~ Paul Alaga Rasan, Project Director
The Sivagangai District of Tamil Nadu is located in southern India, a rural area with low rainfall. The majority of the population is dalit (untouchables) who live in modest conditions and work as farmers on their small land holdings.
The Foundation of Rural Development (FORD) Trust, a community-based organization, has been working in this area since 2002 and is dedicated to empowering individuals in these culturally conservative communities to address issues of social marginalization, economic challenges and low educational levels.
Together with the FORD Trust, we work in nine communities to help farmers improve their agricultural techniques. With changes in the weather patterns and climatic events, farmers who rely on the regular monsoon seasons are seeing less rainfall. These rural agricultural communities face new difficulties for survival, forcing them to migrate for labor. The purpose of this project is to reintroduce millet and promote environmental friendly agricultural activities to improve the nutrition for families and protect natural resources. Millet cultivation was once popular in the area with regular success and has been identified as a viable, nutritious crop.
- Promote minor millets on land of 180 small and marginal farmers on 90 acres
- Provide skill trainings for rural women and girls as an alternative method of livelihood opportunities
- Train farmers in value-addition activities post-harvest