Published: 28 July 2020
Last edited: 28 July 2020
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Summary

  • Home gardens are usually small plots of arable land near households. These plots are typically adjacent to the home to ensure easy mobility and convenience for women. A variety of herbs and vegetables are most commonly grown in these gardens for household use, and the surplus is often sold for additional income. 

  • Such gardens host a variety of crops ranging from vegetables and spices which will provide food security, nutritional diversity, and help become self-reliant. 

  • The aim of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Bethany Society's project IKI Biodiv as an implementing partner is to develop and enhance the community 's ability to adapt the various techniques common to home gardens. Efforts were made to encourage the cultivation of a wide variety of indigenous vegetables and spices to foster rich biodiversity which provided a clear understanding of the strong relations between sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation.

Classifications

Region
Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Cropland
Theme
Agriculture
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Erosion prevention
Food security
Gender mainstreaming
Genetic diversity
Indigenous people
Challenges
Loss of Biodiversity
Erosion
Ecosystem loss
Inefficient management of financial resources
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 3: Incentives reformed
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company

Location

Mamit, Mizoram, India | Mawsynram, Meghalaya, India

Challenges

  • Erratic rainfall: The success of the garden depends solely on the rainfall that has shown to be highly erratic in recent years. Irrigation is not present due to the high altitude and steep gradient of villages.

  • Loss of biodiversity: Agrobiodiversity has been declining in recent years due to the concentration of on-demand cash crops in nearby markets. Some indigenous crops are replaced by feared cash crops, resulting in a lack of awareness about how to grow such crops.

  • Poverty: Most households have low income, and employment is limited to agriculture, as there are no industries in the villages' vicinity. Farming is often subsistence, so surplus yields are scarce.

  • Nutritional diet: The lack of a variety of nutritional vegetables often leads to low nutritional intake in most households. 

  • Adverse topography: Most villages are situated on hillsides making farming difficult. Preventing soil erosion thus becomes a constant challenge. 

Beneficiaries

The direct beneficiaries are farmers of Khawrihnim village, majority of which are women who tend the home gardens. The other beneficaries include Village council members and government officials of related departments.  

How do the building blocks interact?

  • The series of awareness campaigns and exposure provided an excellent platform to address the knowledge gaps of the farmers and simultaneously created a demand to learn more about the connection between maintaining a rich crop diversity as a means to enhance their farming practice.

  • The subsequent building blocks which relate more to learning by seeing-and-doing and the many interaction with fellow farmers provided the necessary confidence for farmers to establish the required demonstration plots

  • The crucial building block of actual establishing the demonstration plots provided the practical skill and knowledge of engaging themselves in new farming practices

  • Constant supervision through follow-ups and handholding efforts from the implementing partner encouraged farmers to be actively involved. 

Impacts

  • Awareness of the close linkages that exist between farming and a rich agro-biodiversity was generated among the community leaders and community at large

  • Interest among the community to adapt their existing farming practice with an approach that addresses biodiversity conservation and livelihood enhancement was developed

  • The success of the initiative has prompted farmers from adjoining villages to replicate the new farming techniques

  • Confidence and strong interest among the government agency to up-scale the approach and initiative was created

  • The initial success of the initiative showed that is a scope of increasing the income of households through the sale of surplus produce as well as an increase of the nutritional wellbeing of the households

  • A similar initiative is at present undertaken in neighbouring federal state

Story

Bethany Society

Ms. Lalbiakengi, age 40 years old hails from the village of Khawrihnim in Mizoram. She is a widow with two children. 

Farming was Ms. Lalbiakengi's hobby. She did not look at it in any other way except as past time. However, with the sudden passing of her husband, she decided to attend this month-long training program about Home Gardening to provide for her family. 

With the knowledge and confidence that she gained from the training program, she started using the new techniques to cultivate vegetables like okra, beans, mustard leaves, carrots, coriander. This training has aided her methods of farming as they have improved the quality and quantity of her produce.

It has also become a blessing to the residents of the village as they have benefitted from her new skills as well. The farmers of the village have come to her for help to learn about the new techniques of farming. 

Her success story is not a smooth one. Despite having gained much more knowledge through the training, applying the new techniques were not easy for her due to the lack of financial support. Yet, she believes in hard work and persevering through the toughest of times. 

 

 

 

 

Contributed by

Kevan Lyngdoh The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit

Other contributors

Bethany Society
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit