FIVE YEARS AGO, BANUDAS SARAK CULTIVATED HIS BARREN FARMLAND, PRODUCING A SINGLE CROP JUST ONCE A YEAR.
By 2015, his crops multiplied, yielding 12 months of work and an additional $8,000 in annual income.
Sarak is one of many near Phaltan, India whose lives have improved significantly because of Cummins India’s “Model Villages” program.
“I am thankful to Cummins for showing the way,” Sarak said. “There is no looking back.”
When the Cummins India Megasite opened in 2011, it was equipped with all the latest technology. Nearby villages, however, lacked many of life’s basic needs, including water, hygiene, agriculture and education. To address those needs, Cummins employees partnered with area residents shortly after the Cummins campus opened and, together, built a strategy for sustainable growth.
Model Villages started in Nandal, which receives an average of just two inches of rainfall per year. Such droughts led employees and villagers to create wells and a small barrier sometimes called a “check dam” to preserve monsoon rains.
They also built drip-irrigation systems to water crops in a way that conserves water, and education classes to improve farming techniques. Sarak was one of the farmers who attended.
Three years later, Nandal has harvested 43.6 million liters of water. Cummins India teams replicated the dams and wells in six more villages in 2015.
“Once, the villages around the Megasite were dependant on water tankers during summer, and today they are almost tanker-free,” said Sunil G. Bathe, Cummins’ project leader for Model Villages. “Water availability has brought new meaning to farmers’ lives – a simple solution for a major crisis.”
Seven miles away in Mulikwadi, 30 percent of farmers live below the poverty line. To aid their livelihoods, a check dam was completed in 2015, bringing higher water levels to eight wells and adding 70 more acres of cultivated farmland. And just as in Nandal, Cummins employees followed their agricultural assistance with education initiatives.
Only 77 percent of children had attended school in Mulikwadi. To encourage higher enrollment, in 2015, Cummins employees upgraded a nearby school’s roof and bathrooms and incorporated e-learning software with the government-approved curriculum.
Meanwhile, in the village of Manjarsumba, Cummins employees installed 45 biogas stations that run on cow manure, reducing deadly indoor air pollution from burning wood. In the Nimgaon Bogi village, two check dams were completed, harvesting about 3.6 million gallons of water.
Employees in Rajoda built on their 2014 water efforts by constructing a pedestrian bridge to give village students a safer pathway to school. And in Karwasa in 2015, Cummins’ village partnership de-silted two ponds, resulting in the harvesting of 1.57 million gallons of water.