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West Champaran & Bihar

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Phia Foundation

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West Champaran & Bihar

Organic Farming Co-operatives in Bihar

What are the challenges?

The previously landless Dalit communities of West Champaran were given smallholdings of land at the time of India’s independence, but, lacking training, have never known how to use this land effectively. Instead, they depend on local labour work and high interest loans from moneylenders for their income. These loans are generational and charge interest at impossible rates in order to ensure the lenders have access to free labour as payment and, ultimately, may take the land for themselves. 

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What is the aim of the project?

This project aims to support 200 families, 70 headed by women, to make their land productive through traditional organic farming methods. By forming farmer cooperatives, they receive training on growing and access to equipment, as well as microfinance saving schemes, avoiding loans. With financial and business training, they are able to sell their produce in the local market, increase their incomes and escape their debt. 

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What are the main activities?

  • Teaching effective methods of planting, crop cultivation, harvesting, seasonal rotation and manufacture of organic pesticide and fertilizer.
  • Formation of farmer’s interest groups and shared agricultural resource centers.
  • Establishing links with government schemes and agricultural institutions.
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