SUSTAINABLE ECOLOGY THROUGH ENVIRONMENT REGENERATION

Regeneration of the environment is carried out through careful soil conservation, water harvesting and management, resource mobilisation, common property management, and appropriate technological inputs. Training of village youth in various environmental programs and actions has lead to the creation of two hundred local Haryali Samities (Greening Societies) in 120 villages. While their progress is monitored regularly by PIDT staff, these samities function independently, dedicated to maintaining sustainable ecosystems.

Propagation and sale of foot pedal pumps
Poor farmers are hardly able to use electric or diesel pumps due to their high initial and recurring costs. Lower technology pedal pumps, which are still effective in reducing the cost of irrigation, are therefore sold to farmers. The pumps are also hired out by the owners to their neighbours, generating additional economy. PIDT has initiated training specifically for women in their use, raising the women’s status in the household and society, as they are able to generate income by providing a needed service. The pumps are also being used for household purposes to conserve short supply and ensure access to safe drinking water. Foot pedal pumps are one component of eco-friendly technologies development including blue flame cake stoves and solar dryers.

Plantation
Aforestation is a long term goal pursued by community managed forest protection and individually managed plantation in private backyards. PIDT assists in making desired plants and seeds from different nurseries available and is now shifting from distribution to sales. This strategy has paid rich dividends in terms of the people’s consciousness as well as plant survival. Thevillagers have also begun to understand the commercial significance of regenerating the environment. They have started planting Bamboo, Shisam, Jack fruit, Mango, Papaya, Banana and many other species, which are now grown in abundance and find good market.Plantation has helped in soil conservation and water retention. Thousands of saplings are planted every year by the villagers on their own initiative in the hinterland of PIDT’s field area. The greening of these formerly barren lands is an observable testimony to the success of this effort.Collection of indigenous seed varieties Seed is one of the critical problems of the marginalized farmers. The high yielding seeds that they buy cannot be maintained for a second planting and so each time they plant a crop they have to buy the seeds again. Due to their hand to mouth existence they often have to borrow money to buy the seeds at high rates of interest. The high yielding varieties also need fertilizers and pesticides, for which they again have to borrow money. Higher yields do not compensate for the loss. Indigenous varieties of seeds are being collected by a PIDT cadre and propagated to provide a sustainable alternative. In one year itself, 18 new varieties of rice have been collected and are being multiplied for distribution and sale to the farmers.

Bio-fertilizer introduction and promotion
Knowledge of bio-fertilizers, which was an indigenous science, has all but disappeared, and their reintroduction requires demonstration, ducation, availability and marketability. PIDT has reintroduced green fertilization using blue-green algae, dhaincha, compost, vermiculture and commercial bio-fertilizers to stimulate growth of indigenous crop varieties. Farmers are encouraged to buy these diverse eco-friendly products and compare the commercial significance of indigenous organic produce to previous outputs. Thus the fertilizers are sold to farmers rather than being freely distributed, which ensures careful usage and ownership of the process of analysis and adoption. Indigenous organically grown grain fetches a good bargain in the health food market, which PIDT is helping expand through its Sanhati Bipani (marketing outlet).

MDG #7. Ensure environmental sustainability
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