In an attempt to provide employment to members of the tribal community and put a check on their migration from the State, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is readily involving members of the community in horticulture at Gomia Block of Bokaro District under its WADI project.
The project was started in this financial year in eight villages of the block and covers around 200 acres of land. Each WADI ((Wasteland Development in India), spread over 1 acre of land, includes 45 Mango saplings, 20 saplings of Guava and 140 sapling of Border plants, which include Sal, Sesame and Sagwan.
NABARD’s Chief General Manager (CGM) Ashish Kumar Padhi said that WADI development is a flagship programme of NABARD for livelihood creation of tribal families. “It provides year round employment opportunities thus leading to reduced migration. It also enhances entrepreneurial skills of tribal women through nursery management, vermicompost, backyard poultry and kitchen gardening,” he added.
NABARD established a dedicated Tribal Development Fund (TDF) with initial corpus of Rs 50 crore out of its profits in the year 2003–04.
Vilas Sathe, the Secretary of a Non Government Organisation, Gramin Sewa Sangh, which is working on implementation of the project, said that the WADI model is an agri-horticulture based sustainable livelihood model that makes farming profitable even on small farms.
“A WADI is developed as a 1 acre mini orchard with around 100 fruit trees of guava, mango or other varieties suited to the region. The space between the fruit trees is used for growing seasonal crops and the periphery is bio-fenced with forestry, or timber species. A combination of cattle proof trenches and farm bunds around the periphery help conserve soil and water and keep grazing animals at bay,” said Sathe.
In Jharkhand all 24 districts have been covered under Tribal Development Fund, where WADI (orchard) is a core component for impacting the economic development of the tribal areas. Till now, a total of 43 projects have been sanctioned to provide lasting livelihood support to more than 29000 tribal families.
Sathe said that as tribal people love plants, this project has the potential to be very close to their hearts.
“The project is very successful at Patratu Block in Ramgarh District, where it covers a total of 1000 acre of land, which has provided employment to around 2000 tribal people. A total of 60,000 plants of Mango, 20,000 plants of Guava and 140,000 plants of Sagwan, Gamahar, Sesame have been sown. The project was started in 2015-16 and has already started bearing fruits. The farmers are also doing inter cropping on the land and producing a large quantity of vegetables and other fruits like water melon. Through only inter cropping they earn Rs 50, 000 to Rs 60,000 in a year,” Sathe.