From Jacob Thundiyl, President, PREM (People's Rural Education Movement)
BACK GROUND: -
People's Rural Education Movement (PREM) has been actively working among the tribal population of Orissa for their socio-economic upliftment and empowerment of their communities. PREM is a promoter and facilitator of the communities in the process of developing viable, appropriate and sustainable livelihood alternatives for the people, which is based on their agriculture practices and which is also Eco-friendly.
In the year 1998, PREM undertook promotion of vetiver plantation in tribal villages of Orissa. Vetiver Plantation has become a necessity in tribal areas. There is high level of soil erosion and depletion of water table due to deforestation and long practices of shifting cultivation. This has created siltation problem making cultivable land barren and unproductive. Vetiver plantation is meant to check soil erosion, improve soil fertility and water holding capacity of the soil, and in the long run strengthen ecology and environment.
In the initial stage, 11 villages were selected from 10 different community
Development Blocks of Orissa for vetiver plantation. The plantations have been undertaken based on the following favourable conditions.
1. Community approach: - Acceptance of the system of developing hedges of vetiver grass as easier and cheaper method of soil and water conservation.
2. Availability of vetiver in the neighborhood.
3. Ecological condition for vetiver growth and hedge formation.
4. Red laterite Soil
The detail of each selected village is given below: -
(i) Village: Ghana Sugar Block: - Dbarakote
All the inhabitants of the village are tribals. They depend on their land for livelihood partly; and for the rest they work as daily wage earners. All the female folks were interested for vetiver plantation. The soil is a calcareous loam having less than 2% slope; rainfall is about 50 inches per year. In total 5300 meters of vetiver plantation has been planted on a slopey hill at the distance of 20 feet between rows.
(ii) Village: - Baidipadi
Block: - Begunipada
All the tribals are farmers by occupation. The soil is clay loam. The village receives 50 inches of rainfall annually. People are united and have accepted the use of vetiver hedges for soil and water conservation. They have participated actively in the vetiver grass plantation activity. In total 6000 meters of grass hedges have been planted by the village.
(iii) Village: - Lambakumpa
Block: - Sorada
The soil of the village is sandy loam. The village receives an annual Rainfall of 50 inches. The community is comprised of tribals and scheduled caste families, and they are all below the poverty line. Degraded forest area has less than 2% slope. The people have accepted the system of vetiver hedges as an easy and cheaper method for soil and water conservation. The community has actively participated in planting 7000 meters of vetiver hedgerow(iv) Village: - Kharikuan
Block: - Mohana
Kharikuan is located in a degraded forest area having 10% slope with red laterite soil. The annual rainfall is about 55 inches. People are tribals and they are all united in executing works as a community. They have very much accepted the vetiver hedges for soil and water conservation. They have also whole heartedly taken up the responsibility of vetiver plantation and its up keep. In total 17,000 meters of vetiver hedgerows have been planted on the hills slope with 20 ft. between rows.
(v) Village: - Balipanka Block: - Mohana
All the inhabitants of the village are tribals, who are dependent on their land for livelihood. They also work as daily wage earners. All the community members were interested for vetiver plantation. The Soil is calcareous loam having less than 2% slope; Rainfall is about 50 inches per year. In total 12000 meters of vetiver hedgerows have been planted on a slopey hill at the distance of 20 ft. between rows. The planting covers 50 acres of hilly land and gullies. 80 families from 2 villages have participated in the program and benefited from it.
(vi) Village: - Linepada and Biragada
Block: - Daringbadi
Both the villages are situated in hilly region with more than 2% as slope land. The villages receive an annual rainfall of 55 inches. People are tribals and they mostly depend on agriculture and daily wages for their livelihood. They have accepted vetiver hedges as a measure for soil and water conservation, in total 17,000 meters of vetiver hedgerows have been planted in these villages.
(vii) Village:- Cbandragiri
Block: - Mohana
Chandragiri has red literate soil having more than 2% slope. Annual rainfal1 is 60 inches. People are tribals and they are farmers by occupation. They are also hard working. They have accepted the vetiver hedges as means for soil and water conservation. They are fully involved in the program. The PREM's central vetiver nursery has been developed at Chandragiri. This will supply planting materials (vetiver grass) to other areas in future.
(viii) Village: - Palleri
Block: - Nuagada
All the farmers are Tribals and they are very hard working. The village has degraded forestland all around having 10% slope. The people depend upon agriculture. They have very much accepted vetiver hedges as a suitable method of soil and water conservation. They are all united in executing community works. The village receives 60 inches rainfall annually. There was high level of soil erosion due to non-stop shifting cultivation for years. 17,000 meters of vetiver hedgerows have been planted in this area and in between farmers have incorporated inter-cropping with fruit plants and pulses. This is helping to enhance their income.
