Agro-horticultural Intervention for productive utilization of barren Land    [India]

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Reporting Entity: Gramin Vikas Trust

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

Completeness: 94%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

Agro-horticultural Intervention for productive utilization of barren Land   



Reporting Entity:

Gramin Vikas Trust

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

  • Uproductive land

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

  • Prevention
  • 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
  • DLDD and SLM monitoring and assessment/research
  • Participation, collaboration and networking


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

Short description of the best practice

In eastern part of India agriculture is rain fed and the prevailing livelihood pattern is characterized by seasonal employment and consequent seasonal migration to urban area in search of employment. The dwindling forest resources have jeopardized agriculture and livestock productivity due to shrinking of water resource and poor fuel and fodder supply. The fragmented, un-irrigated and monocropped agriculture holdings and low productive livestock population do not offer adequate opportunity for their livelihood. The WADI approach which literally means small orchard is a model adopted by NABARD – GVT in Bandwan block of Purulia district. The WADI consisted of mango & cashew as fruit crop with forestry species on the periphery of land holdings. While the fruit plants paved the way for income generation in five years the forestry species provide a wind break and also act as a shelter belt besides meeting the fuel, fodder and small timbers needs of the participants of the family. It also helps in reducing the pressure on existing forests. It has ensured the productive utilization of barren /unutilized land. It has increased vegetative cover through intercropping in the WADI which acts as additional income of the families in the project villages.|


62 villages of Bandwan block in Purulia district of West Bengal (India)

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.

The block is characterized by undulated topography as a result nearly 50% of the rainfall flows away as runoff. The district is covered by mostly residual soil formed by weathering of bed rocks
Bandwan block in Purulia lies between 22.60 degrees and 23.50 degrees north latitudes and 85.75 degrees and 86.65 degrees east longitudes. The geographical area of the district is 6259 km². Purulia is the westernmost district of West Bengal with an all-India significance because of its tropical location, its shape as well as function like a funnel. |
Average annual rainfall varies between 1100 and 1500 mm. South west monsoon is the principal source of rainfall in the district. The relative humidity is high in monsoon season, being 75% to 85%. But in hot summer it comes down to 25% to 35%. Temperature varies over a wide range from 7 degrees Celsius in winter to 46.8 degrees Celsius in the summer. Record highest temperature is 54 degrees.|

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

Agriculture & agricultural labour is the primary source of Livelihoods for tribal people.
Land ownership is generally in the name of male members. Though in a very few cases, women have the ownership of the land, but they have no power to sell the land independently. In most of the cases the decision making power are with male member, but in some of the cases women’s view are also taken into consideration.|
The level of income of the people living in the location is very poor and variations are found due to distress situations like failure of crops, drought, etc. People usually migrate to other parts of the country in search of livelihood and adopt different coping mechanisms to secure cash and food throughout the year. |

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'?

Development of horticultural land use as soil conservation measure was adopted as covering the barren soil and minimizing soil erosion due to wind & rain thus conserving soil in the project area. In this system mixed horticultural crops including perennial fruit plants, vegetable crops, tuber crops were planted in 400 hectares to conserve the soil and maintain greener environment. It not only addresses the sustainable land management but also conserves the ecology of the area and enhances biodiversity per unit area. |

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

Main problems addressed by the best practice

                                                           1. Productive utilization of wasteland through agri-horticulture model.
                                                           2. Conservation of soil through development of horticulture land use.
3. Water conservation through development of small water retention structures.
4.  Reduction of pressure on existing forest.

Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice

The soil topography being not suitable for agriculture practices is best conserved through Wadi concept wherein the planting of trees will address soil conservation and soil moisture retention along with floor management with leafy vegetable crops. This in long run will make the barren wasteland into productive crop fields.

Specify the objectives of the best practice

1. Better use of unproductive land
2. Improvement of soil health
3. Water Resource Development & Soil & Water Conservation

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

Better use of unproductive land
1. 1000 small orchards of one acre of land in identified tribal farmers of project area were developed. Keeping in view the soil type and the climate of the project area following species has been identified for plantation:-
Fruits Plant : Mango and Cashew
Water Resource Development & Soil & Water Conservation
1. Renovation & development of water bodies, water harvesting structure like well, check dams etc.
2. Boarder forestry plantation in the periphery of WADI undertaken with a view to prevent soil as well as wind erosion.
Improvement of soil health
1.  The green cover improves the soil health through addition of organic matter into the soil.
2.  The conservation of soil moisture improves its availability to the vegetative cover.

