Inauguration of Irrigation Structure and State-level Women Vegetable Growers Conference in Odhisa, India

On 26th November a 1,8 kilometer long diversion based irrigation structure was inaugurated, irrigating unutilized farm land and enabling drinking water to marginalized communities. In Bhubaneshwar a high level state conference on women vegetable grower cooperatives was held.

The diversion based irrigation structure (IDB) fetches unutilized clean water from perennial streams in a forest area, collects it in large tanks and distributes it to the farm lands & villages at a lower level. The people of Mundakanga village in Odisha have successfully constructed the IDB structure in a joint effort and celebrated their access to clean water together with the visiting team of AWO International and it’s implementing partner MADHYAM Foundation. The cooperation project supported construction materials, provided technical support whereas the villagers offered free labor support for digging the pipe lines and of the intake/ reservoir tanks.

Incoming Head Representative of AWO International, Ines Budarick, inaugurated the structure that has a length of 1800 meters, 12 irrigation outlets (enabling water to 49 acres of agriculture land) and 20 water points for drinking water consumption at household level. Agriculture is the main source of income for the people of Mundakanga village where farmers are used to mono crop due to acute shortage of water. By help of the new DBI structure a diversification of cultivation and income will take place and malnutrition such as food insecurity will be reduced.

On 27th November 2015 a state level conference of Women Vegetable Grower Cooperatives was organized in Odhisa’s capital Bhubanehwar. 31 cooperatives from 4 Districts presented their products and innovative technologies in a cooperative fair.

The main program was attended by 250 people and inaugurated by the State Minister on Cooperation who announced to support each women vegetable cooperative with a start-up capital of 700.000 Indian Rupees. Subrat Singhdeo, Executive Director of MADHYAM Foundation, the Chairperson of the Women Commission such as the Superintendent of Odhisa State Police, who introduced an anonymous filing system for domestic violence cases, were also plenary speakers. AWO International Head Representative, Felix Neuhaus, highlighted the relevance of joint decision making about spending of household incomes (to promote rich nutrition, education and health care – especially for women and girls) and of an equal distribution of household works between women and men as the new women employment on the vegetable fields bears the risk of overburdening women as an unintended negative outcome.  

In partnership with Madhyam Foundation (NGO), AWO International has been working in 3 districts (Malkangiri, Khurda & Kalahandi) of Odhisa since 2009. In the BMZ funded social structure project 30 women vegetable grower cooperatives are supported, new organic agriculture practices are introduced, women empowered, domestic violence is addressed in the project villages and gender equality is promoted. In January 2015 an additional project, entitled “Enhanced Livelihood security for marginalized tribal populations and labour migrants through innovative agriculture in Indian State of Odisha” started. The project covers 35 villages of Kandamal district of Odhisa and is part of the BMZ funded special initiative “One World against Hunger”.

Inauguration of the DBI structure

Many women farmers in Kandamal District cultivate Turmeric

Agricultural produces are sold jointly through cooperatives

Members of a women cooperative in Kalahandi District at the state level fair

Treated seats, agricultural products and organic manures and fertilizers for display

Model of the main interventions of the supported women vegetable growers cooperatives

Model of a drop irrigation project

Plenary speakers at the state level conference

A women farmer explains the successes, challenges and approaches of her women vegetable cooperative

Cooperative members conduct an awareness theater in context of domestic violence