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Mr. Mahadev Ghularam Kodape of Mutry village, Vidarbha Maharashtra is a small tribal farmer totally dependent on planting seasonal agricultural crops in a part of his rain fed land and earning subsistence livelihood. He was approached by BTTL extension staff and motivated to raise eucalyptus plantation. In 2006 Mr. Kodape came forward for eucalyptus plantations but his financial conditions was such that he could not do it on his own. BTTL assisted Mr. Kodape to obtain loan for Bank of India under Agro Forestry scheme and Mr. Kodape planted 2 acres of land under the guidance of the extension staffs with planting material supplied by BTTL. Based on the type of soil he has in his farm land, Mr. Kodape was supplied with eucalyptus clones that would perform best in his field. Till harvest BTTL was in constant touch with the farmer, providing him guidance and educating him in maintenance of the plantations. At the time of harvest, BTTL provide Mr. Kodape with market information facilitating him obtain the best prevailing prices for his produce. After harvesting his plantation, with the income from Mr. Kodape repaid the loan, arranged his son's wedding and further planted 2 more acres of his land with eucalyptus saplings purchased from BTTL from his own sources. With the success of his plantations, Mr. Kodape helped BTTL to spread awareness about the benefits of plantations motivating other farmers to plant.


Jagbandhu is a 41 years old farmer having 4 children living in a tribal village of Odisha state adjoining Chhattisgarh. He stays with his old aged parents and children taking care of them. Due to a tribal and under-developed geographical terrain, agriculture is the primary source of income generation for people. Few years back, they did not have proper source of income as agriculture on their barren land could not provide them returns on their investment. For investing in crops production, they used to take loan from the local moneylenders on high rate of interest which was difficult for them to repay. The annual income was around INR 75,000. He was unable to send his two children to schools for education, children were frequently facing common illnesses and family members jointly faced all sorts of common households’ problems including lack of adequate food. In absence of adequate income, Jagbandhu and his spouse used to work as daily wage labourers which was also not regular and forced them to look for other livelihoods options. Jagbandhu had a dream of having a concrete house for his family and good schooling for the children. Due to the hard living conditions, he was unable to arrange average basic needs of his family. He did not have money to invest either in agriculture development or in any other livelihood options.

One day BTTL team got a chance to meet Jagbandhu while undertaking the promotion of technology based pulpwood plantation (Eucalyptus) through the farmers’ participation and providing quality planting material support with technical guidance and facilitation for the bank loan for the poor tribal farmers. BTTL had full understanding of benefits of pulpwood plantation for the tribal farmers which BTTL wanted to promote in order to help these poor, resource-less farmers.

With the help of Jagbandhu, BTTL organized a farmers’ meeting in his village to interact and mobilize farmers for the pulpwood plantation followed by an exposure visit for the select representative farmers. Jagbandhu was one of the farmers in the group who visited BTTL plantation areas and got a chance to interact with farmers experienced their harvesting of the plantation. Post all the BTTL initiatives, Jagbandhu expressed his interest for the plantation after convincing his parents and family members for pulpwood plantation. He was supported by BTTL for the plantation on 3 Acres of barren and sloppy land and a bank loan facilitated by BTTL. After the initial support, BTTL continued its follow-up and extension services to ensure that Jagbandhu follows all the guidance.

Jagbandhu continued with BTTL’s technical support and during the 5th year, he realized that plants are ready for the first harvest. He harvested the plantation and sold the pulpwood to the outlet of a paper mill at their supported rate and earned INR 0.4 million (INR 3.9 Lacs). He was literally trembling and surprised having such a huge amount of money which he never dreamt of in his whole life.

Again, BTTL officials guided him on how he can use his money and invest for the future. Jagbandhu purchased a Tractor on loan by paying INR 2.1 lakh as down payment which he uses for his land and rent out to other farmers on nominal rates. The results of the income generated from the plantation are manifold that changed his life. His children are studying in a good reputed schools pursuing quality education; food intake or dietary patterns have changed (now consume non-vegetarian food very often), saved INR 1 lakh for his daughter’s wedding; renovated his old house. He kept on adding pulpwood plantation in 2-3 acres per year either on his own or lease land. The continuous income has now made him a true entrepreneur who owns a 4-wheeler, Gold ornaments for spouse and electric pump set for irrigation. Over the time, he has become an ‘harvesting agent’ and engaging labour for harvesting of pulpwood using mechanical equipment and now a preferred employer for many labourers throughout the year in and around his village. This tremendous change in his life style has encouraged other families of the village to follow his path.

 

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