The project was initiated in March 2004 with support from the Tata Social Welfare Trust. Project activities are being implemented in villages in the two districts of Angul and Dhenkanal
Per capita income in the region is as such low and barter is still a common practice; the economy is by and large subsistence agriculture oriented; and the major source of cash income is from the sale of NTFP, the degradation of the forests and reducing productivity of agriculture make the livelihood of an average farmer all the more vulnerable in a drought situation. In the intricate relationship and influence that livelihoods, agriculture and natural surroundings have on each other, it is desirable that the interrelationships are strengthened in a holistic manner.
While agriculture provides critical opportunity to meet livelihood needs, forests play a critical role in supplementing the shortfalls and in enabling the continued practice of agriculture. In a setting where the contribution of agriculture to the household economy is irreplaceable and the very viability of agriculture is being threatened by the depletion of natural surroundings, it is imperative that the stability of agricultural production is addressed by the restoration of the natural surroundings. The improved management and governance of forests and efforts to improve the water regimes would contribute to an increased agricultural productivity as well as supplement incomes from forest produce.
The objectives of the proposed project are to improve rural livelihoods by:
- Improving the vegetative cover on forest and common lands and increasing water availability through appropriate soil conservation and water harvesting measures for an improved agriculture production.
- Strengthening institutional mechanisms that would improve the governance of natural resources and aid collective action, such that they are conducive to the poor and disadvantaged groups.
- Improving the policy environment that provides for livelihood and ecological security.