Enhancing incomes through farm-based activities: The Nabard Wadi Project
As part of its overall sustainability plan, Gene Campaign’s efforts are on to explore possibilities of linking its community empowerment and development activities to government programmes with similar aims to enable the activities to be continued even after it exits.
The National Bank for Rural Development (Nabard) is a Government of India institution which has been facilitating credit flow to promote and develop of agriculture and integrated rural development. It also supports all other allied economic activities in rural areas that promote sustainable rural development.
The Wadi project of Nabard is an integral part of its natural resource management policy. It emphasizes supporting holistic development of tribal communities with orchard cultivation as the core element. The central focus of the project is the development of a wadi (small orchard) together with suitable soil conservation, water resource development measures and other measures for improving the quality of tribal life such as community health and sanitation, women development, institutional development, etc.
The Wadi programme is not only a programme for providing food security and ecological restoration, but it is also a strong foundation to build the local capabilities to initiate other community development programmes for socio-economic development. It is a programme demonstrating the feasibility of ecological restoration with poverty eradication. The impact of this programme is to be measured in terms of additional employment generation, increase in the family income, and reduction in migration, food security, good health, improved literacy, greater awareness and high values as well as provides sustainable income, clean environment and better quality of life. Given that this outcome complements Gene Campaign’s mission empower and enable rural and adivasi communities, in 2011, it began a wadi development programme with Nabard at one of India’s most developmentally backward states, Jharkhand.
Jharkhand is also home to 32 indigenous tribes, all of whom are marginalized and are facing high food and livelihood insecurity leading to more than 30% of the population migrating to towns in distress. The project area is 41 tribal villages that has more than 50% tribal population in the Ormanjhi block of Ranchi district.
Activities: Wadi project, Jharkhand
1. Empowerment and technical capability building of communities
The focus is on empowering grassroot tribal associations and groups including women and other marginal groups, so they become more capable of planning, implementing and managing their own development and of negotiating with relevant authorities to harness the necessary resources.
Their management and decision making capacities are being built by combining indigenous wisdom, knowledge and traditional values of communities with modern and relevant information and know-how. Their training includes broad based awareness-creation on tribal rights, as espoused by the Panchayati Raj Legislation and on Gender & Equity issues, legal and managerial strengthening, legal literacy, programme planning, implementation and management.
2. Livelihood Systems Enhancement
Based on their needs, interests and capability the community is provided a choice of livelihood interventions in the farm and off-farm sectors to the community. The intervention covers all production-related activities as well as enabling measures, namely land and water management, including community-based small infrastructures; production systems improvement; rural micro-finance; and health and nutrition. For example:
Land and Water management
Enhancing land productivity and checking land erosion.
Enhancing water management at village level for land and moisture retention and water conservation measures.
Creating and strengthening of irrigation facilities.
Production System Enhancement
Establishing of nurseries for horticultural plants, medicinal plants and social forestry tree.
Developing orchard keeping in view environmental conditions and market
Improving crop production.
Creating of more employment through productivity enhancement in agricultural land
Promoting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI ) technique for rice cultivation to save water and reduce methane emissions.
Improving Livestock Production by investing know-how in the management and setting up of piggeries, poultry, apiaries (for bee keeping), etc.
Promoting piggeries, poultries, and apiaries by forming common interest groups.
Increasing the availability of fodder to enhance the nutritional status of animals.
Training villagers in basic animal husbandry.
Provide technical support for these activities.
Formation and Promotion of self-help groups (SHGs) and farmer club, including facilitating the formation of clusters of SHGs and farmer clubs,
Entrepreneurial training for women beneficiaries.
Entrepreneurial training for members of farmer club beneficiaries.
Organizing and conducting participatory workshops involving bank staff and community members with a view to improving access to formal Financial Services.
Nutrition and Health
Awareness creation on health, hygiene and nutrition particularly for children and pregnant women.
Establishment of health and nutritional gardens at household level.
3. Programme Implementation and Management
Development of training material, planning exposure visits, study tours, technical assistance, and capacity building for the community is underway along with specialised and baseline and endline studies for tracking progress.
A committee comprising representatives of all tribes including youth and women in selected natural villages are overseeing the programme. A committee functions as core group and is guided and trained by Gene Campaign. The tribal community through these committees assess their development needs, pinpoint training needs and help in proper implementation of the project. Some of the training needs underlined so far are Group Management & Development, Orchard Development & Management, Crop and vegetable Cultivation, Livestock Management & Enterprise ( Poultry, Piggery, Bee keeping ), production of Vermi Compost/ Organic Compost, Non Farm Income Generation Activities and Agro-bio-diversity conservation.