How Vedanta is helping farmers post-lockdown in Odisha’s Jharsuguda

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Subrat Kumar Sarangi

Bhubaneswar (NVI): Farming communities across the country have suffered due to the nationwide lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak. The livelihoods of farmers who were hoping to sell their winter harvest at good margins have been impacted due to lack of manpower to harvest produce, broken supply-chain limitations imposed to marketplaces and movement, etc.

Farmers in Jharsuguda in western Odisha also had a tough time due to the unprecedented situation. However, post-lockdown, as Jharsuguda’s farming community begins for the new cropping cycle, Vedanta has extended its support.

Vedanta is India’s largest producer of primary aluminium, operating a world-class aluminium smelter in Jharsuguda with an installed smelting capacity of 1.6 MTPA.

From distributing top-quality seeds to guiding farmers through the cultivation cycle, Vedanta is working with experts from the Department of Horticulture, Government of Odisha and agri-scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendra to help them.

Recently, Vedanta distributed seeds of high-yielding indigenous ginger variety to hundreds of farmers associated with its farm-based livelihood project ‘Jeevika Samridhhi’ helping them kick-start the new cropping cycle.

Since its inception, the project has been working with farmers to promote adoption of high-yielding cash crops and advanced methods of commercial farming for generating greater revenue from farming activities.

Besides seeds, the farmers were given orientation on ginger farming and Package of Practices (PoP) on growing the crop like land preparation, seed treatment, planting method, manure anf fertilizer, natural pest management, duration of cultivation etc. by agricultural experts.

CN Singh, CEO Vedanta Ltd. Jharsuguda said, “We rolled out Jeevika Samridhhi with the aim to support and benefit farmers in our periphery through adoption of advanced agricultural methodology and land and water management. Encouraged by the success of the first phase of the project, we launched the second phase enveloping more farmers in the projects ambit,” he added.

He further said that, “To help us achieve superlative results on ground, we have also roped the expertise of KVK and Horticulture Dept, Govt. of Odisha, for advising and technically upskilling the farmers.”

Meanwhile, a sustainable livelihood project ‘Jeevika Samridhhi’ run by Vedantas, focuses on land and water management, run in partnership with SEWA, Kolabira. It aims to introduce small and marginal farmers in the company’s peripheral community to better, more efficient and sustainable methods of farming, there by increasing the quantum of produce and sustained return on investments.

The project’s relevance is based on the need to augment irrigation infrastructure, promote advanced agriculture, application of bio-fertiliser and pesticides, and make farming a remunerative profession.

In the first phase of project, more than a hundred farming households of Siriapali village were benefited through the project, with an increase in irrigation potential of the village by 21 per cent and household income of beneficiaries by 20-25 per cent in just one year. In its second phase, the project covers over 250 farming households across three villages for a duration of two years.

Vedanta’s smelter in Jharsuguda is the only Indian smelter in the global ‘1 Million Tonne Club’ primary aluminium producers and exporters.

Currently, the company produces more than a third of Indias primary aluminium backed by world class assets, new-age technology and innovative practices and a robust sustainable development framework. With a strong focus on safety, the company is committed to delivering sustainable and robust growth, which creates value for its shareholders and stakeholders.