Ravi. P. Benjamin
The project will create permanent livelihood for them
The Tribal Welfare Department along with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) has launched a massive plantation programme aimed at reaching out to two lakh tribal families for making them economically independent.
The scheme launched under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in 2011-12 had targeted to reach two lakh tribal families in a 5-year period by promoting either of the four plantations to help them eke out a permanent livelihood in their one hectare or a maximum of 2 hectares lands of their own. The four plantations include coffee, cashew, silver oak and mango. Each tribal family can choose one out of the four plantations for creating economic assets on a permanent basis. Tribal Finance Corporation (TRICOR) is extending financial assistance of Rs.20,000 per acre and the Department of Tribal Welfare is extending 100 percent subsidy on the loan component. The beneficiaries of the scheme can develop their own farm lands using the NREGS component of wages for farm labour for three years. Under the scheme the beneficiaries are eligible for payment of 3-year maintenance costs. The beneficiary farmers are supplied plant materiel, grafts and organic manure making the total scheme 100 percent financed by the government. In the first year a maintenance of Rs.20,000 will be given followed by Rs 7,000 and Rs.8000 for the subsequent second and third years.
Horticulture Officer Ramanjaneyulu told The Hindu that in 2012-13 cashew will be planted in 1,500 acres, coffee in 7,000 acres, and silver oak in 20,000 acres. This apart the farmers will also go in for inter crops, including vegetables, turmeric, and pepper, for earning regular income as the above mentioned plantations have a gestation period running into 3-4 years. The target fixed up to 2015-16 year based on feasibility studies include coffee plantation in 27,209 acres benefiting 25,357 farmers, silver oak in 34,124 acres benefiting 35,455 farmers, mango in 23,758 acres benefiting 22,948 farmers, cashew in 4,289 acres benefiting 4,846 farmers, and other horticulture crops in 4,117 acres benefiting 4,846 farmers.
A survey had been conducted in the Paderu agency area at the mandal level in all the 11 Agency mandals by the agriculture and horticulture officers to identify the beneficiaries and their socio-economic conditions. ITDA project officer Srikanth Prabhakar is pulling all strings to make the massive programme a big success.