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Diverse Farming System in Flood Affected Areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh

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Since beginning, flood affected Eastern Uttar Pradesh has been GEAG's main operational area.  Eastern Uttar Pradesh- a teraie region- is poor in development indices wherein GEAG has established several viable and replicable livelihood models primarily based on agricultural interventions for the cause of landless, small, marginal and women farmers. The agriculture is the major livelihood occupation of approximate 90% farming community of the area. Out of this, approximate 80% are landless, small and marginal farmers. The area is mainly known for occurrence of flood every year because of its geographical situation and climate change impacts. The flood as historical devastating event mainly for the farming community has determined the socio-economic and political lives of the people at the great extent. In-appropriate drainage system, embankments, railway and road construction create long duration of water logging in wider area due to heavy rainfall and flood occurrence. Every year, flood causes damages to crops, property and loss of human and animal lives. Its regular occurrence makes the poor more vulnerable because of its cycle and disaster process. Due to prolonged water logging situation, the crops of both Kharif and Rabi seasons are adversely affected. In recent years, the climate changed induced water stresses have also increased the vulnerability of poor farming community.

In last 50 years, situation of agriculture and food growers ( mainly shared croppers, small- marginal and women farmers) has become worsened because of several reasons: higher cost of agriculture inputs with lesser profits ( due to stagnant or reduced productivity), exaggerated use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and  in-appropriate government policies (favouring big and market players).  The mono-cropping pattern (due to promotion of mainly cereals crops) and reducing numbers of livestock are additional adverse effects of the green revolution.     

Process of Developing Diverse Flood Farming Models:

In initial stage of promoting agricultural interventions, before GEAG major challenges were how to increase the optimum farming output through developing the main agricultural based livelihood system towards reducing the vulnerability of the target group. GEAG's belief has been that natural disaster such as flood cannot be stopped but magnitude of damages caused by it can be controlled with appropriate management of interventions. Owing to this, in 2002, GEAG had developed five community based flood mitigation models in five flood prone villages of three blocks of Gorakhpur district. Now, these flood models demonstrate that in flood prone area, how community can mitigate their losses (caused by floods) through  adoption of area specific interventions and appropriate farming practices.

For developing area-specific diverse flood farming models, following strategies were adopted:

  • Area-specific need assessment of farming related situation
  • Participatory farm planning ( Annual and Seasonal planning) focused on increasing  the farming diversity ( crop, livestock, bi-manure and pesticides, kitchen garden, fishery, poultry etc)
  • Collection and dissemination of Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITKs)
  • Increasing non-farming activities 
  • Exposure and linkage with agricultural universities and allied department (fishery department, horticulture etc)
  • Linkage with Government Schemes and policies 


Major Interventions: 

GEAG's own experience in promoting sustainable agriculture in flood affected areas has given learning that in addition to agro-based interventions, the co-ordination of local resources (livestock, farm and house) and low input farming techniques not only reduce agriculture cost but also increase income. These activities jointly lead to enhancement of farmer's adaptive capacity in mitigating the losses.

The season-wise farm based participatory planning was carried out for adoption of agro-based interventions to enhance adaptive capacity of farmer towards mitigating losses caused by flood. The analysis says that these interventions have made significant changes in the farm system of the farmers by which they are able to mitigate the losses at much extent.

In reported year, the farmers had adopted following diverse farming activities including interventions:

Diversification and integration of agricultural practices ( crop, mushroom, fruits, goatery, buffalo, fishery and duckery etc)
Increased crop rotation and crop frequency with the help of time and space management technique. Under this technique, strategically three periods have evolved to get the optimum production through changing cropping pattern and adoption of new appropriate crops / interventions / techniques.
Promotion of community needed crops and tree species for integration.
Use of bio-manure (like CPP, Vermi Compost, Nadep Compost, Green manuring, etc)-and bio-cides as alternate options of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Use of bio-manure on the recommendations of soil testing reports. Integrated Pest Management Practices are  also frequently used.
Nursery raising and seed production and their marketing as income generation programme ( Wheat, Paddy, vegetable and fruits)
Application of indigenous traditional knowledge ( crop, bio-manure, bio-cides,  etc)
Rearing of improved breed of animals or improving future generation of livestock through using semen of improved breeds
Flood loving plants ( like guava, jamun, bamboo etc )
Cultivation of new introduced crop ( for example-Kulthi- a pulse of non-flood area, Razma- a pulse etc)
Seed treatment from Trichoderma for preventing seed born diseases.
Value addition and marketing of agricultural produces

