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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-48: HALAHARVI, KURNOOL!

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1,125 families live in Halaharvi village of Kurnool district and their main occupation is agriculture. Most of them do not own land and hence depend on wages from agricultural labour. 

When the APRLP watershed programme was started in the village, the thinking among the women changed. The self-help groups, which were ten in number earlier, grew to fifty and they formed the village organisation. The project organised several awareness camps. In strengthening the village organisation they initially actively participated in social issues but later changed their focus to the development of the poor.

Members of the self-help groups decided to practice improved agriculture methods to increase their incomes rather than take up unfamiliar livelihood projects. On the outskirts of Halaharvi, near Mantralayam, 90 acres of irrigated land came up for lease through a bidding system. The village organisation president, Boya Savithramma, heard about it and decided to put in a bid. She won the lease for 30 acres of land at Rs.4, 200, beating stiff competition from large farmers. Then she organised another village meeting and passed a resolution to distribute the 30 acres among the landless poor.

As per the resolution, the landless poor were identified and each one of them was allotted one acre of the and some of them did not have money to invest in cultivation so she gave them a loan of Rs.5,000 from the village organisation’s Productivity Enhancement fund to start cultivation. In the first year each one of them got a yield of 25-30 bags of grain and made a profit of Rs.10, 000. They were very happy. To
create an opportunity for others, those who got the distributed land allowed some others to cultivate groundnut and they too made a profit of Rs.10, 000 each.

To make a living out of agriculture one needs to own some land. Those who do not own land are forced into working as daily wage labourers.  The village organisation was appreciated for its efforts to bring about a social balance in the village by distributing land to the landless.

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