OREANDA-NEWS. Pune: Tata Power, India's largest integrated power utility, in continuation with its philosophy to address community needs has initiated the Tata Power sustainable agriculture programme under its “Samridhi” initiative at Maval. The aim of this initiative is to improve the food security and livelihood of the communities living around the catchment area.

The objective of this programme is to promote the importance of having a scientific approach towards agricultural practices among local farmers. More than 1,000 farmers across 18 villages are supported under this programme. This figure has increased two-fold from 510 farmers in 2012 and currently covers 596 acres. As an integral part of its operations, Tata Power developed a sustainable package of practices for the kharif and rabi crops and introduced new crops which are less labour-intensive and yield higher returns.

Tata Power has also implemented a farmer school for the purpose, “Kisan Sheti Shala”, which educates farmers on soil testing, land preparation, water management, and selection and treatment of seeds. The agriculture eco-system analysis technique helps farmers to monitor and study plant growth.

Speaking on the initiative, Mahesh Paranjpe, head, hydro power stations, Tata Power, said, “It is Tata Power's endeavour to assist the farmers around its area of operations to make them self-sufficient and independent. We aim to stimulate interest, promote innovative ideas and best practices, and increase productivity in order to present agriculture as a business model. We look forward to continuing such initiatives aimed at uplifting the local communities.”

The programme allows farmers to move away from the traditional form of agriculture and encourages experimentation and promotes growth. This method would result in yield enhancement by more than 150 percent as well as teach farmers optimum utilisation of natural resources.