small farmers are unable to afford high rentals and therefore migrate to cities in search of work.
My visit to the Parewajal village families confirmed that high number of men have migrated to cities of Lucknow or Kanpur and are working as daily wage earners earning between INR 150-180/ day. However there are many days when they do not get an opportunity to work and therefore no income is generated that day. Overall, despite the hard work they are unable to manage a secured consistent earning and therefore sustenance for self and family is a challenge. Back home, women and children take responsibility of managing the land and engaging in agriculture if possible. Mounting loans for survival force women to engage as daily wage earners as well and children are unable to study in schools and mostly drop out.