West Bengal

The challenges

ACF is operating in two locations in West Bengal – Sankrail and Farakka, with different set of challenges and issues.

Sankrail is an industrial block with nearly 130 heavy industries. The landholding is small and fragmented and the area under agriculture has been decreasing over the years owing to increase in population.

Farakka is situated just beside of Ganges Basin and agro climatic zone of Gangetic Alluvial Zone. The average rainfall of area is approx. 1476mm but agriculture is still on subsistence level and farmers were following general and age-old practices.

In both locations, women lack decision making power and face socioeconomic mobility.

Flagship initiative - System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

Rice is the staple crop in West Bengal. However, dependence on traditional agricultural methods was limiting the yield and profits for local farmers. Through SRI, ACF is building the farmers’ capacity to understand and use modern and smart techniques for optimum yield. SRI follows the minimalist 'less is more' ideology, reduces pest attacks on the crop and increases yield by almost 20%. Through regular meetings, capacity building programs, exposure visits and demonstration, ACF has scaled up its operations and increased outreach from 174 farmers in 2009 to 8840 farmers till date.

Strong monitoring and support to farmers in strengthening forward and backward linkages are the key reasons for the success of this program. Paddy cultivation which was carried out on subsistence basis has now become a profitable venture.