Agriculture is considered to be the backbone of the Indian Economy. But today it is suffering due to various reasons, such as high input costs, low returns, shortage of skilled manpower, lack of interest in farming and inclination towards white -collar jobs. Agriculture in the state of Goa too is passing through the same turmoil. In the vicinity of SESA Goa's mining operations as well, lots of paddy fields were left barren for years and villagers were discouraged from farming.
SESA's CSR group came up with a program called 'Back to Farming'. The main purpose was to assist the farming community in all possible manners, enabling them to resort back to their traditional means of livelihood (i.e. agriculture) and to promote sustainable agricultural livelihood. This project was launched in Wagona a hamlet of Kirlapal-Dabal Panchayat in the year 2005-06. Awareness programs and meetings of farmers and village panchayat members were organized. Officers of Zonal Agriculture Departments provided guidance on the best agricultural practices, improved technologies, hybrid seeds, proper application of fertilizers etc. Necessary farming materials like paddy seeds, organic manure, chemical fertilizers, irrigation facilities, fencing of fields etc. were distributed to farmers free of cost. The program helped farmers with getting Government subsidies for ploughing their fields by tractors and SESA contributed the remaining cost. The initiative also took care of the repairing of sluice gates, bandharas, bundhs etc.
About 9ha of agricultural land was revived through this program, benefitting about 70 farmer families. The sown seeds have grown to give a lush green look owing to the efforts of the farmers and the assistance of SESA. This was a great achievement for the company as well as for the farmers of Wagona village, setting an example for other villages. Getting inspired by this, the farmers Associations of Cudnem & Navelim villages too approached SESA for similar assistance. The fields of these farmers were in a similar situation; hence SESA replicated the 'back to farming' program to benefit these villages as well.