Farmers deserve the ability to stay on their ancestral lands, and provide for themselves and their families. GPM envisions a world in which subsistence farmers do NOT go hungry, and do NOT need to migrate to survive. GPM is working to change the reality for subsistence farmers so that they can thrive and live with dignity.
For half a year, the village of Ashte is paradise. The fields are green and glorious, full of lush bounty and abundant harvest. But during the other half of the year, the fields are barren. In order to go to the root causes of urban poverty, it is crucial to understand this. The key reasons why people migrate from their beloved villages – where they have family, community, lands, tradition, clean air, and open spaces – to the Mumbai slums is because of the barrenness of the land during half the year. They go to find jobs, any jobs, and whatever money they can get in order to sustain their families. This is why the Kalwa slum alone has grown from 120,000 residents in 2012 to 200,000 residents in 2017. People deal with overcrowding, open sewage, and dangerous sanitary conditions because they fear the rural drought.
There are other solutions. Around the world, simple and effective technologies have been developed for people in these circumstances. Rain-water harvesting, drip irrigation, and other systems can be easily implemented in rural areas in order to enable people to live off their farms for 12 months a year.
GPM, in partnership with local farmers in Ashte, is now piloting an agricultural educational program to enable the people of Ashte to incorporate technologies for using rain 12 months a year. The program, called AshteGreen12, is working with a group of 12 farmers, teaching them to implement the new methods.
The program can potentially transform the entire region for a relatively low cost, and – together with improved educational and health services – can prevent people from unnecessarily migrating to slums instead of staying in their beloved village homes.