The Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Tribes Cooperative Finance Corporation (TRICOR), in cooperation with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), is in the process of identifying beneficiaries under a horticulture scheme aimed at reaching out to one lakh tribal families.
The programme launched under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in 2012-13 is meant to benefit these tribal families in a two-year time frame. Depending on the necessity programme implementation will be stretched to 2015-16 year to realise the target of covering the one lakh families. Of the total two lakh tribal families one lakh families are already raising horticulture plantations on their lands.
Each family should raise coffee, cashew, mango and silver oak on an hectare of land and eke out permanent livelihood. The Department of Tribal Welfare will give 100 per cent subsidy on the loan component. The beneficiaries can develop their own farmlands using the NREGS component of wages for farm labour for three years. Under the scheme the beneficiaries are eligible for payment of three-year maintenance costs.
The beneficiaries are supplied plant materiel, grafts and organic manure making the total scheme 100 per cent financed by the government. In the first year a maintenance of Rs.20,000 will be given followed by Rs 7,000 and Rs.8000 for second and third years .
Horticulture Officer Ramanjaneyulu told The Hindu that in 2012-13 cashew would be planted on 1,500 acres, coffee on 7,000 acres, and silver oak on 20,000 acres. Farmers would also go in for inter-crops, including vegetables, turmeric, and pepper, for earning regular income as the above mentioned plantations have a gestation period of 3-4 years. The target fixed up to 2015-16 year based on feasibility studies includes coffee plantation on 27,209 acres benefiting 25,357 farmers, silver oak on 34,124 acres benefiting 35,455 farmers, mango on 23,758 acres benefiting 22,948 farmers, cashew on 4,289 acres benefiting 4,846 farmers, and other horticulture crops on 4,117 acres benefiting 4,846 farmers. A survey had been conducted in the Paderu agency area at the mandal level in all the 11 Agency mandals by agriculture and horticulture officers to identify beneficiaries and their socio-economic conditions.