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IMPACT: Farmer Extension (Escort) Services

Besides the uncertainty of climate and weather, extreme weather and climatic events such as severe droughts and/or floods lead to reduced agricultural production. New opportunities are available now for agricultural diversification to higher value products (e.g. forestry, horticulture, livestock) and related services.

BTTL’s Agro Forestry initiative encourages farmers to go for Agro Forestry systems and plant trees with their agri crops. Trees are less vulnerable to climate changes and price fluctuations as compared to the agri crops. New research in multiple cropping systems has resulted in farmers earning more income from their land as compared to single crop cultivation.

The information on Agro-Forestry systems is communicated to the farmers in advance to enable them in better decision making. It aids in better economic, social and environmental outcome for farmers.

Farmer Awareness Programmes are organised by the Extension Services wing of BTTL in the target villages of the catchment area of BTTL Plantation Programme. The programme seeks to make the farmers knowledgeable in commercial Tree Planting, the cost benefit analysis of multiple cropping, the current market prices of wood, to help them to make informed choices for cultivation in their land.

The awareness programmes are organised through mass group and individual contacts:

  • Kissan Melas/Goshties
  • Participation in Farmers’ Fairs
  • Excursion/Field visits to demonstration plots and centers of excellence
  • Village level meetings, group contacts and contacts with individual farmers

 

Team BTTL regularly interacts with farmers on a one to one basis to explain all aspects of its Plantation Programme. Experts are invited in the farmer meetings to share their experiences and to address the queries of the farmers. A very important part of the awareness programme is the exposure visit by farmers to the successful Agro Forestry project sites and interact with farmers to know their experiences.

On receiving farmers consent for plantation, technical guidance is provided for raising and maintenance of plantations until maturity. Saplings are supplied based on climate and soil conditions of the area.

It is the company’s endeavour to give farmers the best plants suitable for the soil and climatic conditions in the land and technical guidance to raise plantations with higher wood yields and returns.

Recently BTTL Agro Forestry work with tribals in Bastar district of Jagdalpur has been selected for “World bank 2013 INDIA DEVELOPMENT MARKET PLACE AWARD.”

Tribal communities constitute nearly 70% of the total population of Bastar. Most of the community does not find employment all year round. In the Bastar plateau, irrigation coverage is only 1.2 percent. The low productivity of tribal land and the absence of alternate employment opportunities result in high incidence of poverty in the area.

The Pilot project was taken up in Tokpal and Derba blocks of Jagdalpur covering seven villages. The undulating land in the region is of poor soil quality and of variable soil depths. A complete soil profile study was done prior to land approval for planting. Pilot was done in 100 acres of rain-fed farm lands owned by tribal farmers. A total of 67 farmers benefitted, of which 37 are women.

In implementing the programme, BTTL partnered with Forest Department in Hariyali Prasar Yojna for free supply of plants.

 


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