UAIL’s Project Wadi: Lending a Helping Hand for the Farmers

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Bhubaneswar:To double the income of farmers, which is a priority in the CSR engagement, Aditya Birla Group, Hindalco’s Utkal Alumina International Limited has launched Project WADI.  This is in partnership with NABARD since 2018.  It covers 17 villages in Kashipur and entails a range of activities geared towards sustainable livelihood.  These make a difference to the populace.

Mr. Mazhar Beig, Unit Head and President, Utkal Alumina, informs “The project started in 2018-19 with the aim to double the income level of beneficiaries at the end of the project period. We are quite optimistic that the project will bring about a phenomenal change in the income of famers in the coming days”.

It focuses on “improving the quality of life of rural tribal households through enhancing their income in a sustainable manner in three to six years through Agro-Horti Plantation and other income generating activities. The project is implemented in a PPP mode where NABARD’s contribution is 60% as grant component and Utkal Alumina is 40% of the grant component under its CSR fund.  The total funding is Rs465.75 lacs.

The project is based on transforming the waste lands of tribal families into productive orchards.  Additionally, it aims to provide gainful livelihood to the landless families through goat rearing.

The formation and strengthening of community-based institutions like “Udyan Vikash Samitee” is a major component to bring community ownership and sustainability.

Till date the project with 4 years of implementation has achieved many milestones, that have benefitted farmers. It has formed and strengthened 17 Udyan Vikash Samitee (UVS) engaged in monitoring, supervision of orchards and collective marketing of agri-produce. 500 tribal farmers are being trained on Waste Land development, Orchard Development, Livestock development, institution building and women development.  Over 424 waste lands have been converted into fruit orchards (grafted mango and cashew) with a survival rate of 85% in 17 villages. This project has promoted goat rearing by 76 landless families and the scale of production has reached to 620 goats (8 goats for every family). 130 acres of unirrigated land has been converted to irrigated land through solar river lift and diversion-based irrigation systems.  More than 25,948 fruit trees and 19,801 forest trees have been transplanted, generating carbon credits to offset CO₂ emissions. It is also addressing the nutritional security of the farmer families through promotion of vegetable cultivation, adds Mr. Beig.

To increase the bargaining power and to get fair prices of the produce, collective marketing through Udyan Vikash Samitee has been initiated. Financial inclusion is ensured with the beneficiaries by opening of their bank accounts and encouraging bank transactions. The average earning per farmer is Rs.3,000/- to Rs.4,000/- per month from intercropping.

As a responsible corporate citizen and driven by the constant motivation to give back to society, in Odisha, the Aditya Birla Group reaches out to more than 5 lakhs people touching over 2 lakh lives in 128 villages. The Group’s CSR is conducted under the aegis of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development chaired by Mrs. Rajashree Birla.  The Group’s vision is to actively contribute to the social and economic development of the communities in which we operate. In doing so, build a better, sustainable way of life for the weaker sections of society. And raise the country’s human development index. The Group’s CSR vision is aligned with UNSDG goals to eliminate poverty and ensure freedom from hunger.

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