Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Scenes from a Malto Community in Sahiganj, Jharkhand, east India

During the final day of the agriculture workshop (March 19-22, 2012) sponsored by ECHO, EFICOR, World Relief Canada and the Canadian Food Grains Bank, participants engaged in a field trip to an ethnic Malto community about 1.5 hours drive from the town of Sahibganj.  Welcomed by a song and dance committee, each visitor was treated to an extremely hospitable foot washing.  Afterward, the workshop delegation was led around the community to see impressive work related to small kitchen gardens, community forestry, improved livestock production, expansion of rice paddy land and sustainable upland farming. During the tour, we were also fortunate enough to encounter a vivid green and black chameleon who preferred to be left alone.

In such a semi-arid location, the livelihood successes of the Sona Malot community are obviously hard won.  Our group of visitors were able to see the value of integrated farming that included traditional crops such as pigeon pea, pearl millet, mustard (oil crop) and cowpea as well as recent innovations such as the expansion of rice paddy land.  

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