Ago-Horticultural Intervention in the Wasteland as a Part of Desertification, Land Degrdation and Drought| [India]

  • Creation:
  • Update:
  • Compiler:
  • Editor:
  • Reviewer:

Reporting Entity: India

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

Completeness: 74%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

Ago-Horticultural Intervention in the Wasteland as a Part of Desertification, Land Degrdation and Drought|



Reporting Entity:


Property Rights

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



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

Short description of the best practice

In the location 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 approach is agro–horticultural interventions (Fruit Orchards) as a measure of SLM which literally means small orchard with intercropping . The Fruit Orchards 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. The intercropping provides income supplement.
The process of agro-horticultural intervention follows the simple chain of action
1. Prepare the land
2. Create provision for water
3. plant trees


District Purulia in West Bengal, District Gumla in Jharkhand, District Banswara in Rajasthan, District Jhabua & Ratlam in MP and District Dahod in Gujarat|

Brief description of the natural environment within the specified location.

The district is covered by mostly residual soil formed by weathering of bed rocks. The soil characteristic of the area is defined as - nearly 59% is shallow to moderately deep loamy soils and  rest 41% is moderately deep to deep coarse loamy to fine loamy red soils.
The area is drought prone and has a sub-tropical climate characterized by high evaporation and low precipitation. Annual rainfall varies between 1100 and 1200 mm. Relative humidity is 75% to 85% in monsoon and 25% to 35% in hot summer. Temperature varies over a wide range from 7 degrees in winter to 52 degrees Celsius in summer.
The district is located between 22º-42’-35” and 23º-42’-0” North Latitude and 85º-49’-25” and 86º-54’-37” East Longitude. The district is characterized by undulating topography with rugged hilly terrains in the western and southern parts. General elevation of the land surface ranges from 150 m to 300 m, As a result nearly 50% of the rainfall flows away as runoff.|

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

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. |
Agriculture & agricultural labour is the primary source of livelihoods for tribal people. Nearly 60% of the income comes from agriculture and 17% income from agricultural labour. Income from seasonal migration to urban area for wage labour, live stock and micro enterprises are very minimal|
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.|

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

Productive utilization of wasteland through agri-horticulture model. Small orchards are developed in the barren land keeping in view the soil type and climate of the area. Vegetable cultivation as intercrop is promoted in homestead area with pulses in upland area with an objective of improving the fertility of the land which also caters their nutritional needs.|Conservation of soil through development of horticulture land use. The green cover improves the soil health through addition of organic matter into the soil. The conservation of soil moisture improves its availability to the vegetative cover.|Water conservation through development of small water retention structures. Intensive Natural Resource Management activities are carried out through Soil & Water Conservation and Water Resource Development. Watershed approach follows measures ridge to valley treatment measures, contour and staggered trenches gully plugs and check dams. |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 Fruit Orchard 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.
Social fencing is given and local & low cost measure is adopted to ensure the low mortality of the plants.
This intervention combines technologies and activities aimed at integrating socio-economic principles with environmental concerns so as to simultaneously address food security, ensure employment, alleviate poverty and prevent migration.

Specify the objectives of the best practice

Better use of unproductive land|Improvement of soil health|Water Resource Development & Soil & Water Conservation

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

Better use of unproductive land:
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
Timber Plants : Teak, Sisoo, Gamhar, Zizyphus,Moringa etc.
Medicinal : Aswagandha, Amla
|Social mobilization is done to protect the plants for increasing the rate of survival. Awareness is created among the farmers to provide low cost measures to check the mortality of the plants.
To generate water reservoirs and recharge ground water through best practices of WRD and SWC for increasing irrigation efficiency
1. To construct farm ponds to develop water storage for lean period
2. To promote Moisture conservation measures to control run off losses
3. To practices widely suitable micro irrigation model like pitcher or bucket with drip irrigation measure in order to precise use of irrigation water in lean period.
Development and implementation of environmentally friendly income generating activities though peoples organizations
1.Establishment of Agro processing centre for value added products in grown horticulture crops
2. Setting up of power operated equipment for various farming operation as well as income generation activities through self help groups.  
To enhance the capability of local communities through intensive training and exposure on improved NRM practices and environmental regeneration.
1. Organizing Awareness Campaign
2. Imparting pre and post technical training programme  
3. Exposure visit to within and outside state

