New Ways of Earning livelihood for the Tribals

New Ways of Earning livelihood for the Tribals

Due to concerted efforts of the Forest Department, the tribal folks, in one of the most underdeveloped regions of Jhadol and Kotra Tehsil of Udaipur, are reaping the benefits of various income generating activities.

New Ways of Earning livelihood for the Tribals

Due to concerted efforts of the Forest Department, the tribal folks, in one of the most underdeveloped regions of Jhadol and Kotra Tehsil of Udaipur, are reaping the benefits of various income generating activities.

The southernmost part of Aravali Ranges in Rajasthan has remained backward due to its specific topography and inaccessible forest, mostly undulating and with a meager part suitable for agriculture along water courses or in nahla beds, the region is inhabited by mainly Gameti, Kathodi and Garasia Tribes whose income comes through minor forest produce, little agriculture and small daily wages in different Government schemes.

Managed by Udaipur (Central) Forest Division the major geographical part (about 58%) of these tehsils is under forest. The access to the remotely located villages and hamlets is extremely difficult. O P Sharma, Deputy Conservator of Forest Udaipur, says that realizing the basic necessity of the tribals and availability of forestry raw material in abundance, he came up with an innovative idea to use it for enhancing the economy of the tribal people.

He identified some natural resources and started its value addition through village management committees who were the given training for capacity building and specialization in different activities. This resulted in an increase in the income of the tribals, decreasing their dependence on forests and creating a sort of an attachment with natural resources.

Though a minor farm produce, bamboo is spread all over. Bamboo harvesting was done by Forest Department in the area under it but the non forest area did not give any return. Then the manufacturers of incense sticks started with very primitive machines that produced just one stick at a time. In 2007 training for some tribals was organized, later on a machine that could cut, chip, segregate & roll and produce 12 sticks simultaneously was procured, working on these patented machines was easier and safer.

Now 14 Villages with 114 self help groups are reaping the benefit and have lucrative income. Sticks with four fragrances- Gulab, Kewda, Mogra and Chandan are being produced. To facilitate manufacturing and storing the product an office and warehouse have been constructed at Ogna, last year approx 25 MT (Metric Ton) of sticks were produced with an earnings of nearly 8 lacks.

Bamboo in its raw form was used for manufacturing of huts and some agriculture implements, than the idea of manufacture of bamboo furniture dawned, with the financial help of ICICI Foundation. Nine tribals of this area were sent for two months training at Singhdurg (Maharashtra) by Conback.

Than two master trainers trained 17 other tribals at Jhadol centre, another group of 23 is being trained. Now sofa sets, chairs, tea tables, stools, benches and other decorative pieces and showpieces items are under production.

Another project to provide employment to the tribals is dry ginger processing, normally produced by farmers in their fields it is sold in the local market. The high quality produce does not reach good market places, the area being remote people are satisfied with whatever they get for their product.

For value addition and reducing the cost of transportation some solar drivers were established in the area, with help of Food and Dairy Technology Department of Maharana Pratap Agriculture and Technical University (MPUAT), Udaipur where training to tribals for manufacturing Dry Ginger was given, this reduced weight of ginger by 5 times and made it safe from insects and fungal attack.

Now along with ginger, some other vegetables are also being dried and sold in distant market; presently there are two units at Pargiapada and one each at Talai, Ogna and Chokhalabara villages with 5 SHG working in it. In last season 5 MT Dry Ginger was manufactured that gave income of 10 lacks to the tribals.

Establishment of Sitaphal (Custard Apple) pulp and seeds extraction centre is yet another measure to boost income of tribals in Mewar Region, Kotra block particularly Devla region is famous for quality Sitaphal, tribals manily Garasiya collect the fruit from August to October and generally sell this sitting on the roadsides to the passerby, some of them come to Udaipur to sell it, presently some businessmen mainly from Gujarat have started coming to these area and buy the fruit in bulk at a very low price.

Tribals spend their whole day in collecting and cleaning the fruit, sometimes when many buyers are not available it is sold at throwaway prices or it gets spoiled, the fruit is in great demand in Gulf countries, to get maximum return from the product some tribals of Vaniyavad and Mewado Ka Math were got trained at MPUAT , Udaipur. The processing has now started in five more villages namely Gogrood, Khila, Merpur, Kyari and Dang.

The Aloe-Vera juice project which started in 1996-97 is a great success, initially started in Atatia and Makodia villages in Ogna area the project is in operation in many other villages. Now Aloe-Vera Shampoo and Gel are also being manufactured and income through this project is bringing lots of money to the tribals.

The manufacturing of Squash of Mango, Jamoon, Mahua, Karonda, Bel and Khajoor has added to the income of tribals. Introduction of facilities such as eco-friendly camping, eco-trekking, water sports, bird watching and waterfalls and herbal gardens have made Naal Sandul a great tourist destination, the place already having a rich biodiversity of forest flora & fauna and unique topographical features of the land, has begun to attract more tourists; this too has provided the local people livelihood and exposure to the outer world.

New income generating avenues to make the lives of tribals a bit easier have been successfully implemented in the tribal areas of Udaipur in recent times.

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