Sujalam Sufalam Initiative
Underdevelopment, poor infrastructure and limited natural resources place Eastern Uttar Pradesh low on the development index. The predominantly rural population depends on agriculture for subsistence, but erratic irrigation due to alternating floods and droughts and exploitative market systems make agriculture a low-profitable venture. Oppressive social systems add to the factors that have stymied development in the region.
Recognising that strengthening of civil society is necessary, the Tata Trusts have formed strong partnerships with NGOs and other stakeholders with proven institutional and programmatic capabilities to undertake systematic development work.
The Sujalam Sufalam Initiative is a Tata Trusts-supported network project that aims to increase average per household income by Rs50,000 within a period of 3 years. A part of the Trusts’ Eastern Uttar Pradesh (EUP) initiative, the programme covers 1,788 households living in 27 villages of Sirsiya block in Shravasti district. The primary goal of the programme is to improve the quality of life and ensure sustainable livelihoods for the target demographic.
The project area, a strip of land at the Himalayan foothills, is often flooded during the Kharif season due to the overflow from the hills; contrarily, lack of water and irrigation facilities stunts crop cultivation and productivity during the Rabi and Zaid seasons. The programme, implemented on the ground by Grameen Development Services (GDS), establishes linkages between the government agriculture and horticulture departments in Shravasti to mobilise support for the target farmers through various state schemes.
- Promotion of high-value crops: The coverage area of onion, a preferred high-value crop, was increased. Farmers continued to use ALR variety seed made available by National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF). Five storage rooms made of bamboo were constructed in four villages to enable the growers to fetch fair prices for their produce.
- Crop Productivity Enhancement (CPE): The farmers have shifted to the cultivation of pulses due to the unavailability of sufficient irrigation. Pulse production was upscaled.
- Initiatives for additional crops: Potato, ground-nut and vegetables are being promoted to enhance farmer income.
- Convergence with state schemes: Two women self-help groups (SHGs), mainly represented by Tharu women, formed a farm machinery bank under the state’s Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation. This enabled the SHGs to earn a net income of Rs214,847 in less than nine months.
With the support of the Trusts, GDS aims to cover another four blocks in the next phase of the Sujalam Sufalam project.
Area of Operation: Eastern Uttar Pradesh
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