Empowering tribal farmer collectives through livelihood interventions


Tribal Livelihood Program- Building on the learnings of the previous work done by VCF in the Tribal region, a comprehensive program has been created in the Alluri Sitaramaraju district. Multiple livelihood pathways have been planned to increase the income levels of 10,000 tribal households over a span of five years.

This project aims to:

  • Turn Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) into profitable institutions and enable their sustainability through effectively governed community institutions.
  • To promote women as service providers and entrepreneurs.
  • To introduce climate-smart technology to community members;

Maa Thota Project – VCF in collaboration with NABARD is working with 1000 Tribal households in the Rajavommangi mandal of Alluri Sitaramaraju District. The project focuses centrally on the orchard of one acre called “Maa Thota” with multiple crops planned in a way to give constant income over the years.

This project aims to:

  • small orchard development in 1 acre of a family with fruit/plantation crops & forest plants as the core component covering 1000 acres
  • To create critical irrigation sources through Water resource development and Soil & water conservation works
  • Create on-farm and off-farm income-generating activities
  • Income enhancement through multi-layered livelihood interventions
  • To promote a collective approach through the formation of cooperatives and producer organizations

Agricultural Technological Partnership with Tel-Aviv University Israel - Tata Trusts and VCF in association with Tel Aviv University, Israel and Irrigation system providers conducted productivity enhancement demonstrations in horticulture crops on a pilot basis to increase farmers’ net income through the diffusion of Israeli technologies and innovations in agriculture.

The innovations piloted were:

  • Tal-Ya trays demonstration -  a polypropylene tray that covers a plant's root system, directing water and fertilizer straight to the root while simultaneously protecting the surrounding earth from weeds and extreme temperatures were installed in the sweet lime orchard, Tomato, Drumstick and Mango farms, it helps in saving resources such as water, fertilizer, and weed killers.
  • Salicrop demonstration - To address the problem of low yield due to Saline soil SaliCrop has developed a non-GM seeds treatment that stimulates a specific epigenetic response of the plant which enables crop growing and yielding in high salinity soils or when irrigated with brackish water.
  • Supplant demonstration – Collects real-time sensor data from farms and provides continuous actionable feedback to optimise irrigation.

Rural Prosperity Mission (Lakshadikari Rythu) - The Lakshadhikari Rythu program is a multi-thematic intervention layered around the farm livelihoods with the key objective of enhancing income. This was launched on 9th December 2017 and was piloted among Tribal families in Sarabavaram, Lododdi, Badadanampalli GPs in Rajavommangi Mandal, ITDA Rampachodavaram.

Major support provided by VCF included:

  • Capacity building and training in a package of practices for Cashew & Paddy cultivating farmers.
  • Provided handholding on cashew marketing and introduced moisture meter for quality checks and provided leads for forward linkages from Maharashtra & Odisha cashew manufacturers.
  • Backyard poultry and homestead vegetable nursery was promoted among SHG-VO members
  • Hydraulic Ram Pumps were installed in the farms which are an innovative, eco-friendly and low-cost solution towards enhancing incomes of tribal farmers.

Turmeric Value Chain - VCF in collaboration with IISR had facilitated training and workshops on a package of practices to the farmers of the FPO. VCF carried out the following activities:

  • Set up demonstration plots with a raised bed, bio-inputs, intercropping, drip irrigation etc
  • Organised buyer seller meets in collaboration with the Spices Board of India and AP Horticulture Department.
  • Set up primary processing infrastructure for boiling and polishing of turmeric.
  • Enabled market linkages with exporters

Animal Husbandry - Initiatives in this sector were Breed Improvement for Buffaloes, Osmanabadi Breed Introduction in Goats, Embryo Transfer Technology & In-vitro Fertilization for cattle, and Backyard poultry.

Bee Keeping: The objective of this initiative is to ‘encourage sustainable livelihoods by providing poor farmers, SHG Women with increased and diversified opportunities of income’ VCF initiated the Bee-Keeping, hard skills and soft skills training programs initiative during 2018.

The formation of the Farmer Producer Group registered under MACS with such high numbers and in a short time was a successful intervention. To assist farmers and FPO in better marketing of honey, VCF carried out aggressive marketing activities to promote the honey produced by the FPO under the brand name of ‘Aranya-Pure Chittoor Honey’.