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Agriculture & Food Security

Helping Families Become Income & Food Secure

In the Tansa Valley, most households are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, and the majority are subsistence or smallholder farmers who cultivate rice.

But rice alone does not provide adequate nutrition, and often, the income from a little surplus rice and straw sold at the market is not enough to make a difference. Additionally, the growing season is limited by weather, leaving farmers vulnerable. Many are forced to leave their homes and families in search of work in nearby cities or Mumbai to ensure family financial and food security.

The hunger and poverty rates in India are high, especially in rural areas where a majority of the population lives; a third of them live in poverty. To give you an idea, 24% of the world’s hungry live in India: 195.9 million, or 14.5%, are malnourished, including nearly 45% of children under age 5. In the Tansa Valley, malnutrition and poverty rates are higher.

PRASAD launched the Agriculture Program to promote diversified, year-round sustainable agriculture; to increase the availability of eco-friendly jobs and to help families overcome poverty and become self-reliant and self-sustaining with reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food.

Organic Farming

Since 2012, PRASAD Chikitsa has focused on organic farming and has committed to helping farmers convert to organic farming techniques. PRASAD educates farmers on the benefits of organic versus synthetic inputs, which reduces farming costs and increases crop output quality, on how to conserve water, and provides training and support to implement year-round farming techniques.

Earning a sustainable income using these techniques and diversifying crops for year-round yields, many families have turned their lives around and improved their access to food and other resources. At an average of $900 a year, income of families in the program is about 1.5 times the average smallholder farmer income in the Tansa Valley.

PRASAD Chikitsa has also established an Indigenous Seed Bank to revive and conserve local plants that have nutritional and medicinal properties. The seeds, which also reduce the cost of farming, are popular with our farmers. 

Orchard (WADI) Project, Second Crop Initiative

Orchards and second crops provide seasonally staggered and sustainable sources of income, as well as helping to maximize utilization of all available land, including hillsides and valleys – a perfect complement to rice cultivation, which has very different growing needs, processes and seasons.

With PRASAD Chikitsa’s support, farmers have planted mango, guava and cashew trees, among others – popular easy-to-sell produce. Amidst the trees, they also plant cash crops such as flowers like jasmine, marigold and golden Champa. 

The demand for flowers is very high throughout the year because it is traditional to offer flowers to the Deity in temples, and Ganeshpuri and the surrounding area are well-known for spiritual / religious tourism. Flowers usually produce within a year of planting; farmers sell the loose flowers and garlands in local markets, significantly increasing their incomes.

Kitchen Gardens

A plot of land as small as 1,000 sq ft can change a family’s life. Kitchen Gardens are small gardens big enough to help diversify a family’s diet with nutritious vegetables and provide a surplus to sell at market, generating income to reinvest in their farms and purchase protein-rich foods to supplement their diets, increasing family food security.

Generally cultivated by women, PRASAD Chikitsa provides technical training on land preparation, planting and cultivation, seed conservation and how to make organic pesticide and fertilizers, as well as monthly visits for the first year to ensure success.  Women also plant flowers and spice, and make garlands and spice mixes, “value-add products,” to sell at market.


Inspiring stories from PRASAD's Farming and Food Security programs.

A seed planted.
A seed for a better future!

Farming is the main livelihood for many people in the Tansa Valley. Help us plant seeds and help families across the region have a better life.