Better Living Through Group Farming

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These farmers in India's eastern Orissa state are finding they make more money when they work together. The Watershed Department of the Government of Orissa has helped set up a special farming community. Around 16 farmers, including both landowning and landless farmers, are sharing 60 acres.

[Debarchan Majhi, Community Group Secretary]: (male, Oryia language)
"Different farmers have different amounts of land. Some have five acres, some have seven acres. We first listed them all, then we assigned them different categories."

Those different categories include high, middle, and low land. Majhi says high lands are used for cultivating cash crops so they're more lucrative, whereas low lands are easier to farm because the irrigation is better.

[Sarbe Chandan, Landless Farmer]: (male, Oryia language)
"Earlier, I was living very poorly as I could earn only between $43 and $64 dollars. Sometimes I couldn't get work. Now, after I joined this group, I got work and I earn more than before. I get between $128 and $150."

The landless farmers get an additional benefit from joining the community farming, too. Besides making more moony, they get the time and support for fishing, dairy farming, and mushroom cultivation.

The Watershed Department also has supplied water pumps at a deep subsidy to help them maintain irrigation and ponds.

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