(ix) Village: - D4borkona
Block: - Padmapur
The village has red laterite soil and more than 10% of landmass is slope. It receives 60 inches rainfall annually. People are tribals and they live on agriculture and daily wages. They practice community approach to development. They have accepted the vetiver hedges as an appropriate measure for soil and water conservation.
(x) Village: - Ckmasari
Block: - Gunupur
It is tribal village having red laterite soil and more than 10% of the landmass of this village is slope. People are tribals and they depend on agriculture and daily wages. They are all united as a community. The village receives 60 inches rainfall annually. The people have actively participated in vetiver plantation. They have accepted this to be a very effective step for checking water and soil erosion. Vetiver grass is planted in the paddy field along side the bund. It is a relatively flat area. There are rivers and rivulets flowing a cross the area and there is high degree of soil erosion due to constant flooding of the area. In total 15,000 meters of vetiver hedgerows have been planted in these villages with the active involvement of 150 families.
(xl) Village: - Miirka
Block: - Dasruantapur
The farmers are tribals and they are united as a community. They are very poor and live on agriculture. They have accepted vetiver hedges to control soil erosion and conservation of water. The soil is red laterite with 10% of the area being slope. The village receives 50 inches rainfall annually. The villagers have participated in the vetiver plantation program. The soil erosion in the area is one of the highest in South Orissa due to total deforestation. The livelihood of the people has been greatly affected by this which has resulted in low fertility and low productivity of land giving rice to low income. 23,000 meters of vetiver hedgerows have been planted in these villages
(xii) Village: - Lanlcaput
The villagers are Paraja tribes and they live as a community. They are farmers by occupation and generally poor. They depend on agriculture and daily wages for their livelihood. The soil is red laterite. The village has 10% slope land out of the total landmass. The village receives 60 inches rainfall annually. They have accepted the method of formation of vetiver hedges as a measure for soil and water conservation. In Koraput all the hills have become barren due to deforestation and over exploitation of hilly land for cultivation. 20,000 meters of vetiver hedgerows have been planted in these villages. The distance between rows is 20 ft. with inter cropping of oil seeds and pulses. This plantation has become a model for the entire district and the local government and the NGOs are showing interest for replication of the work.
TRAINING PROGRAMME: To execute the scheme of vetiver planting, awareness camps were conducted at the villages, which have taken up vetiver planting. The training programs were organized on different dates in the month of June'98, facilitated by a team of experts in the disciplines of agriculture, soil conservation and forest.
All the inhabitant of the villages gathered in one place, where they were given training, which included distributing handbook on vetiver plantation and displaying posters and charts. Necessary vetuver demonstrations were conducted and shown to the people.
The content of the training program included the following subjects: -
PROGRESS IN VETIVER PLANTATION.
The following table shows the progress of vetiver plantation in all the 12 villages of 10 blocks: -
|SI. No.||Name of Blocks||Name of villages||In Meters|
|I.||Dharakote||1. Ghana Sagar||5300|
|3.||Daringibadi||1. Linepada & Biragada||17000|
|7.||Sorada||1. Lamba Kunipa||7000|
The total linear length of vetiver is 146,000 meters. This represents, at an average of 500 meters of hedgerow per ha, an area of 293 ha protected by vetiver grass system. The average cost per ha protected was Indian Rps 690 or approximately US $20 per ha. Of this $14 per ha was for the cost of transportation of vetiver planting materials to villages. The cost per meter planted was 4 US cents per meter.
Conclusion: The vetiver grass planting program has been well accepted by the tribal population of PREM's operational area in South - Orissa. People have taken active part in planting, fencing and up keeping of the vetiver plantings. This effort has already shown result. Its capacity to prevent erosion of topsoil is apparent and has been taken note of by the participant communities themselves. In places it has been able to arrest the menace of gully and ravine formation. In all these places people from surrounding areas have been making special trips to the vetiver planted fields to see the benefit themselves. In some areas farmers have started planting vetiver on their own land without outside help. The model vetiver plantings developed by the participant communities in 10 Blocks (administrative area like a sub district) will go a long way in spreading the message of the benefits of vetiver among the tribal people of Orissa. PREM on its part is committed to promote vetiver plantation in its project areas in Orissa. In fact vetiver plantation has become a key component of its DFID (UK) aided Agroforestry project in Gajapati District.