Mohali Village, India—Farmer Keshav Satpute is the only one in his family of six who earns a wage, eking out a living by cultivating rice in the rainy season.
In 2010, Keshav joined PRASAD Chikitsa’s WADI (Orchard) and 2nd Crop Initiative. Through this program, farmers plant popular fruit trees, like mangos and chikku, which are easy to sell. During the five-year wait until the fruit trees become productive and profitable, the farmers grow ‘2nd Crops’ of vegetables on the same land, which provides both additional food and income for the family.
Along with training in sustainable, eco-friendly farming techniques, Keshav received vegetable seeds and 20 fruit trees from PRASAD, with which to start his orchard or wadi. Keshav has worked hard, cultivating the fruit trees and vegetables on his farm. As an added challenge, Mohali Village faces water shortages, which put his orchard, and his dreams, at risk.
Some creative thinking and hard work by Keshav led to the perfect solution: there are public wells around the area, yet much water from these wells was being wasted. Keshav and his PRASAD Chikitsa mentors devised a plan to save this water from being wasted by digging a pit at Keshav’s farm to collect it. With this system, Keshav has water for his farm, and he protects the environment by reclaiming a precious resource that had been going to waste.
In sharing about his experience, Keshav says, “What I have done in my farm was possible due to the help and guidance of PRASAD Chikitsa. I am happy because I know this is the best investment for my family’s future, as I will get benefit of these tree plantations in future.”
Editor’s note: There are now 23 farmers participating in the WADI and 2nd Crop Initiative. In 2010 alone, they planted 211 fruit trees. With more income, the farmers and their families improve the local economy, and they are not the only beneficiaries.
This project of sustainable horticulture practices, soil and water conservation and environmental awareness benefits the whole community. It offers an alternative to working in the brick factories or leasing farmland to the factories, which have poor working conditions and strip away the topsoil.
The WADI and 2nd Crop Initiative is also reducing outward migration and strengthening women’s contributions to the community and the family.