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Story and pictures contributed by Ritesh Kumar, Assistant Program Manager, Jharkhand (ed. Susan Thomas, Communications Manager)
Radha Devi and her husband, Dasrath Mahto belong to Rengalbeda village in Manoharpur block of West Singhbhum district, Jharkhand, India. Being small-scale farmers they depended on agricultural produce from a small farmland and a cycle repairing shop, their only source of income until 2014. “Meeting expenses of the school for our children, Umesh and Priya, means we are always a bit stretched for money,” shared Radha Devi. So as a supplementary source of income they tried rearing goats. However high death rates among the goats meant this was not a profitable venture either for them or others in their village.
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood and the mainstay of about 80 per cent of the rural population in the state of Jharkhand. Most of the farmers are small and marginal landholders. In Jharkhand 92 per cent of the total cultivated area is un-irrigated thus agriculture here is characterized as nature dependent, coupled with mono cropping and low investment capacity of farmers pushing them into the vicious cycle of poverty.
Contributed by Rishiraj Shukla, Assistant Program Manager, Digital Green