Short description and technical specifications of the technology

Within the context of improving land and water productivity, Orchard is pivoted around a hardy fruit tree species that has potential post-harvest processing and marketing linkages. Although wadi encourages farmers’ choice of species to be planted, experience indicates that cluster approach provide produce of a `kind’ to economize post-harvest processing with viable market potential. This can only be achieved if critical mass of `raw material’ of a `kind’ is ensured. Typically, an acre of Orchard may accommodate 60 plants but to be effective across a large area, experience shows that a minimum number of 40 plants in an acre should suffice to be an economically viable unit. For each target family one acre of land will be targeted for developing an orchard by planting combination of 40 Mango plants, 10 Sapodilla plants, and 350 multipurpose forestry plants this would be a high density cultivation of horticulture crops.

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

Name and address of the institution developing the technology

Gramin Vikas Trust |"KRIBHCO Bhawan"
5th Floor, Sector 1A-10
NOIDA, Distt Gautam Budha Nagar (Uttar Pradesh)-  210301

Was the technology developed in partnership?


List the partners:

1. NABARD, India

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


List local stakeholders involved:

1. Gram Panchayat(Local Government-Rural)
2. Self help group
3. Govt. department like Agriculture, horticulture, Health, Veterinary etc

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. Role of Gram Panchayat is in the mobilization of the marginal farmers to organize them so that they can come forward with their uncultivable land measuring 1 acre (4000 sq. m) to convert it into an Orchard. With the active participation of the Gram Panchayat, farmers are organized into farmers club (Self-Help Groups) 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. Inter cropping of vegetable crops gives seasonal supplement income to the families. Maintenance of the Orchard for its full cycle of operation and continue thereafter thus provides income generating activities for the marginal farmers besides their normal agricultural activities. The Orchard development programme associates livestock and community health programme as major components to make the programme holistic. Role of line department is limited to extend hand holding support to the SHGs in regard to artificial insemination of the cattle, veterinary services for the livestock and community health check up involving health services department.  |

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)

Per family income is enhanced by an additional income of Rs. 10000-15000 per annum.
The issues of soil & water erosion appropriately addressed through plantation activity and crop management.
Additional farm income generated through horticulture and vegetable crop cultivation, resulted per unit increase in productivity. |
The productivity of the land is enhanced by introduction of cropping practices in the wasteland.
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 environmental issues of air pollution and carbon sequestration also addressed.
The widespread problem of mass migration mitigated through adoption of technology.

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 cropping pattern introduces acts as resource of enhanced floral biodiversity whereas the man made forest acts as a niche for faunal diversity.
Earlier, tribal communities were not used to take different crops like Fodder tree, vegetable crops, horticulture/medicinal crops due to limited resources and awareness and only they used to grow traditional crops like maize, paddy or gram. Gradually with adoption of Orchard model, now farmers are growing different crop combination with inclusion of horticulture/medicinal/ vegetable crops and fodder trees plantation, this leads to increase in biodiversity in existing cropping system.  
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.
Erratic rainfall occurs in tribal region which leads to insecurity of food grain and then, they are forced to migrate to earn labour wages for compensating farming losses. With Orchard intervention, it is found that seasonal migration has certainly reduced as they are found fully engaged with Orchard management practices because it gives additional income throughout the years which suffice the day to day requirement in terms of food, fuel wood, fodder, timber etc at the backdrop of total crop failure. Overall, it has been seen that Orchard practices found very significant in climate change adaptation.

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?


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

Since Orchard development is directly dependent on the agro climatic condition, replication requires conduciveness. |
The technology is replicable with adequate support of awareness and technical knowhow on improved cultivation practices to the beneficiaries so that they are able to fetch good income from Orchard intervention.
The replicability of the technology in reclamation of wastelands and fallow lands. The present technology only confined to poor marginal farmers who have less access of fertile land with limited resources. The Orchard technology requires only 1 acre (400 sq.m) land in backyard space with limited irrigation sources.


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

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.|The intervention being family centric is easily adaptable and involves equal responsibility of both men & women members of the family.|

Related to technical aspects

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

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all