Short description and technical specifications of the technology

Within the context of improving land and water productivity, wadi is pivoted around a hardy fruit tree species that has potential post-harvest processing and marketing linkages.
The WADI concept was introduced to prevent migration of the community and to utilize the local resources to its fullest extent. It covers the issues of natural resource management like conservation of soil, water & forest resources. It addresses the economic upliftment of the community through fruit plants & intercropping.|
Care is taken to plant adequate number of fruit plants and forest trees as per the species recommended. Also, the per hactare plantation addresses, to some extent, the issues of tree outside forest (ToF) under forestry guidelines. It also acts as a source of carbon sequestration.|

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

Name and address of the institution developing the technology

Gramin Vikas Trust (GVT)|Regional Head Quarters (Eastern India)
212, Pani Jahaj Kothi
Kanke Road, Ranchi-834008

Was the technology developed in partnership?


List the partners:

1. National Agricultural Bank for Rural Development
2. Village Community

Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted

  • Programme/project-based initiative

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


List local stakeholders involved:

Village Community

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

The programme is implemented in villages in farmers field and their capacity building is done to run the programme sustainably. The villagers are organized into farmers club / Samitis to run the programme. The programme cycle is of seven years wherein the returns of the horticultural plants comes from fourth years onwards and can continue upto 40-50 years thus addressing the livelihood issues of the families.

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


By means of what?
  • Participatory approaches


Section 5. Contribution to impact

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

The widespread problem of mass migration mitigated through adoption of technology.
The issues of soil & water erosion appropriately addressed through plantation activity and crop management.
The women are also equally involved in the programme and capacitate themselves in taking active part in decision making process.
The per family income enhanced by an additional income of Rs. 10000-15000 per annum
The productivity of the land is enhanced by introduction of cropping practices in the wasteland.
The environmental issues of air pollution and carbon sequestration also addressed.
The tribal communities are characterized by their love for forest & natural habitats. The technology provided increase in forest area and availability of natural abode to the community enhancing their cultural values.
The production of horticultural crops.

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

The problem of soil, water and air pollution is addressed by the technology. |
Farmers in the vicinity of the project area are also adopting same technologies and developing mini orchards with improved agri and silviculture system in their backyard space.  

Impact on biodiversity and climate change

Explain the reasons:

The planting of horticultural trees and forest trees species act as a sink of carbon thus resolving the air pollution cause due to industrialization process in global perspective. The green cover also acts as soil binder and a reason for precipitation.
The planting of horticultural trees and forest trees species act as a sink of carbon thus resolving the air pollution cause due to industrialization process in global perspective. The green cover also acts as soil binder and a reason for precipitation
The cropping pattern introduced acts as resource of enhanced floral biodiversity whereas the man made forest acts as a niche for faunal diversity.

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?



1. Average cost per acre of WADI including in-situ soil & moisture conservation, water resource development works out to Rs. 35000. Cost per WADI family including all the components of development, and contingencies works out to Rs. 35000 per family.
2. The family of five members earn Rs. 7500 from farm and Rs. 7500 as seasonal labourer and as migrant labourer.  Family needs minimum of Rs.25000 for meeting the basic requirement like food, clothing and health etc. The deficit Rs 10000 can be met from return from horticulture and forest species.
3. The Financial Rate of Return (FRR) for one-acre wadi for 1 to 20 years of the project period works out to 20% respectively. The FRR of the project taking into consideration aggregated costs and benefits for the 20 years of project period works out to 18%.

Section 6. Adoption and replicability

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?



1. Bero & Lapung blocks of Ranchi, Jharkhand, India|2. Chainpur block of Gumla district, Jharkhand, India|3. Sunderpahari block of Godda district, Jharkhand, India|4. Manbazar-II block of Purulia district, West Bengal, India|5. Rajnagar, Dubrajpur and Khairasol block of Birbhum district of West Bengal, India

Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?

Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?


Specify which type of incentives:
  • Financial incentives (for example, preferential rates, State aid, subsidies, cash grants, loan guarantees, etc)

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

Plant specification as per the agro climatic condition.
The replicability of the technology in reclamation of wastelands and fallow lands.
Social acceptance of the farmers community.


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


Section 7. Lessons learned

Related to human resources

1. The individual response in adoption of technology varies from farmer to farmers depending on the level of motivation, resources available and their orientation towards the venture.
2. The intervention being family centric is easily adaptable and involves equal responsibility of both men & women members of the family.
3. The technology also helped to develop human capital in terms of Para professionals for dissemination of the technology in surrounding villages.

Related to financial aspects

1. The usual pattern of migration and poverty stricken condition is appropriately addressed as the family is duly motivated to stay in the village and earn their livelihood through the technology.
2. The technology has been a tested cost-effective model of preventing land degradation and earning livelihood.
3. The technology addresses both short term & long term income generation activities through adoption of crop cultivation and horticultural produce and its value added products.

Related to technical aspects

1. Adoption of new technology for the promotion of traditional farming activity ensured for the well being of tribal families.
2. The technology involves not only agriculture intervention but it can encompass animal husbandry, apiary and aquaculture for additional income of the families.
3. The technology also takes care of holistic development of the villages through development of infrastructure.

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