‘Lakhpati tribal kisans’ have started emerging in Jharkhand, Gujarat, Odisha and Maharashtra in the last two years, thanks to the farm initiatives of Tata Trusts in 450 villages. The boost in farm income has been possible with the Trusts educating and training tribal households in small groups on maximising resources for getting higher agri-output and producing demand-driven produce to get remunerative prices.
These initiatives are being undertaken for the last two years in Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat and Maharashtra under its five-year mission programme — ‘Lakhpati Kisan – smart villages’ that began in 2015. “As of now, we are working in 450 villages in four states. We have impacted 1,00,000 households, out of which 15-20 per cent are lakhpati kisans,” said Ganesh Neelam, executive director of the Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiative (CInI), an associate organisation of the Trusts.
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The annual income of these households was less than Rs 50,000 earlier and there has been a good improvement in their income and “the concern now is to sustain the income level”, he told PTI. The aim is to cover a total of 560 villages in eight states and benefit 1 lakh tribal households by 2020. Similar initiatives will soon commence in four other states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and West Bengal.
On the challenges being faced by tribals, Neelam said that the Trusts’ focus has been on strengthening community institutions, bringing tribal communities out of poverty and providing better livelihood options. Without divulging the funds spent on the programme so far, he said that the Trusts is working closely with the state governments to achieve the desired results.
Getting good quality agri-inputs, irrigation, electricity, market linkages among others are still a challenge for tribal growers. These gaps are being addressed by promoting hi-tech nurseries, use of solar energy for irrigation and farm machinisation, he daid.
By 2020, the Trusts aim to help 1,00,000 tribal households sustain annual income of Rs one lakh, he added.