A NABARD-funded Integrated Tribal Development Project at Pachamalai under implementation by Hand in Hand, a non-governmental organisation, holds out promise of improving the socio-economic status of tribes in Pachamalai.
Initiated in 2014, the project is aimed at reaching out to 1,322 tribal farmers for setting up orchards on Pachamalai hills straddling Tiruchi and Salem districts. It has made significant contribution to their livelihood and enabled them to earn ₹30,000 to ₹40,000 a year.
NABARD recognised the project as one of the best community farms for promotion of socio-economic growth of the tribes with an award at its annual foundation day in Chennai recently.
“The award is a boost to the tribes, who work hard to make the project a success. They have become familiar with the concept and ideas,” says project manager V.P. Elumalai.
The key objectives achieved through the project include improving quality of life of resource-poor tribal families, providing livelihood intervention through promotion of agri-horti-forestry combination, increasing agricultural productivity through promotion of appropriate technologies, improving the socio-economic condition of women and other socially-challenged section and reducing migration and improving health and sanitation among the project community.
The objectives have been achieved through orchard development, soil and moisture conservation, water resource development, sustainable agriculture, green livelihood grant support, women development, health and sanitation, and training and capacity building by Hand in Hand India with the support of the village planning committee, Mr. Elumalai adds.
NABARD, which sanctioned ₹6.9 crore for the project, has extended the project by a year by floating Pachamalai Organic Farmers Producer Company with representatives of the tribal community as directors. The company will continue to produce organic products and market them even after the project period.