Pratapgarh is a recently carved out district of Rajasthan. Falling in an area where the Aravalli mountain ranges and the Malwa plateau intersect, the region is characterised by ecological features unique to both the regions. Grazing lands and forest lands form an important part of the landscape, with forests lying typically on the slopes of the hills and the valleys and tableland under agriculture. About 80% of the people in the area are tribal communities belonging to Meena and Bhil tribes. About 53% of the population lives below the poverty line.
In drought-prone rain-fed areas, the integrated watershed development approach finds value in strengthening livelihoods and ecological health, and is a means of ensuring holistic development by addressing the micro drivers of change in a comprehensive manner. These micro drivers of change (soil and nutrient properties, biomass availability, water availability, land use, social and institutional capability, technological adoption, patterns of demand and supply, natural resource usage, economic status and energy availability) influence and are in turn influenced by the varied livelihood strategies (agriculture, livestock, production of other materials, labour and migration, biomass, energy, landscape and environmental management and agro-ecosystem function) prevalent in the rural landscapes.
This project involves watershed planning over a few thousand hectares of land in the rain-fed areas of Pratapgarh district in Rajasthan, which include both off-farm and on-farm interventions to improve the productivity of farm lands as well as the commons. It covers groups of contiguous villages in the identified areas, some of which coincide with the ongoing projects, while some other are newly initiated in adjacent areas as a natural extension. Enhanced biomass and water availability through appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures, and revegetation of common lands would go a long way in boosting agricultural productivity and animal husbandry. Further, this project aims to assist communities in effectively integrating agriculture and natural resource management, and regulating the demand for biomass and water through rules, regulations and mechanisms evolved by community institutions at village and inter-village levels. Efforts of the FES team are directed towards building and strengthening the institutional processes at the habitation, village, Panchayat and federation levels to set in place processes of local self governance. Special focus is on enhancing the participation of community members, especially the poor and marginalised, in the planning and implementation of watershed development work in the region.
FES joined hands with the Indo-German Watershed Development Project of NABARD and ITC-Rural Development Trust (RDT) to implement the watershed development project. The IGWDP is an integrated programme for rehabilitation of watersheds for the regeneration of natural resources. The programme is implemented by the Village Watershed Committees (VWC- a body nominated by villagers), in association with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)