27) National Workshop to up scale APRLP-ICRISAT project (18 March 2004)

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is hosting a National Workshop on Drought Strategies. This meeting will develop strategies to up scale the Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihood Programme (APRLP)-ICRISAT pilot project to larger areas in the target districts. The Department for International Development DFID of  the UK Government financially supports the APRLP.

The APRLP-ICRISAT will be reviewing the results from the pilot project and also finalizing the strategy for scaling-up the benefits from the 50 watersheds to large number of watersheds in the target districts of Ananthapur, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Kurnool, and Prakasam. The first phase of up scaling to 50 watersheds began in 2002 to take the lessons from the Kothapally watershed development project, implemented by an ICRISAT-led Consortium, to the other project villages under APRLP. The second phase will up scale watershed development to 150 project villages.

Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, said that the watershed projects implemented under the APRLP-ICRISAT pilot project, have shown the strength of the consortium approach, where the strengths of international, governmental, academic, non-governmental agencies and farmers' groups are pooled together for integrated genetic and natural resource management.

Dr Dar said that the first phase of up scaling has shown that many of the guiding principles developed at Kothapally could be replicated in other watersheds in Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda and Kurnool districts. He hoped that the second phase would strengthen this process.

Mr M Samuel, Principal Secretary, Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh, stated that the APRLP-ICRISAT project had done excellent work through partnership. “We are happy that ICRISAT has taken a lead to develop a model project for the benefit of the poor farmers in dryland areas.”

According to Mr Anil Punetha, Commissioner, Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh, the greatest success is that within a span of two years strong partnerships were built and positive impacts were recorded in all the program districts.

The guiding principles that are being used for the APRLP-ICRISAT watershed projects are:

  • Implementation through a Consortium of agencies, resulting in a pooling of strengths from various partners.
  • Convergence of technologies and options as a strategy. The watershed projects include soil and water conservation; crop improvement; and enterprise development for the landless, women and youth.
  • Using knowledge-based activities as entry point to the villages. Improved technical knowledge was transferred to villagers to gain their trust.
  • The user pays for the assets created on private land. There is no subsidy.
  • Using distance learning and information technology tools for knowledge sharing.
  • Farmers select the varieties of improved crops for planting.
  • Amendment of deficient soils with micronutrients like boron, zinc and sulphur. This has resulted in increase in yields of maize, castor, sorghum, pigeonpea and greengram by 20% to 120%.

In addition to the departments of Rural Development and Agriculture of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, the Consortium partners are the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, the National Remote Sensing Agency and the District Water Management Agency (DWMA).

The NGO partners are the Society for Development of Drought Prone Areas, Deena Janabhyudaya Seva Mandal, the Development Institute for Sustainable Habitat, Action for Development of Rural and Educational Service Society, the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation, Awakening People Action for Rural Development, Rural Action in Development Society and the Adarsha Welfare Society.

For further information, contact Dr SP Wani at s(dot)wani(at)cgiar(dot)org

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