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I Don't Have to Migrate Now...

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Mangilal and Sewa Bai and their four children live in a part of Rajasthan, in northern India, where unpredictable rainfall and harsh conditions can make farming difficult. And the climate in this area is drastically changing, making farming even harder.

Tearfund’s project partner in India, EFICOR, has been working in the area for the last few years, training local people in ways of farming that better suit the conditions here.

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Sewa Bai and Mangilal and two of their children, Bhawana (age seven) and Soman (age nine). Photo: Lambard Regulus, EFICOR

Like many people in their village, Mangilal and Sewa Bai used to have to migrate for work, because they weren’t able to harvest enough to earn a good income and provide food for their family. That meant their children couldn’t attend school regularly, and it was hard to plan for the future.

“At the beginning of the project, I struggled a lot with scarcity of water,” Mangilal says.

EFICOR’s team worked with the community to rehabilitate an open well, giving them a better supply of water, and also helped villagers to advocate for an electricity connection. These changes, along with training in new agricultural techniques and access to improved seeds, have given Mangilal and his family a chance for a reset. The new techniques they’ve learned result in higher crop yields, so they’re now growing plenty of food for their family, and can earn an income from horticulture and livestock production. They’ve also earned enough to buy a mill for grinding wheat, which gives them another source of income. Diversifying their farming has made them more resilient. And having an electricity connection makes it easier for their children to study in the evenings.

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Sewa Bai grinding wheat. Photo: Lambard Regulus, EFICOR

Mangilal says he plans to continue practising sustainable agriculture, growing crops like papaya and guava.

“I have enough food for an entire year … I am planning to cultivate more horticulture and increase my income, and send my children for higher education,” he says.

“I am happy with my family and I don’t migrate now,” says Mangilal. “It has been three years since I joined the EFICOR work. This institution has helped us a lot to develop. We have planted papaya trees. I have an atta chhaki for grinding wheat. The farming is going on well … yes! We are very happy.

“I’m thankful to EFICOR and Tearfund Australia that they have built my capacity and have made water available for my cultivation. Thank you.”

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Emma Halgren is the Content Lead at Tearfund Australia.

Related projects have received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).