To help improve irrigation we’re installing lift irrigation systems that use pipes and pumps to get water to families who live uphill from their water source. We’re installing farm ponds that trap and hold the monsoon waters. And we’re training the community to manage these water systems after we are gone.
We’re also helping farmers learn more efficient ways to plant their wheat and rice crops. Traditionally, they’d scatter seeds freely around their field, a method requiring lots of seeds and often led to overcrowding of seedlings and limiting crop yields.
Instead, Teresa, Joseph and other farmers have learned about a planting process called Systematic Rice or Wheat Intensification (SRI/SWI), where they first plant rice and wheat in a nursery-style environment. Once crops start to grow they transfer them to larger areas where the roots have the room and nutrients to grow and yield more — about 30 percent more, in fact!
In Bihar, LWR also focuses on supporting women, who do much of the farming but lack critical resources to build stable futures. Through this project, LWR is establishing 65 women’s self-help groups that will provide financial education and access to better seeds and other agricultural supplies.
Now Teresa and Joseph can feed their family better throughout the year and can even afford to send their two young daughters to school!
And from the looks of their farm, hope springs eternal. Teresa says, “For the last whole decade I have never seen these fields so full of greenery. I hope in the future every land in my village is so evergreen.”
Nikki Massie is LWR’s Staff Writer.
Lutheran World Relief
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Baltimore, Maryland 21230 USA
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