Sea level rise threatens many coastal villages in India. Resinga Village, of Nimapara block, Puri (Odisha) has been particularly affected by the impacts of climate change. Resinga lies on the Dhanua Riverbank, and each year when the river is inundated approximately 225 acres of arable land is submerged in saline water, impacting the community’s ability to grow food. Livestock and the overall food security of the village becomes threatened, hindering families from consuming a balanced diet, negatively impacting the health of many families.
Resinga has felt the worsening impacts of climate change over the years. When the arable land is inundated, men tend to migrate to nearby towns in search of more secure livelihoods. Women, however, as primary caregivers, remain behind often struggling to make ends meet.
ACT Member Lutheran World Service India Trust (LWSIT) is working to address the issues of food security and the separation of families in the village. LWSIT encouraged women to engage in alternative livelihood options such as mushroom cultivation with the aim of empowering women while tackling the issue of food security. Initially, 20 women and 13 men from the Resinga village were trained in this alternative livelihood technique. Over time, more and more women and men have begun to cultivate mushrooms.
Mushroom cultivation has developed into a family- and community-based venture. One hundred and twelve of the two hundred families in the village are now engaged in mushroom cultivation. Men tend to be responsible for procuring raw materials from the local market, and together the women and men prepare for the germination process.
It is no surprise that Resinga is now commonly referred to as the ‘mushroom cultivation village’.
Because of the support of LWSIT, each mushroom farmer grows 325 kg of mushrooms from 500 germinating beds. The produce is marketed in the cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack at Rupees (Rs) 110 (USD $1.75) per kg, yielding a net profit of approximately Rs 36,000 (USD $600) per month.
Despite the continuing impacts of climate change in the village, the alternative livelihood model has provided families with greater food security and a more reliable source of income. Women from the Resinga village are now able to ensure that their families have access to a balanced meal, that their children are able to continue with their education, and that the health needs of their families are addressed.