In flood prone areas, the farmers have successfully taken the challenges posed by flood as opportunities and increased farming diversity remarkably through application of time and space management techniques with adoption of several interventions. These farmers have divided whole crop year into three stages according to flood shocks. These stages are pre-flood, during flood and post flood. In these stages, below mentioned diverse interventions are adopted by the farmers:

Crops under Different Stages of Flood


Pre- Flood

During Flood

Post -Flood

Paddy: Traditional varieties - Turanta, Satha, Sarya, Kanchani, Pous Radha-4, Bhuer Bagri, Bengaliya, Padmini, Nageena-22, Sonekhar, Farmbagari

Paddy: Ghoghar, Sainghar, Jalmagn, Madhukar, Chakiya, Jal lahri, Jalpriya, Lalmati, Sudha, Baidehi, Jalnidhi, Badh Awarodhi, Serliya, Asahnia, Basrauli, Diyra, Anjani, Sarya, Jallahar, Dalhawa, Latesar, Kalomawa

Boro-cultivation,  Chainiya, Turanta, Narendra- 97

Fodder: Barseem,

Pulse: Latra, Masoor, Kulthi, Vegetable: Arkyle Pea, Pointed Guard , Radish, coriander, Peuadium Sowa Kurz, spinaes, Bakla, Line seed, Brassica var-rapa spreng.

Oil crops: Lahi and Mustard

Coarse Grain:

Maize, Sawan, Kodo, Tagun, Medua, Ragee,

Green Manure: Sanai, Dhaicha

Plants & Trees: Guava, Syzygium Cumini Stul, Pidor, Terminelia, Arjuna

Awefa, Eukalyptus, Jhervera, Babool, Bamboo, Baent, Bel, Bair, Sugarcane.

Medicinal Plant:

Nagar Motha, Brahmi, Vatch, Jetropha,

Vegetable: Banana ( Grand Naine), Kermua, Mushrom

Other: Trappa, Serukhi, Black Lotus, Khus, Lotus

Green Manure:

Dhaincha, Patson,

Livestock: Duckery, Buffalo, Fishery



Nursery development of early variety of paddy crop is normally done in last week of May or Ist week of June. Plantation of nursery is done within 25 days. Harvesting is done within 90-100 days before flood occurrence.


All the water loving paddy varieties are sown directly in the first week of May or Ist week of June. Harvesting is done in the end of November. These crops take normally 150-160 days.  


Under Boro-cultivation, nursery development starts from last week of November and transplantation is done in first week of February.  Harvesting is done in May-June.


      Note:  Normal flood period is Mid of July to September.


Changes and Impacts of Interventions:

The agro-based intervention with low input farming techniques have resulted the changes and impacts  can be seen at several levels mentioned below:

At Flood Model Level:

Through farm planning, promotion of area-specific agricultural interventions, use of local resources and LEISA techniques has made significant changes in terms of:

Impacts on Attitudinal and Behaviourable Changes 

Now flood diverse farming models have become comparatively more aware and conscious in terms of searching out new interventions and their adoption in their field following trial and learning approach.

Increasing diversity of farming ( Main six Sub-systems are- Farm, Field, Animal / Livestock, Bio-digester, Perennial Tress and Kitchen Garden)

  • Profitability of the farming
  • Increased agricultural productivity
  • Reduction of market dependency
  • Increased Self-dependency
  • Enhancement of soil quality
  • Enhanced knowledge and capacities of the farmers
  • Linkages with other institutions like bank, Central Integrated Pest Management Centre, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Block Development Officials etc.
  • Improvement in nutritional and social status of diverse farming model farmers

The comparative analysis of adoption of interventions gives a clear picture of diverse farming system in flood prone area:

Comparative Adoption Analysis of Diverse Farming Interventions Of  Ghanshyam Gupta-One Flood Model, Campiergnaj, Gorakhpur district




After Intervention


Kharif Season

Maize-traditional variety , Arher, Paddy ( traditional varieties-  Sarya, Kanchani, Paus, Farmbagari )

Paddy: early varieties-  Narendra-97, Suruchi Turanta. Deep water varieties- Sudha. Traditional varieties: Chaina, Bengaliya,

High Yielding varieties: Sarju-52 and Gorakhnath.

Vegetable:  Aruie, Radish, Saag, Lobia (CP-4), Bringle, Kunduru, Banana- tissue culture and traditional varity,

Fruits: Guava, Papaya

Green Manuring- Dhaincha,

Elevated Kitchen Garden ( provides fresh vegetable and fruits of daily use)

Pulse: Arher, groundnut


Seed production of Narendra-97 and Sale of Paddy Nursery.


