Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) is executing a project on “Enhancing Climate Resilient through Gender Responsive Agro-Ecological Farming, Provision of Agricultural Tools and Developing Marketing Linkages in Bardo Gewog, Zhemgang” since September 2021. The project is supported by Canada Foundation/Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) with the goal to strengthen community resilience to climate change and contribute to pandemic recovery by promoting environmentally, socially, and ecologically sound agriculture; and the objectives are as follows:
To achieve the above-mentioned goal and objectives of the project, and to impart the benefits to the rural communities, the following activities are initiated in two Chiwogs (sub-blocks/villages) of Langdurbi and Phulabi during the first year of the project.
The project conducted a rapid assessment and mapping of watersheds/springsheds in Langdurbi and Phulabi Chiwogs (project sites) with technical backstopping and in partnership with Zhemgang Forest Division. The rapid assessment was conducted in 39 water sources. The assessment informs the project on the health of watershed/spring sheds in the project area for further conservation interventions. The assessment found out that although no watershed in two Chiwogs is found to be critically degraded, few areas around water sources were found to be disturbed and require necessary intervention to prevent further deterioration.
As a self-help mechanism for improving women’s livelihoods through agriculture, the project established two women/farmers’ groups in Phubali and Langdurbi villages. Phulabi enlisted 18 members consisting of 15 female and 3 male members. Similarly, Langdurbi enlisted 60 members consisting of 44 female and 16 male members respectively. The project also framed a group by-laws/management guideline for day-to-day coordination, management, and information sharing. In addition, with the objective to establish marketing mechanisms for agriculture products, the project with support from Bardo Gewog Agriculture Extension framed a draft marketing plan for the two farmers/women groups.
As part of the capacity building, training on sustainable agriculture and land management was conducted for 19 farmers in Phulabi and 61 farmers in Langdurbi. Of the total 80 participants from two project sites, 58 women participated in the training. The farmers were sensitized to the importance and benefits of practicing sustainable agriculture and land management in a slopy/terrain topography. And to enhance the technical skills, the farmers were given hands-on training on basic land management techniques such as stone bunding using A-frame, a simple method for making contours in the sloppy areas. Other land management techniques included regular stone bunding, check dams and plantation of Napier grass for terracing.
The farmers were sensitized and educated on the importance and benefits of practicing organic agriculture. And to enhance their technical skills, the farmers were provided practical training on preparing liquid manure and organic pesticides using locally available materials, preparing heap compost using dry and green organic matter, soil, and cow dung slurry. The farmers were also taught the techniques of multi/mixed and sister cropping to enhance the annual production and improve soil fertility. Additionally, farmers were also taught the techniques of simple low-cost vegetable seedling production using a mini poly house (plastic and bamboo stocks), easily replicable by the farmers.
And as a part of the above activity and to capacitate the groups to efficiently manage and organize themselves, basic training on book-keeping and stock registration was provided. The training will enable the farmers to keep records of vegetable and dairy products sold to the local vendors and records of the stock received.
To enhance agriculture production, the project has procured facilities such as 4 sets of pre-fabricated Green-house with Arc Poles, 10 sets of Plastic Film for low-cost Green-house, 10 rolls of UV-resistance Green-net, 240 kilograms of mustard seeds, and 12 varieties of vegetable seeds (pole bean, bitter gourd, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Indian chili, tomato, brinjal, onion, bunching onion, coriander, and mustard green) with 110 packets each. The agricultural facilities are for the two groups while vegetable seeds are for the groups and individual households with the objective to produce both for self-consumption and sale.
To promote water-efficient technologies for small-scale water conservation, the project has procured facilities such as 4 sets of Drip Irrigation, 4 sets of Water Sprinkles, 4 numbers of Sintex Tanks (500 liters.), 94 pieces of flexible pipes (30 meters length). The facilities are provided to the two women/farmer’s groups in Phubali and Langdurbi. And as a follow-up action to the watershed and springshed assessment carried out last year, the project has procured essential materials for the protection of at least 2 water sources/springsheds in two project sites. The materials consisted of 10 rolls of barbed wire, around 5 native species of plants, and fencing posts. The protection activities will be initiated in the coming months in collaboration with Zhemgang Forest Division and beneficiary communities.
In the process of activity implementation, the project also benefited partners who were involved in the activities. Engagement of the partners as trainers and resource persons has helped enhance and refresh their professional skills in various fields such as organic agriculture, land management, watersheds/springsheds assessment, and so forth. The activities implemented will also help complement the government’s effort to meet their objective in agriculture enhancement and food sufficiency which has been a priority in the face of pandemics. The activities were initiated between October 2021 to February 2022, and the project will end in February 2023.
Report Compiled by:
Chief, Sustainable Livelihood Division, RSPN