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Tribals bring grain revolution in TN
Chennai, Oct 17 (Agencies):
Published on 17 Oct. 2009 11:14 PM IST
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Even as we hear reports of drought and food shortage, here is a story of a unique Community Food Bank that has ensured food security for a tribal community in Tamil Nadu’s Salem district. It’s nothing less than a grain revolution from shortage to surplus. Tribals in the drought-prone Kalrayan hills often needed to leave home to get enough to eat. Now this Community Food Bank has changed everything. It works like our regular banks. After the harvest farmers deposit surplus grains, at times of drought or scarcity they take a loan of grains, which they have to return after a new crop. This food security has stopped migration. “Now we are not only able to help ourselves, but also those in our neighbouring villages. For every measure we lend, we collect a small measure as interest,” said a woman. A brainchild of the M S Swaminathan foundation and World Vision India, the bank has a corpus of 12 tonnes of grains at any given time, enough to feed the community for three months. “We also lend them seeds. During crisis they can use this to raise fresh crops and return what they had borrowed,” said Vivian Rajkumar, manager, World Vision India, Kalrayan Hills. Tribal children’s education, which suffered earlier, has received a new fillip. This kind of food security at a local level has now spread to five villages, certainly a model worth replicating.

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