Pune’s Swayam Shikshan Prayog bags UN Equator Prize

Till 2012, 60-year-old Vanita Sahebrao More used to spend INR 40,000 (USD 620) every year to cultivate soybean, sorghum and cotton on seven acres of land in her village in drought-prone Nanded district in Maharashtra. The district is part of Marathwada, which is infamous for crippling droughts and farmer suicides.

This changed five years ago when she adopted the so-called one-acre model, an innovative way of practising climate-resilient agriculture. Starting off with half an acre, she today manages around 3.5 acres of land, and cultivates vegetables, wheat, pulses and turmeric with 100% organic inputs. Instead of the traditional approach of focusing on cash crops, More has been trained to put nutritional needs of the family to the forefront. She grows mainly food crops for the familys consumption, crucial during the far-too-common drought years. She sells the surplus in the market, which fetches INR 45,000.