Tata Trusts’ Himmothan Pariyojana tackles rural poverty in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh


The people of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are highly dependent on forests and local livestock. Himmothan Pariyojana initiatives focus on improving the agro-ecosystem and thereby people's lives


Life in the rural central Himalayan regions is highly labor intensive. Women, particularly, spend most of the day collecting water, fuel wood and fodder from the forests and grasslands, tending to the animals and of course, finishing those household chores! Agriculture is rainfed in most of the region, usually just enough to sustain a family’s immediate needs. The verdant forests provide many items of daily use in the form of fodder, fuel wood, fruits, seeds, fiber, etc. Human survival here is thus closely linked to continued existence of the forests and of the local livestock, which are the backbone of Uttarakhand’s agro-ecosystem. Almost every rural family keeps livestock for manure, drought power and meeting domestic milk requirements. However, over 90% of the cattle are of non-descript, local breeds; hence, milk production is poor and there is little surplus to develop a market upon. A greater impediment to improved yields is inadequate good quality fodder. Consequently in 2008, Himmotthan, Dehradun, operationalised the Integrated Fodder and Livestock Development Project (IFLDP) in partnership with different government departments and non-profits, to increase fodder availability, decrease wastage, improve health and breeds, and to enhance livestock based livelihoods in 83 remote villages across 15 project areas in 6 districts of Uttarakhand. The project is supported by the Trust under its rural development initiative, Himmothan Pariyojana, which addresses the issues of rural poverty in the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
In Dasholi block of Chamoli district, the IFLDP is being implemented in partnership with Jakheshwar Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) – a Gopeshwar based non-profit, covering an area of 1,226 hectares and reaching out to over 300 households. Rearing livestock is the main occupation here, with sale of milk being the main income source. Villagers previously sold milk to middlemen from nearby Gopeshwar at Rs. 13 a litre, who resold it at prices ranging from Rs. 20 – 24 a litre, thus denying villagers a fair price. The middleman nexus was very difficult to break. Realizing that this could only happen if the villages came together in an organized manner, the IFLDP organised them into Village Level Institutions - Livestock Producer Groups (LPGs) - development and strengthening of which is a major intervention of the project. As of now, JSS has helped develop 22 LPGs with over 160 members, which now show savings of over Rs. 163,000. Recently, the predominantly women LPGs came together to form the 'Ma Anusuiya Milk Production and Marketing Federation', to ensure better marketing of their produce. During the first month itself, the Federation collected and sold over 2,600 litres of milk, whilst ensuring their members a price of Rs. 20 a litre.
Furthermore, aiming to increase fodder availability, a total of 14 hectares of Van Panchayat land and 9 hectares of private land was taken up for growing fodder grasses. The dovetailing of Rs. 261,000 from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) towards fodder promotion on Van Panchayat lands resulted in 86 Job Card Holders getting over 1,100 days of employment. Around 50,000 root-slips of different fodder grasses (Hybrid Napier, Tall fescue, Cocks foot, etc.) and 10,000 saplings of fodder shrubs and trees were planted on the common lands. In the very first year, grass production from these plots increased from almost nothing to 4.5 quintals / plot, a result which has tremendously increased villagers’ interest in the project.
Another issue is fodder storage and preservation for the lean, late winter and summer period, besides wastage during feeding. Demonstrations were carried out in villages on the treatment of hay and on better livestock management practices (cattle-shed renovation, trough, chaffer, etc.). “I am happy to adopt the improved feeding practices - the 40% reduction of wastage means less trekking for fodder and carrying of loads”, feels Vijaya Laxmi, an elated housewife. “I learnt how to treat hay with urea-molasses and I saw my milk yields increase when my animals were fed this with the green fodder”, pipes in a beaming Balmukund, waxing eloquent about the benefits of the IFLDP, which clearly shows great potential for revolutionalizing farming systems in Uttarakhand, mostly based on subsistence agriculture.

Himmotthan Head Office

193, Vasant Vihar, Phase-2

Behind Sri Guru Ram Rai Public School Senior Branch

District-Dehradun

Uttarakhand, India - 248006

Contact Number : (0135)- 2760728, 2761796


Himmotthan WATSAN Office

41, Vasant Vihar, Phase-2

District-Dehradun

Uttarakhand, India - 248006

Contact Number : (0135)- 2762966


Himmotthan Regional Offices
1. Kumaun Region-Almora

(Mohalla Talla Galli, Jakhan Devi, Almora, Uttarakhand India, 263609)

2. Garhwal Region Office- Chamoli

Near Petrol Pump, Gopeshwar,District Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India

3. Garhwal Region Office- Jadipani

Gram Saud, Jadipani, Chamba Block, District Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India

 
Designed and Developed by MIS UNIT HIMMOTTHAN