Pydathalli’s one hectre of land in Anthriguda village in Dumbriguda mandal remained barren for some years. Lack of guidance and resources reduced her field to a waste land and she has resigned herself to live the life of a daily wage labourer. However, The Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Tribes Finance Corporation (TRICOR) initiative to make the tribal farm lands productive brought relief to her. She has planted mango and cashew on her land last year and the plants are now two metres tall and are expected to bear fruits in another year to 18 months. Meanwhile to keep her family going she had been growing vegetables as an inter crop which is fetching good amount of money.
About 20,000 tribal families like Pydithalli had been covered in the 11 tribal mandals in the district under an economic uplifting programme involving horticulture plantations in a minimum of 1 hectare plantation per family promoted by TRICOR in cooperation with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), in the just concluded 2012-13 financial year.
In another one year to two years, the tribal farmers will be creating economic assets which will generate a permanent income to them on a seasonal basis. Until the completion of gestation period of 2-3 years, the farmers are sustaining themselves by raising inter-crops like vegetables, pepper or turmeric.
The horticulture scheme aims at reaching out to one lakh tribal families in a four-year period. Mathsyaraju from Mimumuluru village in Paderu mandal said that a fairly good rainfall last year helped the coffee and silver oak he planted on his one hectare of land to grow well. Clusters of farmers in selected villagers have undertaken plantation like Mathsyaraju and are hopeful of experiencing a turn around in two years.
As an intercrop he is growing pepper and turmeric which is sustaining his family of four. Mathsyaraju says that TRICOR scheme has turned the plantation programme into a family enterprise and all the family members are working on the plantation.
TRICOR is extending financial assistance of Rs.20,000 per acre and the Department of Tribal Welfare will pass on100 percent subsidy on the loan component. The beneficiaries of the scheme can develop their own farm lands using the NREGS component of wages for farm labour for three years. Under the scheme the beneficiaries are eligible for payment of 3-year maintenance costs. The beneficiaries are supplied plant materiel, grafts and organic manure making the total scheme 100 percent financed by the government.
In the first year Rs.20,000 will be given towards maintenance followed by Rs 7,000 and Rs.8000 for the subsequent second and third years . Horticulture Officer Ramanjaneyulu told The Hindu that during 2013-14 year 30,000 hectares will be covered and by 2014-15 year the remaining 50,000 hectares.