Joda, December 22, 2020: Vegetable farming has been one of the primary occupations for several locals residing in the villages surrounding Katamati iron ore mine in Keonjhar district of Odisha. One of the most important things in vegetable farming is the technique and the quality of seeds used. To assist these local farmers in improving the quality of their produce and to boost their income, Tata Steel Foundation has been spearheading several initiatives. In the last two years, over 860 households and more than 85 SHGs (Self Help Groups) have benefited through these interventions.
By doing thorough research and analysis, members of Tata Steel Foundation have identified the right techniques and resources for boosting the agricultural produce in this region. Training local famers on topics such as organic farming, organic manure, use of insecticides, and by providing high quality seeds for vegetable cultivation has been the core of these interventions by Tata Steel Foundation.
Ms Malti Mahanta from Kuldum village and an SHG member has been able to support her family of 4 through mushroom cultivation and kitchen gardening alone. She says, “Over the last few years, I have received technical guidance as well as good quality seeds from Tata Steel Foundation. Vegetable farming has several benefits. You get fresh vegetables throughout the year and can also make money by selling the excess produce. last year, I could earn more than Rs. 30,000 by selling the excess produce.” Farmers from Kuldum, Mahadevnasa, Jamkundiya, Murgabera, Putugaon and other villages surrounding the Katamati iron ore mine have benefitted though mushroom cultivation.
So far, in this fiscal year, over 600 farmers have already been provided the resources to improve their vegetable produce while 53 SHG members have undertaken mushroom cultivation. Improving productivity and crop yield, enhancing dry land farming and irrigation facilities, developing wasteland and enhancing capability of the community through skill-based trainings in farming techniques have been the prime objectives of these livelihood interventions by Tata Steel Foundation to help create sustainable livelihood for farmers in villages around Katamati.