Agri led Interventions
In May 2016, Agri led interventions were launched to provide small and marginal farmers with additional sources of income and provide them with additional livelihood generation opportunities through bee-keeping, Backyard Poultry, multi cropping and creating direct / market linkages for NTFP crops.
In the first phase, the major focus is on increasing crop yields by adopting modern techniques of farming. 39 farmers in three villages, Hardua, Hrideypur and Nimani were identified and training programs on enhancing the productivity of Urad (Black Gram) and maize. Financial assistance in input costs was also provided.
12.48% productivity increase in Urad (Black Gram) and 21.92% increase in Maize production was registered leading to an income enhancement of about Rs. 5 lacs through simple techniques like seed treatment, and fertilizer application/management. The same set of farmers are now being trained on Chana and Wheat to register higher crop yields.
As a part of providing the farmers with additional sources of livelihood, 3 farmers are cultivating Aloe Vera in 3 Acres land under contract farming where the produce will be purchased. The baby plant harvest is expected in the month of November 2018 which would give these farmers a revenue of at least Rs. 1 lac and subsequent harvests every 4 months on each acre of land under cultivation. The team looks forward to bringing more farmers in the fold and later setup value addition units to supplement income levels of youth and marginal farmers in the village.
Another farmer, Nandlal Barela, has also been provided with a thresher under the program as another source of livelihood. Nandlal Barela acts as a local Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE) where he has invested 20% as down payment in the Village Farmer Group and balance to be paid in 4 equal installments. This VLE will provide the threshing services in these 15 villages at a nominal rate and pay his installments to the Village Farmer Group while making his share of profits in the due course.
LIVELIHOOD IN BUXWAHA
Some outstanding work was done in the area of CSR over many years in and around the Bunder Project by Rio Tinto. Since Rio Tinto has exited from the project, Mrida was introduced in the picture to take over the community engagement and identify new and innovative ways to carry out development activities to generate maximum, sustainable, and scalable impact.
The objective of this program is to continue engaging with the community where Rio Tinto has already worked and design/introduce some new interventions like empowering women by skilling them in different areas and helping them create market linkages of the output, enhancing income levels of the villagers by introducing new techniques in farming to improve productivity and reduce costs, building and implementing successful business models to
empower people at the base of the pyramid and enhancing rural infrastructure through the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs).
Since the area is hit by acute water shortage, establishing direct/market linkages for NTFP produce and skilling the villagers in Bee Keeping, backyard poultry and other sources that are not too dependent on water is also a part of the program.
Working on these objectives, Mrida identified 3 major activities ranging from agriculture led interventions, Skill Development to Infrastructure/Other development initiatives. A village level survey was done in all 15 villages and 5 villages were identified for conducting direct programs to enhance their income levels and to provide them with sustainable livelihood opportunities.
Stitching as a livelihood opportunity emerges as a logical and attractive option, building on already existing commitments to develop these Villages as MPowered Village. The objective of this initiative is to facilitate employment and income enhancement at the Base of the Pyramid (BOP), while also increasing community involvement and the ‘Village GDP’.
Under this initiative, two stitching training centers have been set-up in two villages; Nimani and Majhora to provide six months of basic stitching program. So far, 25 students have been enrolled in both the stitching centers where trained professionals teach groups of interested women preliminary stitching skills – machine operation, cloth cutting, and basic stitching of apparels, bags and other merchandise. Once the basic stitching program is done, interested students can be taken for advanced training program to transform them into entrepreneurs.
In general, the entire process not only provides them with skills, but also increases their confidence level as they engage with outsiders.
While Agri led interventions and skill development are the major activities being carried out in the catchment, various other interventions are being carried out to supplement holistic development. Private Tuitions/Coaching is being provided to 14 students in Village Nimani where students are preparing for Novadhya Vidyalaya Sangathan entrance exams in Feb’18. Market / direct linkages are being established for the above activities and various value addition and processing units are being explored for educated youth, marginal farmers and women folk.