Chaman Bibi is a resident of village 206/E-B, Vehari district of South Punjab, Pakistan. There are nine people in her family (two boys, four girls, two women and one man) also includes one widow. Awareness-raising sessions at the village, under the Climate-Smart Village Food Facility Project, made her realize the need to learn new skills. Practcal implementation of these learned skills increased her income and ensured food security for her family. Before her selection as a beneficiary of the project, she was a farmworker. However, after the Farmers’ Integrated Development Association (FIDA), in collaboration with Penny Appeal Pakistan, started a project to support the smallholders and landless families, Chaman bibi also got herself enrolled for learning new cultivation techniques. Chaman bibi did not have any farmland, and the idea of vegetable gardening on leased land appealed to her. After the training, she started to apply her new skills on a small piece of land that was acquired on lease by the project and allotted to her for five years. She converted that small piece of land into a vegetable and fruit garden, by making ridges to cultivate vegetables and fruit plants. She also installed structures to utilize vertical space to increase land area and vegetable production. She shares her experience, the project provided me one kanal agricultural land to grow vegetables and fruit plants. They supported me both technically and financially, through providing vegetable seeds, fruit plants, and all the other inputs required for growing vegetables along with one goat and four poultry birds. After only 41 days, my vegetable garden was ready for harvesting. Before being a part of this project, my family used to purchase vegetables from the market, but now, my vegetable garden is saving me approximately PKR 200 daily, as we do not have to buy vegetables from the market anymore.
Chaman bibi also learnt how to use leaves of the Neem tree as an organic pesticide. She has already grown many different vegetables in her small garden. She has cultivated spinach, pumpkin, bitter gourd, okra, eggplant, zucchini, apple gourd, kidney beans, cluster beans, cucumber, mint, and coriander among others. Chaman bibi’s newly learned vegetable gardening skills are not only helping her to ensure the food security of her family but also bringing in extra income, as they sell the surplus vegetables in the market. The project has helped Chaman bibi in saving PKR 28160.00 in single month, and this amount is under her control and she can use this as per her own wish”