Drought Proofing Perennially Drought Prone Villages [India]

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Reporting Entity: India

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights: No

Completeness: 89%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

Drought Proofing Perennially Drought Prone Villages



Reporting Entity:


Property Rights

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights:



Prevailing land use in the specified location

  • Cropland
  • Grazing land
  • Woodland
  • Uproductive land
  • Human settlement

Contribution to Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) measures

  • Prevention
  • Mitigation
  • Adaptation
  • Rehabilitation

Contribution to the strategic objectives

  • To improve the living conditions of affected populations
  • To improve the conditions of affected ecosystems

Linkages with the other best practice themes

  • Capacity-building and awareness-raising
  • Participation, collaboration and networking


Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)

Short description of the best practice

Rain water use and storage
Eco friendly sustainable agriculture
Develop waste land, sloppy land and forest land (control of erosion loss Kitchen gardens  for nutritional security
Testing of SRI and mixed cropping )Soil conservation, land shaping, pasture development, vegetative bunding


Western Orissa

If the location has well defined boundaries, specify its extension in hectares:


Estimated population living in the location:


Brief description of the natural environment within the specified location.

Red and yellow soils in association with black soils are found in Paikmal. Occurrence of black soils could be attributed to limestone parent material in these areas and such materials transported by Ong river and its tributaries.
Topography is undulating. At the ridge crest
are the upland and at the upper slopes the bunded
and unbunded lands are locally called as 'Att' and
'Mal' respectively. Valley bottom lands  constitute lowlands are called 'Bahal'; lower valley
side lands constituting the medium lands are called
Climate of district is characterised by a very hot dry summer and well distributed rains in the south-west monsoon season. Cold season commences from Nov & lasts till February end. Hot season is Feb- June. South-west monsoon season is from mid-June to the end-September.

Prevailing socio-economic conditions of those living in the location and/or nearby

Main income sources: - Agriculture is the primary income source with 70% families depending on it. Daily wage and non-timber forest produce (NTFP) sources are the second.  
70% landed with marginal and medium holding the most; 30% are landless. Poor soil condition, high land degradation, high soil erosion because keep the productivity very low and the poor suffer the most. Distressed out migration has become a regular feature of the area.|
Land ownership correlates with control over other resources in this area. In some pockets land ownership is there but the actual land owners are in acute poverty condition. Due to other related socio economic condition people mortgage the land in low prices for maintenance or survival.

On the basis of which criteria and/or indicator(s) (not related to The Strategy) the proposed practice and corresponding technology has been considered as 'best'?

Consensus evolved during the National Consultation process.

Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice

Main problems addressed by the best practice

• Increased variability of Rainfall and Temperature
• Post monsoon rainfall, particularly October rainfall
• Mean temperature rises, which may cause less rice yield.
|• Increasing episodes of drought.
• Vulnerable food production that’s dwindling fast.
• Drought in the forests and decreased nutrition intake of the villagers.
• Increased distressed migration.
|Only Environmentally sound technology is not enough to ensure Sustainable Agriculture
Economic, political, and cultural developments, even if far removed from the farm and village level, oppress the life of farmers and the farming community.
|Poverty can only worsen if farmers are not protected by a proper policy environment that insulates them from destructive technologies, abusive creditors, exploitative traders, usurious land tenure arrangements, gender bias, and disempowerment

Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice

The topography of the area, which is at the foothills of Gandhamardan hill ranges, one of the biological hot spots on the Eastern Ghats, is such that with little disturbance (including changing weather condition) in the vegetation cover on the hills and lands below it the land get severely eroded.  |

Specify the objectives of the best practice

Increase fertility of soil through multiplicity of ecological interventions that include water harvesting; land leveling; organic fertilizer and manure use; proper forest conservation and management; livestock management.|Increase water retention capacity of the villages by harvesting as much as rainwater as possible and promoting judicious and equitable distribution and management of the water resources.|Promoting ecologically sustainable agriculture practices and land management activities that help increase agricultural productivity; maintain crop diversity; promote indigenous climate resistant techniques and ensure equitable distribution among all the villagers including landless people and vulnerable sections like women and aged.  |Promote awareness and institutional capacity building -to spread education on impacts of the project so that scope of replicability enhances and more and more land can be reverted back from getting degraded under the current process of desertification.

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

Land leveling, bund strengthening, etc|Water harvesting at crop field level|Preparation of organic manures, fertilizers; seeds conservation and preservation; seeds bank formation, etc.
Short time period for sowing rainfed crops in residual moisture. |Pre rabi crop coverage. Short duration varieties of rabi crops. |Good forest management to help promote soil carbon retention by selecting species best suited to the changed climate and by adopting practices that increases forest productivity and reduce carbon losses.
Gully plugging; small water harvesting structures|Renovation of different types and kinds of traditional water bodies; restoring wells|Institutional arrangements to manage and distribute water from common property resources.

Section 4. Institutions/actors involved (collaboration, participation, role of stakeholders)

Name and address of the institution developing the technology

Manav Adhikar Seva Samiti (MASS)|Dhanupali, Sambalpur 768 005, Orissa, India

Was the technology developed in partnership?


List the partners:

Lok Bikash Manch (A district level NGO network promoted by the project)|Pragati Mahasangha (people’s federation promoted by the project)|Farmers Clubs ( periphery villages of Operational village)|MIC ( Migration Information Center)

Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted

  • Local initiative
  • Programme/project-based initiative

Was the participation of local stakeholders, including CSOs, fostered in the development of the technology?


