Society

NGO Hand in Hand India familiarises tribal families with horti-agri forestry

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Fruitful ventures for Tamil Nadu’s tribals: NGO Hand in Hand India hopes to provide tribal families in Jawadhu Hills additional income by familiarising them with horti-agri forestry

Did you know that most families in Tamil Nadu’s Jawadhu Hills are led by single women?

Reason: the men often migrate to other cities looking for work; the Jawadhu Hills are known for their sandalwood and red sanders and are rife with smugglers. This often leads to families losing their menfolk, leaving the task of fending for their families to the womenfolk.

This is where Hand in Hand India, an NGO that works towards rehabilitating children and destitute women, steps in. One of their programmes that deals with natural resources management, focuses on green livelihood development.

Through this, they have reached out to over 17,000 farmers across the country; the tribal people in Jawadhu Hills are one of their focus groups. Here, in association with NABARD and Supraja Foundation, the city-based NGO has been working on livelihood projects as part of which they encourage people to step into horti-agri forestry.

“We encourage them to plant trees such as mango, pomegranate and papaya, which leads to both afforestation and provides them an opportunity to earn a living from the produce. Deforestation is a major problem in the area,” says Sahaana Sankar, vice president, Hand in Hand India. “With most families losing their menfolk, their livelihoods are precarious. Through this programme, we encourage them to get back on their feet.”

NGO Hand in Hand India familiarises tribal families with horti-agri forestry

Krishnan N, chief operating officer, Hand in Hand India, adds that this is a great way for families to earn an additional income. “We also have a farmers-producers organisation in the area and farmers can supply fruits to this organisation as well. Here the fruits are processed to produce fruit pulp,” he says, adding, “We want to target 200 such families through this programme.”

To this end, the organisation has now launched a Plant a Tree campaign on Give India to raise funds to help make livelihoods accessible to these families. “It might be called Plant a Tree, but the campaign goes beyond it,” says Sahaana, “We are training women-led households on sustainable livelihoods; of which, horti-agri forestry is a part. Family members can also work in the processing unit.”

The processing centre works with produce such as honey, fruits and millets (especially little millet or samai, that the area is known for).

Hand in Hand India works on educating these families on sustainable agricultural practices such as multi-cropping, organic farming, drip irrigation and launching farmer schools for introducing them to some of the latest agriculture practices for the past few years.

The Plant a Tree campaign, on the other hand, was launched a few weeks ago (and will run till mid-January) with the aim of giving the programme a boost. They have zeroed in on a group of women in the age group of 20 to 45 years, living in below-poverty-line conditions. The programme will provide them a long-term income-generating avenue through their own orchard of fruit-bearing trees.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:41:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/ngo-creates-fruitful-ventures-for-tamil-nadus-tribals/article30494446.ece

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