Case StudySafbin

To promote Local Food And Nutritional Security through Adaptive Small scale
Farming in four rainfed AES in South Asia in the context of climate change

  • Kitchen Gardens for food and nutritional security of Indian smallholders

  •   | 
  • 14/11/2013

Smallholder farmers often lack sufficient cash income to meet their food and nutritional demands adequately. One way to address this issue is the establishment of kitchen gardens. By directing some family labour power towards the management of a kitchen garden, even with limited land resources a small area around the house can make a difference in the lives of many. Taking local opportunities, preferences and challenges into account, a kitchen garden acts as source that can address food insecurity and bring in self-reliance, sovereignty and dignity.

In Satna district, Madhya Pradesh, India the SAF-BIN project took initiative to address this issue by cooperating with a local smallholder farmer collective (SHFC). The aim was to address food and nutritional security of these smallholder farmers through micro level interventions like the supply of traditional seeds and training farmers on locally available organic fertilizers (compost, fish tonic, matka khad).

Kaushal Prasad Pal (40) is a smallholder farmer in Gubrao Kala village, Satna district, who holds a small plot of 0.4ha which he farms with his family of four. He is one of the active members of the local SHFC group and also acts as its’ secretary. His land is on undulating terrain and depends on rain for cultivation of the only

possible crops: legumes (Arhar, Gram). Since his land is not able to adequately feed his family, Kaushal Pal borrowed 0.2 ha as Adhia Batai from family members.

This is the plot he used for his farmer led field trial on kitchen gardens in cooperation with his SHFC and SAF-BIN project in the rabi of 2014. SAF-BIN project supplied a kitchen garden kit (a variety of 10 different seeds) to establish a kitchen garden. Kaushal Pal and his wife share the management tasks of the kitchen garden and the used organic fertilizers fish tonic (15ml : 15l water) and the nutrient supplement matka khad (2.50g dissolved in 15l water) and applied a the solutions every ten days for 3 weeks.

Results from this trial were promising. During the first season of 2014 Kaushal Pal and his family did not only improve their own food basked but could also sell surplus produce at village level. The money from the sale of 0.3t/ha of radish for 4000 INR could be invested in different seeds (garlic, coriander, tomato, potato, cauliflower) which he continued to cultivate in the kitchen garden in 2015.

This demonstrates that a small intervention in form of a small amount of inputs coupled with providing the necessary information and skills to smallholders can have a significant impact on local food and nutritional security.

“I am satisfied with vegetable cultivation. Now I can provide my children with different vegetables and support my family.” says Kaushal Pal.

fish tonic contains raw fish and jaggery

Matka Khad contains cowdung, cow urine and jaggery

Arhar = Pigeon pea (cajanus cajan)

Black gram = Mungbean (vigna radiata)

Adhia Batai = a local, intra familiar leasing agreement for agricultural land. The price for the lease is given as share of the harvest.

rabi is the winter season

INR =Indian Rupees


Author: Valentine Denis Pankaj, SAF-BIN National Project Coordinator, Caritas India

Editor: Romana Roschinsy, BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna