Seven villages in Chitradurga (Karnataka) were able to beat the drought, thanks to a bunch of students from Seshadripuram Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Their project ‘Sreedhenu’ taught farmers to use azolla (an aquatic fern) in water-scarce areas as fodder for cattle.
Initiated by Enactus, an international NGO, students have encouraged farmers to seek alternative means of earning other than farming. Azolla will help increase milk production. Says Karthik, a second-year BBM student, and president of Sreedhenu project, “We taught farmers to cultivate Azolla in the tank bed that were dug in their farms. Azolla does not require much water and grows well over a short period of time. This green feed proved to be healthy to the cattle which resulted in better milk production”.
Over two years, farmers have earned enough to start a cooperative society. The students also assisted farmers in getting the right kind of training from Institute of Veterinary Sciences in cattle rearing. This in turn helped them to raise loans for buying cattle and helped them become financially independent.