Three rows of radish on bunds.

Rabi Season

Wheat: ( traditional varieties- R-21 and K-68),

Vegetable: Potato, Pea

Coarse Grain: Barley

Wheat: (HYV-PBW-343, Kundan, PBW-373, HD-2285 etc)

Oily crops: Mustard and Lahi

Vegetable: Arkyl Pea,  Potato, Coriander, Radish, Soya, CP-4, Garlic, tomato, Chilly, Cabbage, Spinach, Methi, Cauliflower, Carrot

Fodder: Berseem

Other: Sugar cane

Pulse: Pea, Kulthi, Bakla,


Jayad-Pre Kharif

Vegetable: Bottle Guard, Onion, and Nenua

Vegetable: Nenua, Bottleguard, Bitterguard, Lady finger, Boda, Aruie, Spinach, Chilly, Onion,

Cereal: Maize,

Other: Watermelon



Buffalo  and bullock

Buffalo, Cow,  Bullock



High use of Urea, DAP, and Potash from market. Less use of compost

Maximum use of own developed bio-manure: compost, banana-compost, green manure, vermi-compost, Matka Khad, Green Manure


Plant protection

High use of chemical pesticides from market. Less use of ash

Maximum use of own developed biocides: Matka-biocide, Neem Oil Cake, ash, trichoderma etc

Seed treatment by trichoderma

Low input techniques

Ploughing from bullock, compost manure, ash

Ploughing from bullock, compost manure, mixed cropping, seed production, vegetable nursery, bund plantation, bio-cides,  trichoderma



Mango and Jackfruit

Guava, Papaya, Jamun, Mango, Jackfruit, Sehtoot.


Timber plants


Shisham, Sagaun on bund



The graphical representation of resource flow (Figure- 1) of farming system of one model farmer makes crystal clear how the optimum linkages exist amongst different farming sub-systems. The linkages are indication of increased self-dependency of farmer on his farming.  In comparison, we also found that sub-systems have also increased and already existed sub-systems have also been optimally developed. The impacts of diverse farming can be seen in terms of enhanced adaptive capacity (increased income, reduced loss and improved food availability).  

As per study conducted in November, 2007, the applied interventions have mitigated their flood caused losses through increasing their farm income and improving their food availability. These farmers feel now comparative less vulnerable because of significant changes made in their farming system. In off-season, the farmers also get the income from other sources. Through these interventions, the farmers are also now in the position to feed their livestock.

b- At Community Level Adoption of Diverse Farming Interventions:

The promotion of viable and replicable practices through these developed flood farming models for the benefits of the poor farmers have been one of the major objectives. In this purpose, these models have been successful as found in project evaluation report of Oxfam Novib commissioned final evaluation of the project namely Poverty Reduction through Enhanced Livelihood Options based on Strategies of Sustainable Agriculture, Institution Building Advocacy and Networking for the period year 2005-08. In a large group of farmers of Kolhuaan village of Gorakhpur district.,  the adoption analysis was carried out ( Figure-2). 

Experimentation and Demonstration:

Recently, it was found that farmers of Thakurnagar village of Gorakhpur district have made a new innovation in terms of starting cultivation of Narendra-97- a variety of Paddy crop under Boro- cultivation technique in flood and water logged area and getting double benefits - one and half times more production and low investments with less tension.

The evaluation report makes clear that agro based interventions / practices of sustainable agriculture and low input practices enhance adaptive capacity of farmers in flood disaster area. Thousands of visiting farmers of local and distant areas have adopted the flood mitigation agricultural practices. The adoption of these interventions by the large number of the farmers is the result of their   dissemination through farmers' exposures; field days, Farmers Field School, Agro Service Centre, farmer-to-farmer advertisement etc. Also, on experimenting new techniques at own farm, after finding viable and fruitful, the flood models disseminate those practices for adoption at the community level. Also, 100 viable and replicable traditional agricultural interventions existing in flood prone areas have been documented and are being disseminated to enhance adaptive capacity of farmers.

Learning of Visitors:

These flood diverse farming models, because of their achievements, have attracted the attention of thousands visitors (farmers, government and non-governmental organizations, funding agencies etc.). The some farmer-representatives of Bangladesh and Nepal have also visited these models. They all were very motivated looking at successful practices and interventions. The viable and replicable farming practices are being replicated through exposures and trainings being organized by the different organizations.                                         

 * Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group, 224, Purdilpur, M.G. College Road, Gorakhpur, U.P. India.



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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.