-A pilot initiative in JICA supported project-
Jharkhand:“Jharkhand Horticulture Intensification by Micro Drip Irrigation (JHIMDI) Project” is a project financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and implemented by Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS), an autonomous society under Department of Rural Development, Govt. of Jharkhand.The Project aims at improving the livelihoods of small and marginal farmers and social participation of women in the state of Jharkhand through promotion of micro drip irrigation (MDI) systems, and intensive technical support for enhancement of productivity and marketability of horticulture products.
The national lockdown to combat the COVID 19 pandemic put stress on the small and marginal farmers as they found some difficulties in selling their recently harvested vegetables. The quick perishability of the vegetables was another cause of worry for the farmers. JSLPS took note of the situation of small farmers around Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand State, and also observed that there was a possibility of technology based intervention to connect the farmers with the consumers..
As several pockets in the city of Ranchi were not able to get fresh vegetables, the district administration of Ranchi allowed JSLPS to initiate online selling of vegetables. As JSLPS had earlier started working to develop online distribution mechanism for supply of organic vegetables and an App called ‘Aajevika Farm Fresh’ was under testing stage, they moved ahead with the intervention to supply vegetables based on online order by consumers in Ranchi. The App was placed in the Play Store for wider dissemination and a central grading cum collection center for vegetables was established in Ranchi.
In addition of other farmers supported by JSLPS under its various programs, 185 women farmers, who have adopted Micro Drip Irrigation (MDI) under JHIMDI project have been at the forefront of supplying vegetables to the cities. In a short span of 15 days of intervention through the online system, a customer base of 785 customers has been created and 8 MT of vegetables for an amount of INR 7.4 lakh has been sold, while following all norms of personal hygiene and social distancing.
Dr Praveen Kumar Singh, State Program Manager, JSLPS and a key official for JHIMDI project stated, “Each day we supply almost 27 varieties of vegetables including cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, cucumber, chilly, gourds, potato, tomato etc. The 185 MDI farmers from JICA assisted project, supply the vegetable on a rotation basis based on consumer demand. The farmers belong to adjacent areas viz. Angara Block, Ormanjhi Block, Itki Block of Ranchi district as well as Khunti of Khunti district. These initiatives have been appreciated by Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India.”
This model has helped the small and marginal women farmers to directly sell to the consumers and city vendors and fetch reasonable price for their produce. The urban consumers have been able to access farm fresh vegetables at their doorsteps. This intervention has provided good insights to JSLPS to improve and up-scale the online selling model after, there is improvement in the pandemic situation.
Responding to this initiative, Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India said, “COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up numerous challenges and JICA appreciates the efforts made by JSLPS project to come up with innovative solutions, which benefits both farmers and consumers. JICA is keen to support and promote innovations that improve the well- being of people and help them tide over the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Jharkhand Horticulture Intensification by Micro Drip Irrigation (JHIMDI) Project” is a project financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under a loan agreement with the Government of India, signed on March 31, 2016, to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of 4,652 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 277 crores based on exchange rate in April 2022) to the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS) under Department of Rural Development, Govt. of Jharkhand. The project is targeting 30,000 farmers’ households across 9 districts of Jharkhand. The farmers to be supported under the Project are members of women Self Help Group (SHG) formed by JSLPS, and small and marginal farmers who owns or leases farmland over 0.1 ha. The Project provides agriculture infrastructure including MDI, technical training, and also supports utilization of new technologies to benefit farmers.
In addition, JICA supports agriculture and irrigation projects in other states including Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan.The purpose of JICA’s assistance to Agriculture and Rural Development sector in India is to contribute to the efforts of poverty reduction in the country. JICA intends to focus on increasing rural income through improvement of agriculture productivity.