List local stakeholders involved:

WORLP ( Western Orissa Rural Livelihood Project)|Watershed department programme of Govt. of Orissa.|Block Agriculture department|Pani Panchayats.
(These organisations have participated in the programme in different capacities from time to time)

For the stakeholders listed above, specify their role in the design, introduction, use and maintenance of the technology, if any.

Most of the institutional stakeholders have participated in the programme at various times at different roles, mostly in visiting the programmes, learning from it and suggesting measures.  For the people’s and civil society organisations involved they have participated in it as learners & replicator|

Was the population living in the location and/or nearby involved in the development of the technology?


By means of what?
  • Consultation
  • Participatory approaches


Section 5. Contribution to impact

Describe on-site impacts (the major two impacts by category)

Land based netting system irrigation in farming land has contributed maximum rain water in productivity field. Improvement in non-farm sectors along with farming sector has created employment opportunity for at least 200 unemployed youth in the area.
Water retention capacity of traditional water harvesting structures of the villages has increased by at least 40 per cent.  Some local streams, which were on the verge of extinction, have started flowing again|
By the use of forest , improving land, human resource and skill 1000 families have got alternative income avenues under farm and non-farm sectors. Decreased migration has helped in increased production in crop fields by 50% as a result of increased manpower in production.|
Access of needy villagers to schemes and entitlements such as the NREGS , Old Age Pension; Indira Awas Yojana; Antodaya and Annapurna schemes; agriculture insurance; Mo Jami Mo Diha; Janani Surakshya Yojna; forest development , Water, Public Distribution System (PDS, FRA ( Forest Right Act) etc|
Now 50 women self help groups have been able to save an amount around six lakh rupees and carrying out small scale business (agriculture, forest based and other types) successfully under a federation formed with support of the project.  At least 300 women have directly benefited |
Degradation of land & soil has been checked to a maximum extent.  At least 400 ha of land has been developed, restored and brought back to productive agriculture.  Forest coverage, water retention and ecological agricultural practices have improved the soil condition. |
Wild life species, especially bird species have re-emerged in the area with increased forestry and water coverage.|
Socio-cultural empowerment of the people has happened

Describe the major two off-site (i.e. not occurring in the location but in the surrounding areas) impacts

Water Initiatives Orissa, a network of civil society and other stakeholders, has promoted this type of activities, taking a clue from here, in many other places of the state.  The model has got widespread media coverage including a recent special feature in the NDTV.|
Peripheral villages of the project area have taken up similar efforts and in other parts of the block and district; even in nearby districts this model is being followed

Impact on biodiversity and climate change

Explain the reasons:

While the temperature of western Orissa is rising in a trend that is more than the state average, the impact of the increase is directly falling on the forest and soil productivity.By making a cushioning impact through these combination of efforts the project is successfully coping to climate change|

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?


Section 6. Adoption and replicability

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?



At Jujumura Block in Sambalpur district|At  Padampur Block in Bargarh district through the network ‘Lok Bikash Manch’ by 13 local NGOs|In Paikmal Block, in at least 12 peripheral villages of the project area.

Can you identify the three main conditions that led to the success of the presented best practice/technology?

The continuous drought condition in an area where drought was not seen before had already made people so much vulnerable that they were looking for some direction to fight this situation.  This became the first condition for achieving success in this model.  
Traditional water harvesting and management techniques have been a rich heritage of the entire central highlands including this area.  Any region with such traditional knowledge and techniques can replicate this approach with small local technological and social additions/adaptability approaches
These villages have been champions of forest protection traditionally, therefore, when the project talked about forest protection and management as one of the important components to arrest desertification, the people easily agreed to it and got organized|


In your opinion, the best practice/technology you have proposed can be replicated, although with some level of adaptation, elsewhere?


At which level?
  • Local
  • Sub-national
  • National

Section 7. Lessons learned

Related to human resources

Community Resource Person strategy, that was applied in the project, is a community to community cross learning approach. It is now established that poor can meet most of their needs by coming together. It is with this conviction many institutions of the poor have been promoted in the project.  This will bring sustainability|Human resource, with appropriate knowledge, skills, abilities and aptitudes, is very crucial for not only delivering the goods and services for poor but also for the sustainability of these institutions. In this context ‘project objectives’ tried to understand the variety of human capital required and the scale in which it is required to work with/for the poor in meeting the needs of the latter. Our learning in this was successful|The project involved a cross section of people and institutions like women, farmers, tribal, dalit, teachers, Self Help Groups , Farmers club, Panchayatiraj representative, minorities, local activists, local persons having traditional, medicinal man (Badya) for successful implementation.

Related to financial aspects

Such projects need long term financial commitments from donors, which unfortunately, we did not get from any corner|The government programmes that have been integrated into the project are having the problem of lack of flexibility in approaches.  That makes it difficult in real integration. Still the project has tried to integrate it to substantial success levels|Promoting low cost (financially) technologies that the people themselves can manage has been a good experience.  This also has vast replicability

Related to technical aspects

Using local technologies not only revives some of the age old sustainable models of development but brings back the confidence level in the poor farmers who have, over the years, lost all faith in their own capabilities.  The project achieved very good success in this|The nation needs to develop several low cost technologies based on non-conventional energy sources which we think is lacking at the moment.  If such technologies can be developed and promoted widely they could successfully integrate into local technology to arrest the process of desertification and mitigate climate change wonderfully

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