To beat drought, women farmers of Anantapur begin millet revolution in Andhra

They swept the grounds and spread out a flex banner that was once a political hoarding. The women of Diguvapalli, a village 180 km north of Bengaluru but in Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, settle down to explain how they survived the year of 2016.

People in Delhi and big cities need to know the distress we went through, C Bhanuja, a member of the Rural & Environment Development Society (REDS), tells them.

And people should, considering the intensity of the drought they have faced for six consecutive years, and the kind of losses theyre bearing.

2016 was a year they lost their cattle to the drought, saw their neighbours leave to Bengaluru in search of menial jobs and helplessly watched their crops wilt away under the merciless sun. It was the year that the district suffered the worst drought in its history, according to government officials.

After six months of introspection, the farmers in the district have come up with ways to beat the ongoing drought. In Diguvapalli, which has a population of 100 families using 200 acres of land for cultivation, farmers have decided to dedicate 100 acres exclusively for millets, which consume less water than other commercial crops.