Malkangiri: In an attempt to provide long term sustainable income to the members of the tribal community and put a check on their migration from the State to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched ‘wadi’ (meaning a small orchard of one or two-acre with multiple crops) programme in Manyamkunda panchayat under Kalimela block in Malkangiri district, once a Maoist heartland.
Nearly 500 tribal families of Kusumput, Potteru, Dokunda, Rajgiri and Manyamkunda villages have planted mango and cashew saplings on high lands belonging to them under ‘wadi’ programme.
“Following demand from various quarters NABARD has started Wadi programme in Manyamkunda panchayat from this year. Manyamkunda was earlier a Maoist dominated area and there has been very little development here,” said Dharmendra Beuria, DDM, NABARD.
The project period of this programme is six years and this is the first year of the programme, Beuria added.
“Our target is to ensure that 500 tribal families are benefitted. Each family has been taken as a unit. Fruit trees will be planted in one acre of highland belonging to each family.Forty cashew saplings and 37 mango saplings will be planted. Since cashew and mango will give good returns after 4-5 years of planting, we estimate that each family will have a minimum income of one lakh per year,” the DDM said.
Beuria said that since they are not able to generate any income in the first few years they are being given support for cultivating inter-crops like vegetables.
“Manyamkunda was Maoist dominated area once. There was no development in that area. NABARD with the help of Netajee Development Society has taken up plantation activities and are also cultivating moong (green gram) etc as inter-crop, I believe through these activities there will be socio-economic development of the people,” Mala Madi, Chairman, Kalimela Block.
“Officials of NABARD and Netajee Development Society approached us to plant fruit trees in our land so that we can earn a few bucks to educate our children. We agreed and with the help of Netajee Development Society, we planted the saplings in our land. We are growing moong, millets as inter-crop,” said a beneficiary.
The NABARD website says that based on the successful experience of Adivasi Development Programmes, NABARD embarked upon an ambitious program of replicating the ‘wadi’ (meaning a small orchard of one or two acre with multiple crops) model across the country.
In this direction, Tribal Development Fund (TDF) was created by NABARD with an initial corpus of Rs 50 crore, out of its profits for the year 2003-04. The Fund has grown over the years and the credit balance as on 31 March 2020 was Rs. 1143 crore.
The projects under TDF are implemented by partnering with State Governments, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), NGOs and corporates. A comprehensive tribal development programme having small orchard as the core component (wadi) is being implemented for improving the livelihood of tribal population.