Farmers of Kashipur region in Odisha revived traditional practices to deal with ecological ruin and malnutrition
GROWING CROPS had never been easy in Kashipur. Farmers practised shifting cultivation, depending on rains to produce whatever little was possible on the rocky slopes. But with onslaught of bauxite mining, large scale felling of forest trees and changing weather patterns, the going has got tougher.
The region in Odisha’s Raygada district has always been in news for wrong reasons. More than 50 starvation deaths were reported from this area in 1986-87, which forced the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to pay a visit along with his wife Sonia Gandhi. He made loads of promises to the people of Kashipur but over the years, the situation has only worsened. There were 21 alleged starvation deaths reported from the region in 2001 July-August. However, the government blamed it on food poisoning. Now the block has over 700 children with symptoms of malnutrition. It suggests that various government programmes haven’t done well in ensuring food security.
But thanks to women of this area, the situation has started to change for better. Agriculture has been transformed from an unreliable livelihood option to a viable economic activity as farmers started working in unison with nature. Kashipur is a sub-tropical hilly and forested region inhabited by both tribal and non-tribal communities who are primarily agrarian. Read the full story @ GOI Monitor