Improving Household Food & Nutrition through Diversified Homestead

It was interesting to learn the outcome of my own homestead contributing towards food and nutritional security.”- Lakshman, a smallholder farmer

Given the growing uncertainties in weather and likely unrest in crop production cycles, food production systems, especially in rain-fed areas, need to build food resilience by diversifying the sources of food and income and maintaining homestead gardens so there is a range of supplementary foods for households for year-round food and nutrition security.

The setting up of Homestead Nutrition Gardens in smallholder households emerged as an important recommendation during the program formulation of Smallholder Adaptive Farming and Biodiversity Network (SAFBIN). This was further discussed at the regional level to be undertaken that would minimise risks to food and nutrition security in the face of climate changes with may have the opportunities to gain some income out of it while selling the surplus in the local market. This is one of the key focus areas of SAFBIN to take it forward to secure year-round food and nutrition by involving small farm families to set up and maintain a homestead.

Lakshman, a smallholder farmer from Sasan village of Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh successfully developed a diversified homestead garden (i.e. 12 additional vegetables & fruits- brinjal, tomato, chilli, spinach, cauliflower, carrot, bottle gourd, green beans, fenugreek, french beans, radish, papaya & drums stick stumping) with the help of SAFBIN program. Within 3months of the period, he sold 60-70kgs of his farm produces out of 120Kgs earning about Rs. 300.00 per day basis while Rs. 2100 in a week, Rs. 8400.00 in a month and Rs. 1,00,800.00 per year. Every other day he used to harvest 4-5 varieties of vegetables and sell it in the local market.

Considering his socio-economic condition, it was never easy to come up but with the support provided by SAFBIN in terms of farm inputs and knowledge which helped him to redesign his whole farming system. By doing this initiative, he realised that, apart from the major cultivation, the homestead can play a vital role in their family food and nutrition requirements.

With the help of SAFBIN program, I learned to prepare few botanicals (i.e. Matka khad, vermicompost, fish tonic) and bio-pest repellent (i.e. lamit ark & dasparni ark) out of locally available materials and farm waste. Re-establishing connections among farm components were one of my unique experience for me to do. This is one of its kind to re-look and helped me to re-connect with nature/ natural resources. I also managed to get an irrigation facility under 40% subsidy provision from the local government with help and coordination through SAFBIN program

The kitchen garden is becoming more affordable and accessible in the Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh. An initiative of Community mobilization was organised by the joint venture of Caritas India (SAFBIN) in collaboration with Manav Vikas Seva Sangh (MVSS) to identify and select smallholder farmers in 10 villages of Sagar district. 690 smallholder farmers were selected who converted their dreams to reality to ensure food security and balanced diet for their family.