Bhubaneswar: Project WADI of Aditya Birla Group, Hindalco’s Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL) has proved a successful helping hand in augmenting the income of farmers in 17 villages under Kashipur block of Odisha’s Rayagada district.
Started in partnership with NABARD since 2018, the project is implemented in a PPP mode with 60% as grant component from NABARD and Utkal Alumina’s 40%. The total funding is Rs 465.75 lakh.
The project is based on transforming the waste lands of tribal families into productive orchards. Additionally, it aims at providing gainful livelihood to the landless families through goat rearing. It focuses on “improving the quality of life of rural tribal households through enhancing their income in a sustainable manner in three to six years through agro-horti plantation and other income generating activities.
Mazhar Beig, Unit Head and President, Utkal Alumina, said, “The project was started with an aim to double the income of beneficiaries. We are quite optimistic that it will bring about a major change in the income of famers in the coming days.”
The formation and strengthening of community-based institutions like “Udyan Vikash Samitee” is a major component of the project to bring community ownership and sustainability.
Under the project, 17 Udyan Vikash Samitees (UVS) have been formed and engaged in monitoring, supervision of orchards and collective marketing of agri-produce. Around 500 tribal farmers are being trained on waste land development, orchard development, livestock development, institution building and women development.
Over 424 waste lands have been converted into fruit orchards (grafted mango and cashew) with a survival rate of 85% in the villages. This project has promoted goat rearing by 76 landless families and the scale of production has reached 620 goats (8 goats per family).
Besides, 130 acre of unirrigated land has been converted into irrigated land through solar river lift and diversion-based irrigation systems. More than 25,948 fruit trees and 19,801 forest trees have been transplanted. It is also addressing the nutritional security of the farmer families through promotion of vegetable cultivation.
To help the farmers get fair prices of their produce, collective marketing through Udyan Vikash Samitee has been initiated. Financial inclusion is ensured for the beneficiaries by opening their bank accounts and encouraging bank transactions. The average earning per farmer is Rs 3,000 – 4,000 per month from intercropping.
The Aditya Birla Group has reached out to more than 5 lakh people in 128 villages. The Group’s CSR is conducted under the aegis of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development chaired by Rajashree Birla.
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