(A case study on School & Community Horticulture Project)
National Committee on Plasticulture Applications in Horticulture Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India 2nd Floor, Himalaya House 23, Kasturba Gandhi Marg New Delhi- 110 001
The National Committee on Plasticulture Applications in Horticulture (NCPAH), Ministry of Agriculture, has been promoting use of different plasticulture applications through its Precision Farming Development Centres in India. Technology Informatics Design Enterprise (TIDE), Bangalore, is an NGO that promotes use of appropriate technologies in harmony with environment, which permits grass-root participation, use of local resources and builds capacity by involving local communities as equal partners. NCPAH gave support through its PFDC, UAS, Bangalore to the TIDE for evolving a business model by using the Greenhouse technology in horticulture that promotes sustainable livelihood among small and marginal farm families. NCPAH has been instrumental through its PFDC and the local partner TIDE, to become a link between technology and the end users who are small and marginal farmers. TIDE evolved a school and community horticulture project (200sqm) with the help of a women group. TIDE and PFDC personnel provided the technical, managerial and marketing support to the women group for raising high value vegetables under a naturally ventilated greenhouse that has been a success in Tiptur, Karnataka.
Backdrop - School and Community Horticulture Project
The national mid-day meal scheme was initiated in 1995 by the Government to increase enrollment of children in schools. The school and community horticulture project was conceptualized as an empowerment tool for women group with very small landholdings that supports nutrition program under the mid day meal scheme in primary schools in Karnataka. The budget allocated under the programme for vegetables allowed about 25 gm/child per day. TIDE felt the need to explore community based interventions to increase nutrition support by supplying vegetables up to 75gm/child per day. After economic liberalization, there is rapid urbanization; improved infrastructures and emergence of an urban middle class, creating a demand pull for high value horticultural crops in India. This provides an opportunity to directly increase the income of farmers with very small landholdings.
TIDE introduced women group in the community greenhouse horticulture as a livelihood option. They voluntarily contributed nearly 10% of their income in the form of vegetables to augment the nutrition in the mid day meal scheme of the school where their children are studying. In the beginning this charitable act of the group earned respect in the local community. The aforesaid project is implemented in Shanthanahalli village, Tiptur Taluk, of Tumkur district in Karnataka, which is about 150 kms from Bangalore. The women self help group (SHG) is involved in growing high value vegetables such as Tomato and Capsicum under the greenhouse and supplying these vegetables to the mid day meal scheme of the school at a subsidized rate.
Women working in Greenhouse
The school and community horticulture project was the first of its kind by the TIDE in Tiptur. TIDE realized that in the village environment, women group who made a commitment of nutritional support to the mid day meal scheme of the school would be subject to ridicule if they fail to deliver their commitments on time. TIDE carefully evolved a profile of the woman group for this project looking at following attributes: • • • • • • • Availability of 200 sqm of land for construction of greenhouse and some additional land for vegetable cultivation outside the green house. Access to ground water and a system for water harvest from the roof top of greenhouse. Women with a background of farming. Strong leadership, willing to take risk and good communication skill in the group. The...