In 07 of its LRPs, AAPk is currently working with 88 farmer groups out of which 27 (farmer) groups have already adopted climate resilient sustainable agricultural (CRSA) practices.
Over the years, the farmers have been trained in non-use of fertilizer(s), compost making, preservation and use of local seeds, seed banks, soil fertility, construction of fermenters, water reservoirs and kitchen gardening.
“I receive huge benefit from CRSA training provided by ActionAid. This initiative helped me open my shop. I started selling organic vegetables.
It did not take long to establish my business. I am happy that I own an alternate source of living which helps me live a dignified life”, says Abdul Qudir from Shahdadkot, Sindh.
AAPk also supported these farmer groups to develop/adopt CRSA related practices and build sustainable alternatives. Local agricultural practices were strengthened to increase yield and income aimed at improving household food security in particular.
“We use vegetables either for our own consumption or sell the surplus in the market. The initiative has provided food security to my family. Our family income has more than doubled. Now I do not feel dependent on my husband for livelihood”, says Rukhsana from Mardan, a mother of five children including a daughter.
In fact, farmers adopting sustainable agriculture practices have found it not only economically viable and sustainable option but also a preference in many ways. Adaptation to local seeds has created a feeling of empowerment among small-scale farmers in general and women farmers in particular.
Another model adopted by ActionAid is to economically empower the rural women through utilization of their existing resources and build their capacity in proper record keeping of a business and collective marketing.
“We approach higher markets of Rawalpindi. We pack vegetables in 10 kg boxes and the loader gets Rs. 25,000 to 30,000 to carry 100 boxes from UC to Mansehra market.
The average income of each woman farmer becomes Rs.25000/- to Rs.37000 for each season. Now I feel comparatively less dependent on others.
Participation in informal women’s groups increases the likelihood that women will join formal marketing groups and reinforces the benefits they derive”, says 39 years old Farzana from Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtun Khawa (KPK).
An advocacy campaign at local level was launched to inspire small holder famers especially women, like minded organizations, and existing networks (PKI and SAAG), policy makers, parliamentarians and the government departments (irrigation, water management and livestock) to adopt and replicate CRSA alternate models.
Because of the regular engagement with government officials, one of the provincial governments has adopted our models of seed banks, seed fermenters and model kitchen gardening plots thus replacing the conventional models.
The (developed) alternative models are low cost and climate resilient. The issue of high price for agricultural inputs is being addressed through such alternate models.