When insects destroyed all the cotton crops on Bidika Krusno's small family farm last season, Bidika and his family were devastated. With no other means of earning a living, Bidika's younger brother was forced to migrate to the city to find work while Bidikha and his wife and children remained on the farm, surviving on one meagre meal a day.
Our agriculturalist, Sunil Kumar Pal, visited this tribal village, Bada Sangadi, in Rayagada district, Odisha, and shared a technique that can help farmers achieve food security and earn a livelihood. This technique, called multi-layering, requires farmers to plant four different layers of compatible vegetables on the same field at the same time. Bidika was willing to be the first to adopt this new technique and we helped him set up his farm with the structures that he would need.
Already this technique has proved itself to be a great investment. Not only have Bidika and his family have been able to eat nutritious and healthy meals but they have been able to sell the excess produce at the market and in the village, increasing their family's income substantially. Now, Bidika's farm is much less susceptible to complete crop failure, there is less water evaporation, greater water retention, and the soil is more fertile. Bidika hopes that now his brother can return from the city and work again on his family's farm.
Bidika has become an inspiration not just to other tribal farmers in his village who have started implementing this technique, but to nearby villages as well.