Natural Resources Management

The lives of the rural people revolve around natural resources. Its management has a lot to do on their lives. Their livelihood is determined largely by the Non-Timber Forest Produces (NTFP) like Mahua flower, Char, Harida, Bahada, Tol , sal and siali leaves etc. They procure NTFP both for consumption as well as selling. But since the last few decades this sector is failing to sustain their lives. The same is found in agriculture sector also. Absence of irrigation, poor land quality make agriculture non remunerative. In both forest and agricultural produces the people suffer distress sale.

Most of the lands in Kalahandi district are upland with low productivity. Irrigation facility is almost non-existent (less than 15% against the state average of 30%), land right is not clear and there are many villages which are on encroached land even if people have been staying there since generations. The pre-eighties settlement failed to reach these unfortunate people. From the legal perspective the women have the right over land. But there is no land right in the name of women. These are the problems found in land sector and this has reduced agriculture a great deal. In case of forest also the same trend is found. The tribal people have been living in close proximity with nature. Nature forms an integral part of their lives. But there are a number of restrictions imposed upon them so far as their usufruct right is concerned.

The tribals are under continuous threat of being displaced. Leaving their forest abode is the last thing these people can accept. In addition to this people are restricted to collect NTFP, move around in the forest, collect fuel wood etc. The situation is similar in other forest area also. But it is ironical to note that illegal tree felling still goes unabated and unfortunately the forest officials seem unconcerned. But on the other hand the poor tribals who are basically forest dwellers are debarred from their natural rights. Life here moves around water since the region has an agrarian economy.

But irregular rain, bad water management, monopoly of the big farmers over traditional water bodies and lack of irrigation facility has brought life to a grinding halt. Seba Jagat has tried to address the issue in various ways. It has initiated micro watershed in some villages. It has provided financial support to the self help group members to dig well, farm punds, procure pump sets, prepare bio-fertilizers through different compost method, purchase seed, undertake land development etc. This has solved the matter to some extent. But still there is lot to be done in this regard.

Seba Jagat organizes training, workshops seminars, orientation programme, village discussion meeting etc. to sensitise the community on their rights over land, forest and water. People are trained to take part in joint forest management, community forest management, promotion of Eco village to protect their forest. They have also developed some awareness so far as selling NTFP is concerned. As far as land right is concerned there has been some break through. Some landless people have been allotted government land and some more have applied for land rights. Even women have got joint entitlement rights in some cases. In order to make people get their own rights and claim for the same before the government we make continuous effort.

The goal of the Natural Resource Management programme of Seba Jagat is to establish a food self reliant society where people are able to control and manage their own livelihood systems to improve their quality of life. In pursuing this goal, the Organisation through its sincere efforts has tried to achieve the following objectives in last 3 to 4 years of works in 102 villages of the 3 project regions.

Ensuring participation and control of women in Agriculture process and assets.

  • To enable small and marginal farmers to actively participate in the process of development and equip them with information, skills and technologies to meet the growing challenges.
  • To achieve ecological security of the village commons through bio physical, institutional, geo hydrological and ecological interventions.
  • To work towards landscape level planning and management for developing livelihood assets in two of the Gram Panchayats of the M.Rampur Block.
  • To increase productivity and profitability of land.