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Samuday, a new initiative to improve the environment

February 10, 2018

A pollution-free clean India would be the best tribute to the nation. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a cleanliness mass movement organized by the government of India and takes into action by Prime Minister Narender Modi. This is the most valuable expedition which everyone must be aware of for the bright future of India. Following the footprints of this compaign not directly but linked to it Samuday, a unique initiative of HCL Foundation for integrated and sustainable community development in rural areas has started in Uttar Pradesh, aims to build model villages in partnership with the Central and state governments, local communities, NGOs, knowledge institutions and allied partners. A significant role in the conceptualisation and creation of Project Samuday in 2014 and now oversees the strategy and working of the project by Navpreet Kaur, Director of Samuday. With a team of over 500 people, Samuday is focused on development in six sectors, including education, health, water and sanitation, livelihoods, agriculture and infrastructure across three blocks of Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh. The project covers 164 gram panchayats, consisting of over 90,000 households impacting around 6 lakh people. We’ve already been on the ground for close to “three years and we have waited for three years to talk about because we wanted to have some impact to talk about and then only we thought we would talk about it. So, when we thought of Samuday,we thought of course of UP as one state where HCL is based there, and again, it’s a state which needs a lot of work in the rural areas,” said Kaur.

“So, we signed an MOU with the state government and a many demographic studies were conducted and Hardoi came out as one of the most backward districts of the country. So, that is how Hardoi was chosen, and within Hardoi, we chose three blocks — Kachhauna, Behandar and Kothawan — and started working there. At first, we started meeting with the people in the community, asking them about their problems. We chose six sectors where we needed to work — agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, livelihood, water and sanitation,”added Kaur. For agriculture, Kaur said, “We started improving the techniques and traditional cropping, plus, we started working on crop diversification. The impact is that vegetables people have almost started earning you know three times more than what they used to earn initially had. There is a concept of happy school that we have developed which aims that they don’t just come there to learn but also to create a happy environment. Then, we have also started a campaign on adult literacy, so right now we have close to 3,000 women who are learning from us, currently we have approx 220 adult literacy desks are working in 95 villages, but the idea is to take it to all 720 villages and to literate those 75,000 adults who are illiterates currently,” said Kaur. Samuday is also working on the issues related to rural solid waste management strategy as itwas enabled by the inter-sectoral approach of the project. As a next step, after making communities open defecation free, there is a need to sustainably manage the solid waste generated in the community. The major portion of this waste is animal excreta. HCL Samuday is working with 5674 dairy farmers, where the waste is generated, and this waste if locally processed could be converted into input for crop production for agriculture intervention where HCL Samuday is again working with 8000 farmers. This strategy is unique and is only being made possible in a sustainable manner if institutions are developed with could engage in such coordination at village level. HCL Samuday is working on strengthening of these institutions which could ensure such synergies. Two benefits could be realized through this, there could be reduction in farm inputs hence cost reduction in agriculture, and there could be an increase in the value being generated through the farm animal. Here there are two critical inputs being provided by HCL Samuday, firstly the technical input is being provided to create a business model around the creation of vermi-compost, secondly the coordination for the same to manage the animal waste, and household waste, revealed Kaur. (ANI)

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Training and Extension

Agriculture is a dynamic sector that deals with specialized knowledge which is ever changing. HCL Samuday regularly makes associated farmers aware of latest developments through Training and Extension intervention. The farmers are empowered to address existing issues and mitigate and adapt for future challenges.

With the objective of bringing agriculture technologies at farmers’ doorstep by establishing a ‘Center of Excellence’ in Uttar Pradesh, HCL Samuday is setting up Center for Agriculture Technology Transfer (CATT) in Hardoi district. It shall act as a ‘single window’ / ‘one stop support system’ aligning various interventions of state department of Agriculture with HCL Foundation as an intermediary and farmers as end users in a learning, decision making and problem-solving exercise.

Nutrition Garden

Nutrition Garden is a low cost, scientific model of home garden organically producing a variety of nutritious vegetables and fruits throughout the year. The primary objective of promoting nutrition gardens is to make ½ kg of fresh vegetables available for daily consumption to rural households. Secondary objectives include reduction in daily expenditure of HHs and increase in the consumption of green vegetables for improved nutrition.

2,714 households have benefitted by adopting a Nutrition Garden.

Community Mobilization and Institution Building

Interventions aimed at mobilizing community and facilitating institution creation lend long-term sustainability to the efforts for agriculture development.

     a. Farmer Clubs

Farmer Clubs are formed with the objective of propagating the idea of collective, uniting farmers in groups which work for the benefit of their community. 199 such clubs established so far under this intervention are providing a platform for knowledge dissemination and better market linkages.

        b. Farmer Producer Organisation

HCL Foundation is the promoting agency of Hardoi Kisan Producer Company Limited (HKPCL), a Farmer Producer Organization constituted in 2017 to address challenges faced by farming community in the project area. Comprising of 2,350 shareholders and governed by an 11-member board of directors, HKPCL registered a turnover of ₹ 6.85 crores in last financial year (2019-20).

       c. Vegetable Aggregation Points

Ensuring market is a crucial part of vegetable supply chain. To facilitate better linkages with market, 7 vegetable aggregation points have been set up across 3 blocks and regular communication is made to enable farmers to choose and opt for most suitable option. Realising better prices for produce, 917 Tonnes of vegetables, worth ₹ 1.30 crores, got aggregated at these centres in 2019-20.

       d. Farm Mechanization

Through Farm Mechanization, focus is on increasing income of farmers by improving affordability and accessibility of machines for precision agriculture. It is aimed at reducing farmers’ cost of cultivation and easing farm operations. Carried out in an entrepreneurial model, thus far 3,249 farms have been supported with advanced agricultural machinery and development of 45 entrepreneurs has been facilitated.

Crop Diversification

Due to lack of awareness and perishable nature of produce, few farmers practice vegetable cultivation. Crop Diversification intervention aims to bring sustainable income enhancement by adoption of diversified crop practices. HCL Samuday is pushing this agenda and the concurrent efforts made have engaged 13,500+ farmers so far in vegetable production.


After successful response of vegetable cultivation, various add-ons in Crop Diversification have been introduced so that farmers having disparate needs may opt for most suitable cropping pattern. These include –

  • Nano Orchard- a small area of land ranging from 840–1680 sqm is devoted exclusively for cultivation of fruit crops like Guava, Papaya, Banana, Apple, Ber and Thai Lime (seedless) along with vegetables taken as intercrop. 425 farmers have successfully established Nano Orchards.
  • Floriculture - promoting flower cultivation, HCL Samuday is propagating better practices and solving farmers’ erstwhile problem of unavailability of good variety. Marigold cultivation is being promoted under floriculture in project area.
  • VASUNDRA -Village Action for Sustainable Utilization of Natural Resource and Demonstration of Resilient Agriculture (VASUNDRA) has been initiated to enhance productivity of degraded fallow lands having high pH value. Adopting scientific methods of land reclamation through cultivation of resilient crops like Lemon Grass and Palmarosa combined with PH resistant horticulture crops like Amla, Ber and Lemon, so far 140 acres of land has been reclaimed.

Traditional Crop Promotion

Traditional Crop Promotion intervention focuses on training and demonstration of traditional crop farmers (Maize, Paddy, Wheat, Urad etc.) and bringing them under Package of Practices (PoP) based production system to increase productivity and adopt better crop management practices.

HCL Samuday has worked to enhance productivity by adopting soil and nutrient management, land development and institutional building for effective market linkages. 26,000+ farmers are currently engaged through this intervention and have adopted better practices on their farm.