The tribal households in Theni District are dependent mainly on agriculture, forests and livestock for livelihood. But, the declining forest resources, compounded by primitive agriculture practices like shifting cultivation, and mono-cropping have put the agriculture and livestock based livelihoods at risk and led to shrinking water resources. This has largely affected family income leading to rampant migration to Kerala and nearby cities leaving their productive lands deserted. Also they are cut-off from the mainstream society due to poor roads and communication, health and education and safe drinking water, which do not allow them to absorb technological and financial facilities, being provided by the government.
ARUDECS works with Paliyar and Mudhuvar Tribes in the villages of Periyakulam, Bodinayakkanur and Uthamapalayam blocks of Theni District. The communities here dependent on collection of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), daily wage labour and agriculture, which are the common source of livelihoods. Wage labour is predominant. While some tribes have adapted more easily with the mainstream social and economic patterns of development, others are behind on account of their scattered nature, smallness in numbers, remote habitation, steep elevation of the areas inhabited by them, which makes both outreach by state agencies as well their access relatively more difficult.
ARUDECS helped the tribal households obtain lands under Forests Rights Act 2006. In 2020, NABARD accorded sanction for a Project to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for these vulnerable tribal households to promote WADI model of orchard development for 316 tribal farmers identified from 13 tribal hamlets.
Based on the experience of the tribal farmers, crops grown in the vicinity, their performance, access to plant materials and access to market, a mix of trees and crops suiting to local context such as Silk Cotton, Avocado, Jack Fruit, Lemon, Clove, Nutmeg, Coffee, Cardamom, Silver Oak and Pepper were chosen for planting in one acre of land in each farm. In the same lands, to augment the soil and water resources, appropriate conservation and development measures such as field bunds, loose rock check dams, gravity hose with common water collection tanks are taken up to aid orchard development.
Registered Office: No. 114 Old Colony, Erasakkanayakkanur (Po), Chinnamanur (Via), Uthamapalayam (T.k), Theni Dist, Tamil Nadu Administrative Office: No.2, Dr. Manavalan House, Doctors Association Street, Panorama Nagar, Bodinayakkanur - 625 513, Theni Dt., Tamil Nadu
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